The more this LDNnudetech calendar debate goes on, the more I’m just laughing inside. Laughing because people can get really uptight about the silliest of things and generally laughing because people assume they know more than others and feel the need to pontificate and/or judge because of it. The Evening Standard is behind it and so is the Telegraph. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it’s simple; 24 successful, hardworking men and women in the London tech scene have posed nude (naughty bits covered) for a calendar, of which there will only be 5000 copies made. All of the proceeds will then be going towards Take Heart India; a youth-run charity that has IT-based projects in India for blind and disabled students.
The main point of argument some seem to keep having is that people, especially women, don’t need to be taking off their clothes in order to make a point or raise money for charity. They need to use their brains, obviously. However, on the same vein, it appears it’s completely acceptable for men to do whatever they like. This argument has never and will never ring true for me for the simple fact that if you look around you, sex, in some form or other, is everywhere. Why are people still so outraged about this? I would’ve thought that, by now, it was quite clear to see that we actually quite like nudity and naked flesh — and that we’re not living in the 1950s! Both men and women can, and like to, look good naked. And, we like looking at them.
Recently, Eileen Burbridge (@eileentso) ranted, second-guessed herself (a lot!) and raved about why it was so bad for this calendar to occur, especially for the ladies involved. That if they pose for this calendar and take off all their clothes, they are somehow undermining their talents as professionals in the tech industry. Surely, if this were the case, then nobody would be jumping on the so-called nude bandwagon at all? If it were that bad it wouldn’t happen, no? If Eileen were to rule the world then I’d shudder to think what life would look like through her eyes. In a society where we spend so much time working, stressing and finding new ways to wage war on our neighbours and fellow countries, aren’t we allowed to have a little fun anymore? This project is about helping people; it’s as simple as that. It just appears as if she has personal issues with removing clothing and thus has let loose on a teeny tiny project which has the simple end outcome of wanting to raise money for a good cause.
A little more recently than that, Sian Meades made a very good point about women who choose to take off their clothes and do so because they want to. This argument brings home the idea that women are in control of their bodies, their lives, their careers and hence, their destiny. I’d honestly much prefer to see this way of thinking, to be quite frank. Given that women can (and do do) whatever they want, whenever they want to nowadays without any interference or pressure from menfolk, why do we still have the mind frame that men still control us? If Eileen herself, who appears to be a very successful lady, has a problem with taking off her clothes and thinks that it’s demeaning to do so, then fair enough — she shouldn’t do it. But, I really don’t think she’s got as far as she has in life by thinking that men control the world. So, the view that they somehow control us is a little outdated, to say the least.
If you’re successful and professional in your day-to-day activities and actually happen to think you also look good aesthetically, does that automatically make you evil? I can look around me and decide which people I find attractive and do the same for those I don’t. I don’t judge them anymore or less because of the way they look (unless I plan to date them, then ‘looking good’ is definitely something I take into consideration). The same goes for looking in the mirror; it’s up to me to decide whether or not what I’m looking at is worthwhile and whether or not I would like others to see it, whole or clothed. Just take a look around you and see people in positions of power, authority and/or of certain influence. Chances are that they’re hardworking and gorgeous to boot. Because that’s how we prefer it as a society. Naked/nude/semi-clothed people are everywhere. But, is that necessarily a bad thing?
A very amusing post by Chief Silicon Stiletto (@huddlesuz), Zuzanna Pasierbinska-Wilson, goes into why she would actually really like to get naked. Her top ten reasons of why she’s happy to get naked are an honest and humorous take on the entire idea and go very far in reminding us ladies why it’s important we remember to have a laugh and not take things so seriously. Another brilliant mind that has been supportive of the entire idea is Tech Fluff’s Hermione Way (@hermioneway). She has a splendid way to see life and I believe she’s successful because she’s a barrel of laughs and she works every hour she possibly can. She reminds you how to enjoy your days, and a little more than that, she isn’t a stranger to building her career. And, if you’ve ever worked with her, you’d know how professional she actually is — and the same goes for the other ladies mentioned.
Does the fact Hermione Way’s decided to strip off naked make her any less of a successful entrepreneur? In all honesty, it doesn’t. Because if it did, I’m fairly sure she wouldn’t do it. All of the ladies I’ve drawn attention to in this post are hardworking and successful. Some would like to remove their clothes and some would not. They all have two things in common though; they’re ladies and they’re all shaped differently. If they don’t care about that, then why do the Eileens of the world care?
So many people are caught up in the fact that once upon a time women weren’t allowed to work, vote or were simply used as sexual objects. Concerning the first two, it’d really be a helpful idea for people to see we are well past those times. With regards to the latter, times have changed and society has evolved. Women now do things because they choose to, not because they are told to. In fact, so much so, that it’s probably a good idea to see that Playgirl didn’t exist for no apparent reason. It was a big f*ck you to the male world — whereby it portrayed men in the same light as women… and because the men chose to.
Some have commented that this is simply an ego trip for those involved. I think it’s probably best to realise here that a good proportion of the people involved in this project were put forward. I also ask again, why is a (controlled) ego trip bad thing? It’s not a crime to want to show yourself off to the world if you happen to think your body is a worthwhile endeavour (clothed or unclothed). The entire fabric of society is based around aesthetic features — we strive to make things “look good” and everyday more and more products (so, not even relating to people here) are released which do just that. If you happen to realise that looking good is part of your day’s adventures and make an effort with your appearance, does that automatically make you a spawn of the devil? People are now so caught up in how easy it is to offend others that they’re afraid to say what they feel — and if that’s “I look damn good today!”, then so be it. If you now start destroying people’s right to express themselves personally, as well as verbally, we’re going to end up with a society that isn’t allowed to do anything at all. And, it isn’t hard to look around you around the world to see what happens to societies with that culture in place.
My main problem with the entire debate is that people are forgetting the end outcome. Charities are there to help those around you. I’m not even going to use the term “less fortunate” because I feel that’s demeaning in itself. People around the world survive with whatever they have. I support this project whole-heartedly for a number of reasons (and should probably point out that I’m not in it). Perhaps it’s because I am a woman in the tech industry? Or maybe it’s also because I’m an actress and have no qualms about taking my kit off? Or maybe it’s because I personally know some of the people involved (and nominated) and support their cause without question? Or maybe the reason I care so much about this project is because it supports a cause which happens to be in my mother country?
Whatever my reason, you are in no position to judge me (or those involved); be it one, none or all of those reasons. What would be really cool, though, is if tonight, you take off all your clothes, look in the mirror and be proud of what you see.
UPDATE: The calendar photos have been taken and you can now pre-order your London Nude Tech Calendar from Firebox.com with all proceeds going to charity. You can read a recent article about this over at the London Evening Standard which also includes a sneak peek preview of one of the calendar photos in question, that of Hermione Way naked with just a microphone!