So some female staff from three Gold Coast restaurants have stripped down to their shirt aprons and trays to feature in a Calendar Girls style publication. They have approached three large charities, Food Aid, the Gold Coast Hospital, and The Butterfly Foundation, to see if they’d like to be involved in marketing the calendar. (From The Courier Mail July 15 2010)
All said no thanks.
It’s the fault, says the naked waitresses’ marketing manager Justine Clarke, of “right wing social commentators” whose negative comments about the project might cause negative publicity for the charities.
Apparently the women’s aim was to “give to the needy”.
From the one thankfully-small colour photo in the local paper, the women are all young, slim and of course naked, bar their tiny aprons. The calendar is clearly about showing a one-sided sexualised aspect of being female. I get that on the Gold Coast you can probably see more naked skin and sexually suggestive images just by walking down any of the golden beaches.
But here’s the mismatch: The Butterfly Foundation is an organisation that works bloody hard to support girls and women (and their families) who are suffering from eating disorders that literally kill thousands of girls and women every year. One of the identified triggers of eating disorders is negative body image fed by sexualised images of women.
How is a calendar made up of images of naked women either appropriate or supportive of the Foundation’s work?
Did they *really* expect The Butterfly Foundation to say yes? Imagine the backlash from the parents of girls who have died from anorexia? Imagine the backlash from women whose lives have been ruled for a decade or more, by the thrall of an eating disorder that they battle every single day, just to have a normal meal?
Imagine the reaction if the Gold Coast Hospital, which probably has an eating disorders unit and whose staff see girls literally dying before their eyes, had pushed a calendar with filled with pictures of naked young women? And what about Food Aid, who provides food to people living in dire poverty?
Their marketing people were all very smart to say no, in my opinion. Is it a “right wing backlash”, or an appropriate response to an irresponsible approach?
Maybe the women who star in the calendar disengaged their brains when they disengaged their bra clips.
Fer God’s sake.