Christmas at university - for many students, it is the opportunity to dress up in festive gear, drink as much mulled wine as your budget can stretch and cram all-nighters for those looming coursework and exam deadlines. For many societies and sports, it is the annual 'naked calendar' where member pose as a group semi-naked in front of sports gear in an attempt to raise money for charity.
However, has this fundraising initiative gone too far? Research has shown that universities all across the country from Bristol to Cardiff have both men and women's naked calendars. Warwick University's 2012 male rowing s naked calendar was titled 'the naked calendar to end all naked calendars', encouraging readers to 'feast their eyes' on the delights of the male flesh. Furthermore, presented as the 'perfect stocking filler' and for less money than a pizza at your local Dominos, you can feast your eyes on any the gorgeous young things of the netball or rugby squad's university naked calendars across the country. This is no different to my own university, with annual naked calendars being held by many sports clubs.
However, groups of women posing semi-naked on a field with sticks doesn't sound a fundraising initiative for charity, it just sounds tacky. Although many argue that it is purely for fundraising purposes, in my own university sports team, the majority of women who participated were not made aware and did not even seek to find out which charities were being helped. Rather, they just view it as an opportunity to strip and attempt to gain notoriety with friends and family both back home and on campus.
By no means am I a prude. Yes sex sells - you would only need to see advertisement, popular television shows and music to be made well aware of this and after all, my generation were consumers of the Skins culture. However, I view myself as a feminist and believe that women should be allowed to make choices for themselves. But I can't help but feel that women are just victims in the 'liberation game'. As opposed to being liberated by posing semi-naked, they are in fact just helping women to be perpetually viewed as sex objects, something to be 'bought', 'sold' and then tossed away once the Christmas period is over.
Thus it is any wonder that from lads' magazines to university sites such as Uni. Lad, from advertisement to pornography, women's bodies are continuously used as a tool to sell and gain profit. Women instead of helping themselves have continued to hinder progress. Why aren't women allowing themselves to be proud to show off their mental capacity such as academic ability but have chosen the route of posing naked? After all, there are more women at university than men. And as shallow as it sounds, these women are not even being paid for it. I can understand the appeal of women aspiring to pose topless in FHM for the cash incentives and the promise of celebrity with the added perks of perhaps a reality television show and a sleazy premiership footballer boyfriend, but when you are being hung up in a stranger's living room in just your pants, who is ultimately winning?
My concern is that if women keep stripping, it will continue to perpetuate the view that we are there solely for men's enjoyment, bodies are able to be 'sold' and tossed away without a second thought.