Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Saturday's a rugby day

My daughter gave me the most wonderful - and appropriate - Christmas present!  Knowing about my blog and the work I'm doing to empower women to love themselves and their bodies unconditionally, she knew she had the perfect present for me when she found the Oberlin Rhinos Rugby Calendar!  Laura goes to Oberlin so found out about the calendar through some friends.  Apparently the women on the rugby team have been making a calendar of themselves topless for the last several years. 

Each month has a picture of the team members topless (but with breasts discretely covered), mostly on the field with black shorts or underpants on.  I don't know anything about rugby, so I don't understand a lot of the captions, but I definitely get the images!  And I absolutely love their statement on the back of the calendar!  Here are a few excerpts from it:

"Saturday's a Rugby Day" is a glimpse into women's rugby, as played by the Oberlin Rhinos, a self-coached collegiate club team that has grown in size and skill over the years...  [In the calendar] we parody traditional beauty stereotypes by posing topless, juxtaposing the concept of the seductive and submissive pinup with images of powerful, strong female athletes, challenging mainstream depictions of gender and sexuality....

"With this calendar, we're celebrating the beauty of women's rugby, not only of our individual bodies, but also the coming together of these bodies to form a fierce, cohesive team....  The game is a testament to our relationships with each other and to the collective strength of our team, as well as our challenge to a patriarchal society that views women as weak and passive.

"The images in this calendar emphasize our players' strength, celebrating athletic bodies and defining those bodies as sexy.  Many people on our team have expressed that ruby has empowered them by shifting the ways they conceptualize beauty and understand themselves within that context.  It's not uncommon to hear your teammates shouting 'You're so hot!' from the sidelines while you're crashing down the pitch towards the try line.  It is the self-confidence and strength that we gain through the game that makes us sexy, regardess of size or shape, and allows us to reject the doninant notion that women should be fragile and diembodied.  We embrace our bruises because they are tangible signs of the things our body has done and can do.

"We recognize differing perceptions of this work and invite you, the viewer, to think critically about the images and goals we are presenting.  We hope to provoke dialogue about feminism, gender expectations, and sexuality in the Oberlin community and beyond, by challenging stereotypical depictions of women in massmedia."

You gotta love it!

Here's the link to the site if you want to buy your own calendar or read a bit more about it: http://oberlinrhinos.blogspot.com/  And here's a link to an article that was in the Oberlin Review in 2006 http://www.oberlin.edu/stupub/ocreview/2005/12/16/news/article4.html if you want to learn even more.
I think these women are really onto something.  I love it that they are so self-aware and proud of their dynamite selves!!  May we all love our sexy bods so much!

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