LONDON, October 10, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Visitors to Britain are often shocked by the open nudity and public acceptance of graphic, explicit sex in magazines and newspapers and advertisements in the country that often retains an outdated reputation as a polite and reserved society. Most prominently, the Sun tabloid newspaper, Britain’s most popular, features a large soft-core pornographic photo of a topless model every day on page 3. The long-running feature, however, has recently come under fire from those who say they have had enough of the open exploitation of women and sex in British media.

British actress and radio presenter Lucy Anne Holmes has launched an online petition to have the Sun drop the feature that she says makes women nothing more than the “objects of sexual gratification for men.” Holmes wrote in the Independent that the Sun, that advertises itself as a “family” newspaper,

The petition calls on publisher Dominic Mohan to “Consider this a long overdue outcry”. “Dominic, stop showing topless pictures of young women in Britain’s most widely read newspaper, stop conditioning your readers to view women as sex objects.”

At a Parliamentary committee enquiry, Mohan described the Page 3 girls as “good role models” and the photos as “very healthy”. He said, “Some of the allegations I’ve heard about the Sun being sexist… is a false one.” The Sun has been runniing the Page 3 nude photos since 1970.

Laura Davis countered this April on a ‘blog at the Independent that the women pictured on Page 3 are not being exploited. She said that most miss the irony: “Don’t we realise Page 3 isn’t about sex or misogyny? The girls are smiling! They’re empowered!

She noted that the comments at the Sun’s online version of Page 3 are very telling, that the women pictured think of themselves only in terms of their appearance…Ruth Gordon 22, from Surrey, ‘Youu can’t expect me to have brains as well?’… That’;s the message of a good role model?”

However, underscoring the shock most non-Brits feel upon discovering the country’s acceptance of sexual exploitation, Davis continues to say, “There is nothing wrong with soft porn. It’s natural to want to see the human form uncovered, and if it’s a way to earn a living which anyone feels comfortable with, so be it.

“But don’t post pictures of women under the guise of offering them a view and the pretense of being a role model - then unreservedly undermine them.”

Holmes also shies away from making an outright condemnation of pornography on moral grounds, saying that the problem is the photos teach adolescents and young men to view women as things to be used.

“When figures range from 300,000 women being sexually assaulted and 60,000 raped each year, to 1 in 4 who have been sexually assaulted, is it wise to be repeatedly perpetuating a notion that women are sexual objects?” she asks.

“Men across the land buy [the Sun],” she said. “It lays on breakfast tables, it sits in living rooms for the TV guide, it’s found on trains and buses. Our sons and daughters see it… For the daughters, they see this as something to aim for, or something that they fall short of.”