Charitably Nude

SARAH HANSEN tells you why you should buy one of Downing’s naked calendars, and think about doing it yourself.


Eyebrows were raised and knickers dropped as staff and students at Downing College decided to bare all in an orgy of charitable activity in aid of Breast Cancer Research and the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. Made possible by the generosity and support of senior members of the college, get your copy in Downing College Porters Lodge for just £5.

Oh what a difference the context makes eh? I watched the debate surrounding ‘tab totty’ unfold with a bit of a giggle. Obviously there were serious issues of feminism and woman’s rights at issue there, but it coincided exactly with the photographs being taken for the calendar. In one weekend, myself and some photographers who were very generous with their time saw more willies than Jordan and more tits than a reader of the Daily Sport.

What does a naive girl like myself learn from such an experience? Well, sorry to go all Disney on you but we do all come in different shapes and sizes and it is true, everyone is attractive in their own way.

Confidence is attractive. The problem with all the television programmes aimed at portraying this very idea is that they tell us “Everyone looks great the way they are,” but then to give the people confidence, they make them look like everyone else. Only that is exactly the point, there is no “everyone else.” In reality there is no one, ideal body shape, dress and “look.”  Why do they need to lose a few pounds, have their teeth whitened and grey hairs dyed to feel good? Confidence needs to come from something within rather than be based on others opinions of our exterior, or it will never last.

Our objection to pin up girls (and boys) in magazines and newspapers, when it moves on from their very existence, should be their portrayal as some sort of ideal, desirable body. A lot of these girls have unnatural bodies. Large, hard round breasts somewhere up near their chin with tiny stomachs and waists. The issue of men looking at images of women at all is one thing and I feel it’s a bit late for my opinions on that. However, if men are going to look, could they at least look at real women?

Looking at real women means variety. Maybe this was the wind that whipped up the ‘tab totty’ debate. Having real, everyday girls who had written articles and were attending University and looked human and relatable contrasted so starkly with images of robotic pin ups whose image as little more than blow up dolls is perpetuated by the pathetic, demeaning quotes written beside their boob jobs. If women saw men looking at real women, perhaps this would provide a confidence boost and move us away from this unrealistic ‘ideal’.

Alternatively girls and boys, if you are looking for a confidence boost, my advice would be “get naked”. A recurring theme in the 13 photos taken was that people were apprehensive at the start, but as soon as everyone had their clothes off, people were suddenly very comfortable. Taking part, I found quite a liberating experience, watching others go through it was fascinating (meant in the least perverted way possible).

If you would like to see Heidi Hi along with two of The Tab‘s editors themselves starkers, plus a large number of Downing students, get to Downing Porters lodge, it’s for a good cause and it’s a good laugh.