Everybody’s Getting Naked

Okay, I admit that I’m getting a little tired of this supposedly newfound trend of people – more specifically rugby players – getting naked in calendars for fundraisers.

I am.

Even the nearly professional looking ones or the ones created for good causes. I also have to admit I wouldn’t buy one. I might just donate money to your good cause (if I haven’t already done so, don’t ask me again) but I don’t need a calendar full of naked people I don’t know.

You know what I think? I think people just like to get naked. I think people just like to get naked and this gives them a reason to. But it’s not like somebody would ever just say that.

“Hey, Bob and Jane, you know what I want to do? Get naked! Woo Hoo!”

Maybe I’m wrong. And since there’s nothing wrong with people getting naked, good cause or otherwise, it’s all fine and dandy. Fine, dandy and naked. Maybe I just don’t want to see you all naked, huh? Did you ever think of that?

In fact I can only name two people I want to see naked … and one’s my cat. And since he’s always naked, that’s just funny. Little naked furball.

So where did this come from you ask? This morning in my e-mail, I saw that some New Zealander women are upset that a English women’s rugby team in Canterbury made a nude calendar to raise money for cancer which features a photo of the team doing a naked haka. Here is the front cover of the calendar … you can see the haka shot in the upper left corner.

That tied up one is interesting too, isnt it? Not exactly kosher for empowering women, but let’s move on. And one of the sponsors is Kindergarten Kids? Huh?

But there are lots of other calendars out there too. Full Monto’s blogging about his team’s calendar for cancer (by the way, moving him to the list of bloggers).

And then the Oberlin women have created their nude calendar for the second year in a row as a team fundraiser. I got this e-mail before Christmas:

Hey Blondie,

I e-mailed you about a year ago regarding the Oberlin Women’s rugby calendar. I know you’re not a huge fan, but we released another calendar this year and I wanted to know if you could put a link up to it on your blog. The url is www.oberlin.edu/stuorg/womrugby.

The theme of our calendar this year is ‘Rugby 101’ and the (semi-nude) photos are of ruggers engaged in scrumdowns, lineouts, passing, kicking, etc. The photos were taken by a teammate, and there’s no studio lighting, makeup, or models– just some girls playing rugby. We wanted to create images of strong athletes who are negotiating with what it means to play rugby, be an athlete, and be a woman.

The calendar is available for purchase online. There are some sample photos and a link to our statement on our website. I would very much appreciate it if you could put up a link on your blog– our team does not get a lot of attention from our school and this is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Please feel free to contact me at marne.litfin@oberlin.edu or at women’s.rugby.club@oberlin.edu. Your
feedback is welcome.

Marne Litfin
co-captain, Oberlin College Women’s RFC

Here’s one of the sample photos … a naked scrum (something I often see at tournament after-parties, but I digress … ):

And to explain, I wrote this post last year about the Oberlin calendar and now rereading it and remembering the photos, especially the cheerleader ones, which I unfortunately only linked to and didn’t upload instead so you can’t see them, I still feel the same way. You gotta find the fine line between “empowering” and owning your body versus objectifying it and just looking, well, naked to make money.

So yeah, Marne, I am not a “huge” fan, but I’m still a fan. If your team is having fun, playing rugby, and making money to support your team, then good on you. And good on anyone else doing the same. Even if I don’t really want to see you naked.

Even the Canadian women’s national team made a calendar to raise funds prior to the world cup. Rugby Canada actually sold sells it on their official site (left sidebar button). Canadian rugger Maria Gallo talked about it in this article from the University of Alberta news (where she was in grad school):

“There was no pressure to do it . . . it was totally up to you as a person, and also how much you wanted to display was up to you. Some girls are wearing spandex and sports bra, and some girls have like, a ball here and some cleats hanging off their chest–it’s pretty creative. And plus, it was up to the individual to come up with the idea,” Gallo explained.

“It was well done, I think it was a positive thing, I hope the public recognizes the effort. The women on the team work really hard to have athletic bodies, and I don’t mind that that is recognized, as long as it’s tasteful and classy.”

To borrow from Gallo, “as long as it’s tasteful and classy”, go ahead, get naked ruggers.

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Filed under Good Cause, opinion

2 responses to “Everybody’s Getting Naked

  1. John Birch

    Completly with you on this, Blondie. Its not that I’m being puritanical here – its kust that as an idea that really had its day – and that day was the day that the Women’s Institute calendar (as in the film Calendar Girls) came out. Since then… well at best it shouts out that here is a club that cannot think of anything new.

    I also worry a bit about a pressure (even an unintentional one) to participate. We are a junior club but one of the senior teams that our girls might go to did a (actually quite tastful) topless team photo a year or so ago. And I was given cause to wonder about a 17 or 18 year old just joining such a team would have reacted. After all, they would be desparate to make themselves “part of” the club.

    And what parents of girls interested in joining such a club make of it is anyone’s guess. In fact the club concerned has no juniors… I wonder if that is linked?

    It also does nothing to get the women’s game taken more seriously. It plays to a stereotype. And its just plain unoriginal and tacky.

    Okay so it “raises money for charity” (as if anything done “for charity” makes it okay), and it “empowers” those in it (whatever the heck that means), and its “all in fun”. Hmmm.

    Finally – calendars can raise money without the need for tired novelty. We’ve raised around £150 so far with ours (http://calendars.lulu.com/content/551194) and not only is there no naked flesh in there, there is instead some excellent action photography demonstrating how well out girls can play and how exciting the game can be.

  2. dean aka the orange boy

    hi blondie. there was a funny story going round when the monto roos decided to do the fullmonto calendar. people were saying every footy team in town takes thier gear off for free, this is the first team putting it in print and charging for it.

    the nude calendar is not an original idea, maybe it has been done to death.

    i take john’s piont about there being other ways to raise $$ for charity.

    however there are a couple of pionts i would make.

    1. the calendar have sold very well 150 in the first 3 hours and still counting. so some folks still believe it’s worth thier $30
    2. the experience of posing for the calendar has been a powerful experience for the players. possibly transformative for some. (i suspect there physcological intricacies involved that are both fundamental, and deep.
    3. the fullmonto calendar has raised funds for victims of acquired brain injury, the brain injury association of queensland do an amazing job. we know because we’ve seen first hand what they have done for rollie

    so sure it might be getting a little ho hum, like taking out the garbage. yes it is great to see original ideas, new ways of doing things. however never underestimate the meaning such an initiative might have to a whole stack of people.


    p.s. thanks so much for your ongoing support blondie we really appreciate it

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