This is a victory for dignity. In one way it is a small step that the Sun appears to be dropping its endless pictures of bare-breasted young women. It seems they are to be replaced with women in bikinis or underwear. But the question is highly symbolic and emotive.
When I dared to say in 1986 that I thought the pictures should be dropped, the Sun started a campaign of vilification against me that lasted for years. Thousands of women wrote passionate letters to me about how they hated it. Some were angry that they were prevented from breastfeeding in public yet pictures of breasts were flaunted. Some were even receiving psychiatric treatment because their hatred of pornography was thought to be so odd. Most said they hated the images, which led to sneers and smutty jokes on buses and in workplaces.
I was delighted when a new generation of young women took up the cudgels. And now at last the Sun is backing off. It only took 30 years. But in those years of argument, more and more women became confident in their right to object. And even Murdoch seems to have become ashamed. Pornography proliferates across our society and distorts young men’s view of their sexuality, so this is only part of the battle. But it is an important public victory for dignity.