Rebecca’s gone off the whole naked calendars idea. I’m glad about that, because I was never on it, but didn’t say so, because you know, I’m a million years old, I come from that boring generation that did second wave feminism and didn’t get it about pole dancing as empowerment.
“Why don’t you make the Skepchick Calendars anymore?” Ever since I stopped producing not-quite-nudie calendars back in 2007, I’ve heard that question a lot. The problem is that I never have the 30 minutes I’d need to list half the reasons why I no longer do it. But now, I will list a few of those reasons in the desperate hope that organizations that need money or publicity or whatever will read this and make the decision to not produce calendars.
You see, in the past few days I’ve heard of two different calendar projects from within my circles: ScienceGrrl is a calendar of female scientists, and proceeds will apparently go to encouraging girls to pursue STEM degrees. New organization Secular Woman has also announced a calendar, which will feature nude atheists and benefit a cancer charity and the org’s own travel grants to send women to conferences.
I know. Really. Please stop.
Rebecca gives some background. It was partly a jokey thing at first.
And then I stopped. Why? For some of the same reasons that I’m turned off by the current crop of calendars:
1. Regardless of the intent behind the calendars, regardless of how much fun we had making them, regardless of how empowering we found them, regardless of the racial and age diversity we showcased, and regardless of the fact that they were run by a woman and benefited women, pin-up calendars added to an existing environment in which women were seen first as sexual objects and maybe if they’re lucky they’d later be seen as human beings with thoughts and desires of their own. Back in 2005, I thought skeptics weren’t affected by the patriarchy and that misogyny was something left to the religious. In a community like that, a pin-up calendar of women would be absolutely fine. I learned that a community like that does not exist and it was naive of me to assume otherwise.
Yes. That was why I was never on it, in a nutshell, but for all I knew the fans of the idea knew better than I did.
2. Adding a calendar of men did not balance out the calendar of women. In a perfect non-patriarchal world, it would, but what I realized was that the women in the calendars were not being seen in the same way as the men in the calendars. The women were objectified on a level unmatched by those viewing and commenting on the men. This was something difficult for me to objectively evaluate at the time and was just a hunch based on my casual observations, but that hunch was confirmed last year when I had shitlord after shitlord emailing me to tell me that I have no right to complain about being groped or propositioned at conferences because I posed in a calendar for skeptics (see my filthy slut photo as the featured image on this post).