Volume 95, Issue 41

Wednesday, November 14, 2001
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Two sides of giving

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

Two sides of giving

"I love, I love, I love my calendar girl..."

Or not.

This week, at a booth inside the University Community Centre's atrium, the infamous "W-boys" and "W-girls" calendars went on sale. Four thousand copies of the calendar have been printed, each selling for $10.

According to the organizer, profits from calendar sales will go to Fire Donations, a Washington-based relief fund for the families of firefighters killed on Sept. 11.

Since word of the calendar's creation became public in September, various campus groups, including the Women's Issues Network, have taken offense to the calendars.

WIN, in response to the sale of the calendars, organized a counter-protest yesterday in the UCC atrium, where they offered pieces of hotdogs on a platter, urged passerbys to sign petitions and sold greeting cards, the profits going to one of two charities.

Whatever side you're on in this debate, one thing is for sure – the calendars are causing quite a stir. They have even captured the attention of local and national media outlets. Most importantly, they have created a dialogue.

It is this type of dialogue that is supposed to be created on a university campus, where differing opinions add to the vibrance and diversity of the community.

The current calendar debate has two opposing sides that meet in the middle for a classic philosophical battle – the use of the human body to sell something.

On one side, individuals who want to pose in a calendar like this; those who say "If you've got it, flaunt it." The people who believe this calendar taps into a known fact – sex sells – and manipulates it to for a good cause.

On the other side, there are those who think posing in a calendar like this is somehow offensive or exploitive. These individuals think it is distasteful to sell a calendar featuring scantily-clad young people in order to raise money for those affected by the heart-wrenching events of Sept. 11.

Although the WIN protest may not have been overly successful, it provided an option of choice. People can choose to support either side in this debate, but nevertheless donate to a worthy cause.

The profits from these calendar goes to a worthy cause, but it seems the cause is getting lost in the shuffle.

At the booth where the calendars are on sale, there is no banner calling attention to the charity. There is also no mention of the charity on the t-shirts worn by the calendar models turned salespeople.

Instead, the calendar is the first thing pushed in your face and that leaves some feeling the cause has been put on the backburner.

Ultimately, there is no objection to using a calendar to raise money for the families affected by the events of Sept. 11, so long as they remain the central focus of otherwise altruistic motives.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001