Just Say No to Skeptic Calendars

Over the past several years, various groups have created calendars featuring nude/semi-nude/fully-clothed skeptics to raise funds for their events or donate to charity. For the most part, it’s all in good fun. The models — I’ve been one myself. Not nude. You’re welcome. — volunteer to do it (and it’s exciting!), the organizations make a little money, the buyers enjoy the calendar. That’s the idea.

You haven’t looked at one of these since 1999.

Rebecca Watson, whose Skepchick/Skepdude calendars were pretty popular a few years back, is now asking secular groups to stop making them. It’s not hypocrisy; she’s just had a change of heart when it comes to what these calendars accomplish.

Her points are completely valid and worth reading in their entirety, but here are the bulletpoints:

  • In an atmosphere where there’s a lot of talk about sexual harassment and making women feel comfortable, pin-up calendars aren’t helping.
  • Having calendars featuring men didn’t “balance out” the ones with women. No one’s ever leveled a complaint at me for posing in one or suggested I have no right to talk about harassment because I was Mr. July, 2009. But people have said that (and more) against the women who have posed in them.
  • Does sending women to skeptic conferences (often the intent of these calendars) really benefit them? Or is it just a fun weekend with no long-term payoff? It’s looking more and more like the latter.
  • Who uses calendars, anyway?
  • Pin-up/nude calendars are just not very novel anymore (if they ever were, that is).

It’s possible to rebut individual points, but the overall idea still stands and I agree with it. The calendars, the way they’ve always been done and despite some of the benefits they bring with them, aren’t working. Not for our community. Not at this time.

None of this is to say the groups who put these calendars together are wrong to do it… but if you’re considering the idea in the future, you might want to think of something else.

(image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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