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Warwick University rowing club women's team calendar

(382 Posts)
duchesse Mon 14-Oct-13 15:20:10

Are they being ironic?

Phaserstostun Tue 15-Oct-13 16:29:20

What if women 'reclaim' the nude image, as has happened with black people and the word 'nigger'. Can young, educated, wealthy white women do something to lessen the grip that the advertising and porn industries on nude, sexualised body images through images such as these?

ButThereAgain Tue 15-Oct-13 16:40:21

Agree that that is a good aspiration phasar, but the trouble is it so often seduces people into images that in fact, even if not in intention, are doing the opposite, so it disguises the continuation of exploitative sexualisation.

It must be possible to "reclaim the nude" in this way. Really good efforts can and do succeed. But the trouble is that most of the efforts we see are not really as principled as they claim, or are poorly executed, or (sadly I guess this is common) are very well and sincerely done but operating as someone said upthread in an atmosphere where female imagery is just too poisoned to be reclaimed. It doesn't do to be too defeatist, though, I suppose, which is why I wanted to be able to see this warwick calendar as ok. I can't really decide if it is or not.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 15-Oct-13 17:16:11

>Can young, educated, wealthy white women do something to lessen the grip that the advertising and porn industries on nude, sexualised body images through images such as these?

Sadly I doubt it. The reaction of the lads is likely to just be the same 'phwoar'. They'll look at these young ladies in the lecture theatre and be thinking 'yeah, I would'. Doesn't seem like it will 'reclaim the nude' to me.

grimbletart Tue 15-Oct-13 17:23:40

The idea of nude calendars is so old-fashioned. What the heck is the point of them. Yes, you've got a body and you're naked. So what?

FloraFox Tue 15-Oct-13 18:08:04

Phaser I don't think black people have reclaimed that word in the sense of diminishing the racism underlying its use by white people. I don't believe any women can lessen the grip that advertising and porn have on nude, sexualised images so long as the advertising and porn continues. In fact, I think they give support to those industries who can point to calendars like this and say "look, these women are doing it themselves which is no different to what we do". We hear this argument whenever page 3, lads mags, porn or similar issues are raised.

martinedwards Tue 15-Oct-13 18:25:11

oh come on, they're STUDENTS!!!

let them have some fun, and exploit some lecherous blokes in the process to raise some cash for charity.

I've never bought a nude calendar, and I'll not be buying this one, but let them have their fun!

FloraFox Tue 15-Oct-13 19:22:43

Women presenting their bodies for male consumption is not exploiting men in any way, whether they are students or not. This is no different to what is said about page 3 or porn and equally wrong.

PumpkinGuts Tue 15-Oct-13 19:30:11

What if women 'reclaim' the nude image, as has happened with black people and the word 'nigger'. Can young, educated, wealthy white women do something to lessen the grip that the advertising and porn industries on nude, sexualised body images through images such as these?

I know very few black people in rl who use that word. Most just find it abhorrent. The ones who do are not American (or English speaking) and didn't grow up with the connotations. Rappers and the like are not all black people they are a few random celebs doing their thing and it has been picked up by some young people.

And even then one black guy saying "hey nigger" to another black male is not the same as if they took a bunch of pictures of themselves that said nigger under the photos and then sold it to white people.

The consumers of these catalogues is going to be far and wide men. Not other women.

martinedwards Wed 16-Oct-13 07:50:07

how is it any different to the 80s athena poster of the bloke holding the baby, or the hunky firemen calendar?

it's certainly less erotic than 90% of the pop videos on any day time music channel you can choose.

NotDead Wed 16-Oct-13 07:58:32

its different because men who choose to be nude are strong capable autonomous decision-makers who make decisions to be nude without vulnerability and with full appreciation of the facts. Young women on the other hand are brainless vulnerable passive decision-makers naive and unaware of the consequences of their actions, incapable of getting things right and unable to handle the massive sinister consequences of every action they take.

martinedwards Wed 16-Oct-13 09:44:22

ah right, pretty girls are thick and naive, and all men who want to take their shirts off are strong role models. that's what you're saying........

I respectfully disagree

MrsMarigold Wed 16-Oct-13 09:53:40

They are rowers! I used to row and there were naked rowing calendars back then. Everyone bought them and put them up in their loos because it was hilarious to see your mates looking so silly. To turn it into a feminist issue is ridiculous, there are much bigger fish to fry!

BuffytheAppleBobber Wed 16-Oct-13 10:04:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

martinedwards Wed 16-Oct-13 10:23:52

AH, right.....

then to be fair, I'm not a fan of the rabid bra burning "all men are B....." style of feminists either......

I'm certainly pro equality, but get so bored of EVERYTHING being a feminist issue......

