BERLIN (AP) -- The men at Germany's biggest-selling newspaper apparently had an attack of remorse on International Women's Day: they scrapped its signature front-page topless female models.
The Bild daily proclaimed that Friday's bare-breasted front-page blonde would be the last of more than 5,000 women who have appeared since 1984.
Bild said it was "perhaps a small step from women's point of view -- but it's a big step for Bild and all men in Germany."
The newspaper said its male staff made the decision Thursday, when it gave all female employees the day off to mark International Women's Day.
But it hinted that the Bild Girl may not be totally gone, saying it "wants to be sexy in future too -- but in a more modern way, and better-wrapped, inside the paper."
The topless models have graced most editions of Bild over the years, though they have occasionally had to take the day off -- for instance, the day after German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected as Pope Benedict XVI.
Bild Girls -- a mixture of local women and an occasional professional model -- do not appear in Bild's sister publication on Sundays.
The move was quickly welcomed by one female official, Bavarian state justice minister Beate Merk, who tweeted: "Good decision."
But one regular columnist wasn't so thrilled.
"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 his second-page column Friday. "I think the editor-in-chief of Bild is crazy. How can he banish the dream girl?"