LIFESTYLE

The Sun Replaces Topless Page 3 Girl... With Celebrities In Bikinis: Is This Really A 'Victory' For Women?

20/01/2015 14:17 GMT | Updated 20/01/2015 15:59 GMT

When the rumour mill started churning on Monday evening that The Sun may have dropped it's topless Page 3 feature after a 44-year run, we almost exploded with feminist happiness.

But, opening the first edition of the newspaper on Tuesday morning, we found that bare breasts had simply been replaced by bikini-clad celebrities frolicking on the beach. Similarly, Monday's Page 3 featured Rosie Huntington-Whiteley in underwear.

The later edition of Tuesday's paper did feature a news story on page 3 (for the first time in years). Splashed across page 2 and 3 was a tribute the late Anne Kirkbride, best known as Corrie's Deirdre Barlow, who sadly passed away on Monday.

But the aforementioned pages appear to show that not much has changed - bare breasts have become covered breasts, but women are sexualised nonetheless. So what does the alleged axing of Page 3 really mean for women?

"We had noticed there had been a few changes to Page 3 recently, but weren’t sure what, if anything, it signified," said No More Page 3 campaigners in a statement. "The Sun seemed to be actively trying to draw attention to it for a little while, so this has come as a very pleasant and welcome surprise!"

"We don’t know all the details yet, and at the moment, it seems likely that page 3 will be replaced by another objectifying image of a woman, albeit in a bra from now on. Clearly this is still not equality, and there’s definitely lots more to be done. We do feel this could be a very important step in the battle against media sexism though, and it shows that the Sun are in fact listening to popular, public opinion."

Caroline Criado-Perez, feminist campaigner and author of forthcoming book 'Do It Like A Woman', agrees.

Criado-Perez told HuffPost UK Lifestyle that while the move is a step in the right direction, the wider issue is far from resolved.

"This has never been about nudity. Feminists are not scared of breasts. The issue is one of how we perceive women - what we believe they are capable of.

"Featuring a topless woman on page 3 of a newspaper populated by images of powerful - and fully-dressed - men perpetuates the idea that men do things and women have things done to them."

"It reinforces the message that women are not individuals in their own right, but exist to decorate the world of men."

No More Page 3 campaigners added: "Most importantly, we believe that what we are seeing here is not just a campaign against a single page in a newspaper, but a shift in societal attitudes. People who have never even considered the effects of media sexism are starting to talk about it and say that they too think it’s wrong.

"Now the conversation about gender equality in the media has properly started, it will be increasingly difficult for media outlets to ignore. The success of this campaign so far shows what people can do when they stand together, and we are so incredibly grateful to everyone who has stood up with us and said “No More Page Three!”