Warwick University¿s naked calendar girls are back for 2014 ¿ despite last year¿s feminist backlash

By Shanice Brown 0

  • The Warwick Uni rowing club's new calendar will help a cancer charity
  • Last year's calendar hit the headlines after criticism from feminist bloggers
  • Rowers say they hope attention will be on the cause and not the feminists

By Ruth Styles

PUBLISHED: 02:37 EST, 16 October 2013 | UPDATED: 07:15 EST, 16 October 2013

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Last year, the Warwick University ladies rowing team made headlines when their nude charity calendar became the target of criticism from feminist bloggers.

But despite the blogger's best efforts, the fundraiser proved a success and resulted in more than £600 being donated to Macmillan Cancer Support.

Now, the Warwick girls are back with a new calendar and say they won't be told when and where to show off their bodies by feminists.

Unabashed: Hettie (centre) and her fellow rowers haven't been put off by last year's backlash as these new images reveal

Unabashed: Hettie (centre) and her fellow rowers haven't been put off by the backlash as these images reveal

'In our opinion, the feminists who criticised our calendar for hampering the feminist cause are contradicting their own argument.,' explained students Hettie Reed, Frankie Salzano and Sophie Bell - all of whom appear in the new calendar.

'Surely what feminists are seeking to achieve is equality for men and women - be it in jobs, pay, opportunities or the impression that society has of them.

'As the men of our club have produced a successful [naked] calendar for the past four years, we are more than entitled to do the same thing.'

They added: 'As politics students all three of us would consider ourselves feminists, any woman who wants equality would, but we don't think that we are hampering the cause - in fact we think we are furthering it.'

In a blog post for the Huffington Post, Layla Haidrani, who describes herself as a commentator on feminist issues, described the initiative as 'tacky' and insisted that the girls were 'victims in the liberation game'.

Charity: Like the 2013 effort, proceeds from this year's calendar will go to support Macmillan Cancer Support

Charity: Like the 2013 effort, proceeds from this year's calendar will go to support Macmillan Cancer Support

Backlash: Last year's calendar caused controversy after it was criticised by feminist blogger Layla Haidrani

Backlash: Last year's calendar caused controversy after it was criticised by feminist blogger Layla Haidrani

 

'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.

'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.

'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.'

But the Warwick rowers, far from being put off by the backlash, insist that Haidrani was wrong to criticise them and say they received overwhelming support from the general public.

'The controversy last year was a shame considering it was all intended for a good cause,' explains Hettie.

'Ultimately, we received an overwhelming amount of support with many people sending in emails thanking us for supporting such a great charity and sharing stories with us about how Macmillan Cancer Support had benefited them.'

Support: The girls raised more than £600 for their chosen charity last year and received hundreds of kind messages

Support: The girls raised more than £600 for their chosen charity last year and received many kind messages

High hopes: The girls hope this year's effort will raise even more money and that coverage will focus on their cause

High hopes: The girls hope this year's effort will raise more money and that interest will focus on the cause

Like last year's effort, the 2014 calendar comes in tasteful black and white and features the girls posing in a variety of rowing-related scenes, including wandering out of the boat shed and standing next to a wooden pier with life jackets to cover their modesty.

And like its predecessor, proceeds from the £7.99 calendar will also be used to help fund the work of Macmillan Cancer Support - something that Hettie hopes attention will focus on this year.

'This year's calendar is more to do with raising awareness of the amazing work that Macmillan Cancer Support does and helping them to help more people,' she pleads.

'This is something which shouldn't be detracted from by a political debate over the feminist cause.'

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