BuffytheAppleBobber Wed 16-Oct-13 11:37:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Phaserstostun Wed 16-Oct-13 12:33:48

Martin, I guess it is a feminist issue, because feminists have an issue with it. Some of them kicked off last year when the women's team did their previous nude calendar.

I think the feminist perspective on this is that these women are naive and not fully aware of the wider context. There is not usually any direct blaming of women who take similar actions, as these women are just not as aware as feminists of their role in society, and how they are being directly manipulated by the male illuminati (patriarchy) purely for the licentious pleasure of men. Feminists seek to raise the consciousness of other women, so that the unfairness of their lesser role in society becomes apparent.

Pumpkin, just because you know very few black people who say it, doesn't make it so. It happens. I have a view on it, but it is their issue, not mine. I agree with your point about those who do not growing up with the connotations though. Just as these affluent white women at a redbrick university may not have grown up feeling the jackboot of the patriarchy crushing the windpipe of their dreams and aspirations. In fact, depending on their background, they may never come to feel it.

NotDead Wed 16-Oct-13 12:54:41

um just to clarify I don't hate feminism or feminists.

I think that women making their own decisions at whatever level of knowledge, (approved of by some feminists or not) is part of what feminism should be allowing and encouraging.

I make reference above to the curious parallel between the 'patriarchal' right wing, prude, etc view of (young in this case) women, that they are curious creatures buffeted about by intellectual forces they don't understand (the 'women know your place' idea) and the feminist ('women are always subservient and dependent on men and the only time they appear to be empowered is when they are being manipulated by men' idea) the second idea is curious because by describing the world this way, you are pushing women (back) into a disempowered box.

It makes me uncomfortable this projecting a view of passive, unknowing idiotic bimbos onto younger women when they do something you don't want them to, but not when they don't, that's all.

As an aside whatever happened to the 'himbo' trope??

NotDead Wed 16-Oct-13 13:00:15

Oh yes, and its entirely valid to talk about the 'taking back of the nude' seeing everything that is beautiful about the human body as sexual if there is skin on show .. or indeed in this case only when women do it, is again a little weird in my view.

NotDead Wed 16-Oct-13 13:01:51

oh yeah, and in my last but one post - those two views are ve-ry similar aren't they?

BuffytheAppleBobber Wed 16-Oct-13 13:11:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PumpkinGuts Wed 16-Oct-13 15:02:40

Taking back nude to me would be people walking around naked. Which wouldn't bother me. How are they taking it back by posing and selling it?

FloraFox Wed 16-Oct-13 18:31:38

Interesting to see so many non-feminists here expounding on what feminists supposedly believe. Feminists don't believe women are naïve, stupid, bimbos, unknowing, passive etc. FFS! Quite the opposite.

"I think that women making their own decisions at whatever level of knowledge, (approved of by some feminists or not) is part of what feminism should be allowing and encouraging."

This is actually the strand of feminism that currently gets the most airtime so you can't be looking very hard if you think this view is not represented in feminism.

However there are also feminists who believe that choice in and of itself is not a particularly worthwhile goal. There are feminists who believe that feminism seeks to end the liberation of women as a class from oppression. There are also differing views among philosophers (feminist or not) about whether choice is a valid concept for human interaction given that it is constrained by the options available to us, our ability to make rational or good choices and the influence of societal expectations and norms on the choices we make.

In the case of the Warwick calendar, I have not seen any feminists arguing that these women did not make a choice or that they are stupid and uninformed (only the non-feminists are saying that). However, I believe that not every choice a woman makes is a pro-feminist choice nor that it is something that feminists have to support. For example:,1398/?ref=auto

Some choices women make perpetuate the position of women as a class as the decorative sex class. The women in the Warwick calendar may not understand this argument but equally they may understand and not agree or understand and not care. I don't know them so I couldn't say.

When firemen make a semi-naked (rarely naked) calendar, they are subverting societal expectations because they are men who are valued for their actions and contributions to society being presented as decorative objects - hilarious right? It is ironic to present them as objects for viewing and there is often a humourous element in the poses. When the original WI "calendar girls" made their calendar, it was ironic and even subversive because they were old and WI. Old women's faces (let alone their bodies) are rarely presented in publications. What this Warwick calendar is doing is nothing different than page 3, lads mags or porn - presenting women's bodies for public male consumption for money. This perpetuates the objectification of women as a class as being assessed based on their appeal to men - and any of you who might be thinking that I am just jealous of how they look are proving my point.

FloraFox Wed 16-Oct-13 18:32:12,1398/?ref=auto

FloraFox Wed 16-Oct-13 18:33:10



SabrinaMulhollandJjones Wed 16-Oct-13 19:11:42

Great post flora.

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