The nude calendar photo above isn’t particularly explicit or offensive—in fact, it’s kind of nice to see a group of non-models, with various body types, all looking so comfortable in their own skin. But the fact that they’re a group of Bristol University netball players trying to raise money for their team makes me feel sad. Is this what young women have to do to be able to play sports?
The idea is industrious: 19-year-old Maddie McKenzie organized and participated in the shoot, and told the DailyMail that they thought it was a fun way to supplement the sponsorships they already have:
‘We did it to raise money for the club, and although we do have sponsorship we needed more money to help with running costs.
‘We initially ordered 250 calendars but we’ve already had to order some more – the interest has been amazing.’
But the fact that young women feel they have to capitalize on their bodies to be able to keep a sports club is disturbing—when’s the last time you saw a bunch of 19-year old males posing nude to ensure they could continue playing football? And the girls aren’t going after anything extravagant. McKenzie added:
‘As a club we have to self-fund and because we’re students we don’t have a great deal of money so this will go towards helping the club.
‘The cash that we raise will go towards hiring courts, paying for balls and equipment as well as paying for fitness classes.’
The fact that 20 young women were willing to make this calendar for the sake of their sport (despite what one of the girls described as “a lot of nerves”) shows that we want to be active and compete just like men. But to get enough funding, we need people to take an interest in female athletes, when their shirts are on.
Photo: Jamie Corbin