Oxford University’s Women’s Rugby team has released a naked charity calendar, triggering widespread attention from the national press and social media. To boost exposure before the Varsity game, the team has chosen to pose naked and work with Beat, a charity fighting against eating disorders and promoting positive body image.
The team is currently preparing for the annual clash with rivals Cambridge, a match that will take place in Twickenham for the first time. Delighted at the prospect of playing on the same pitch as the men’s team on 10th December, OURFC Women seized the opportunity to seek publicity in the run up to its upcoming Varsity fixture.
Focusing particularly on realistic rugby positions, the photos taken at the team’s Iffley grounds aim to raise the sport’s profile among women. In a video explaining the team’s mentality and approach to playing a sport commonly stereotyped as masculine and brutal, the women say that it is “just another way for [them] to enjoy [themselves]”, and encourage other young women to give rugby a try.
As well as promoting women’s rugby, the calendar supports the work of Beat, which is based in Norfolk. Fighting for a more comprehensive approach to eating disorders in the UK, the organisation helps people of all ages struggling with eating disorders and body image. In their calendar, the OURFC women wanted to show how positively the body can be perceived, insisting that their photos were not photoshopped before printing.
“Rugby is a sport for players of a variety of strengths and sizes”, the team’s captain Carly Bliss told Cherwell. Donating £1 from each calendar sold, the team hopes to reach or surpass the amount raised for mental health campaign Mind Your Head the last time the charity calendar initiative took place. Proceeds will also go towards promoting the club’s development, following financial troubles that have threatened the team’s continued existence in the past.
OUWRFC President Helen Lamb suggested the undetaking has also strengthened the bonds between team members, telling Cherwell, “The majority of the team had never considered doing a naked calendar before but it was obvious that everyone was really keen to give it a go.
“It allows us to demonstrate the hard work we put in all year round and highlight the level of women’s rugby at Oxford and Cambridge.”
The calendars are currently available to buy online, with a discount for members of the University