German newspaper Bild to strip topless women from covers

Dylan Stableford

For more than 25 years, Bild, Germany's largest-circulation newspaper, has been running topless women on its front page each morning.

But the tabloid has decided to abandon the daily ritual. On Friday, Bild announced that the bare-chested beauty on its March 9 edition would be the final one.

"I am the last," a headline above the final Bild Girl, Eva from Poland, declared.

"Perhaps a small step from women's point of view," the paper, which has published more than 5,000 topless women on the cover since 1984, said in a letter to readers. "But it's a big step for Bild and all men in Germany."

According to the Associated Press, it was Bild's male staffers who made the decision to put an end to the tradition on Thursday, when their female colleagues were off for International Women's Day.

But at least one of Bild's male columnists did not agree with the move.

"Bild doesn't want to print any more girls on page 1 because it doesn't correspond with the woman of today," Franz Josef Wagner wrote in a column published Friday. "I think the editor-in-chief of Bild is crazy. How can he banish the dream girl?"

But banishment of the Bild babe has been in the works for a while.

"There's long been a discussion about whether it's still in keeping with the times," Tobias Fröhlich, a spokesman for the Bild publisher Axel Springer AG, told Der Spiegel.

However, the newspaper did not rule out publishing nude women within its pages ("better-wrapped, inside the paper"), as other newspapers in Europe do.

"Perhaps The Sun's editor, Dominic Mohan, might take note of Bild's change of mind by terminating the Page 3 girl pictures,"  Roy Greenslade wrote in a blog post for the Sun-rival Guardian. "Does he not want to be modern too?"

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