19/12/2012 10:59 GMT | Updated 15/10/2013 10:11 BST

Warwick University Students' Rowing Club Insists Naked Calendar Isn't Pornography

A student who featured in a charity naked calendar has hit out at claims the publications are tacky and damaging to the feminist cause, saying critics are "grossly unfair" to single out females.

Hettie Reed is a student at Warwick University who starred in the women's rowing club's first naked calendar. Proceeds from the calendar, which was organised by Reed and fellow student Frankie Salzano, will go to Macmillan Cancer, a charity close to several of the girls' hearts.

Reed told the Huffington Post UK she felt it was clear her club's calendar was "not about being part of some kind of watered down pornography".

The women have been spurred on by Warwick Men's Rowing Club, who have produced a naked calendar for the past four years

"The negative comments that we most commonly hear are that by being in a naked calendar 'girls are selling their bodies' and that we're making it acceptable for women to be used as sex toys," she said.

"These naked calendars do make money for some fantastic charities and so what really is the harm in them?"

Many people are supportive of students' choices to strip for charity:

But others are not as forgiving.

Layla Haidrani, a student at Kent University and self-described commentator on feminist issues, argues the majority of women who do pose naked are doing so in an attempt to "gain notoriety".

"Groups of women posing semi-naked on a field with sticks doesn't sound a fundraising initiative for charity, it just sounds tacky," she wrote in a blog for HuffPost UK. "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."

And Haidrani adds the issue doesn't end with the calendars: "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.

"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?

"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?"

Reed, however, is critical of those eager to point the finger at students, especially females.

"It's grossly unfair," she says. "Our men's calendar has received none of this kind of attention.

"It is much easier for a woman to be labelled a 'slut' than a man and this attitude has seemingly filtered down into the naked calendar market.

"The whole concept of a naked calendar is to raise money for worthy and meaningful charities through a bit of harmless nudity and I do think it is really sad that there are people out there who are willing to criticise and insult these efforts."

Both Warwick's women's and men's rowing club calendars were photographed in black and white, which Reed says she thinks "gives off a professional and artistic vibe".

"Our poses were carefully thought out in order to reveal just enough of ourselves but not too much.

"Most people are really supportive of the charity we have chosen and lot's of people have commented about how brave we are as we tried to do most of our calendar totally nude.

"All the girls had a few doubts," Reed admits. "I know a few of the girls were worried that it may affect their employability and that it may come back and 'bite them in the arse'  (for want of a better phrase) years down the line.

"Everyone was slightly concerned at what their family may think of it and I was personally slightly worried to show my Dad just what I'd been up to at uni this term!"

Both the men's and women's rowing calendars can be bought for £7.99 at Follow the girls on Twitter @nakedgirlsrow

Photo gallery Naked Rowing Calendars See Gallery