Published on November 20th, 2013 | by Ruby Sigurdardottir2
Complaints in Cambridge over ‘sexist’ bum contestCambridge University students have sparked controversy this week after taking part in a “best bums” competition that feminists have described as “irresponsible and sexist”.
Five male and five female students sent nude photos of themselves to Cambridge’s student website The Tab, whose readers were then encouraged to vote for what they considered to be Cambridge’s best male and female bottoms of 2013.
Lauren Steele, Women’s Officer at Cambridge University Students’ Union, and Anija Dokter, a member of Cambridge Feminist Society, have both condemned the competition.
In a joint statement they said: “This is an example of immature, blind and irresponsible behaviour on the part of The Tab editors.
“The Tab should immediately remove the photos, publish an apology and mandate that all future publications cannot include the misuse and appropriation of women’s and other minorities’ bodies.”
Jack Rivlin, editor of The Tab, defended his decision to hold the competition on the website.
Writing on Telegraph Blogs, he said: “(It’s) hardly Page Three. It’s not meant to be serious and it’s not meant to be journalism. It’s a few people getting their bottoms out.
In response to Steele and Dokter’s criticism, Rivlin said: “Forget free choice, or the fact that some of us might actually want to bare our bums for other people’s enjoyment. That’s not allowed.”
Students at UAL had mixed opinions on the competition. Emma Corck, a first-year 3D effects for performance and fashion student at LCF and member of ArtsFems, UAL’s feminist society, said: “I don’t see any problem with the competition in terms of it being sexist as there is an equal amount of entries from both sexes. However, I do think it’s sad that our culture has reached a point where the overt sexualisation of young people is now completely acceptable.”
Cecelia Johnson, an FdA Art and Design student at CSM told Arts London News: “As a feminist I do find this competition offensive and degrading to women. The women’s bodies are portrayed differently in the photographs to the men’s; with the men it is seen as a ‘harmless joke’ while the women are being sexualised.
“If that is equality among the sexes then great both of them are degraded, sexualised and treated as objects, that is not the equality we should be striving towards.”