Volume 95, Issue 12

Thursday, September 20, 2001
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Editorial Board 2001-2002

Posing for profits

Editorial Cartoon

Posing for profits

The attacks in the United States on Sept. 11 have brought out the best and worst in humankind. As a response, Western students are devising ways to help our American neighbours, using a variety of fundraising methods.

One particular student is creating a calendar and plans to send a portion of the proceeds from this venture to help the victim's in New York and Washington. In principle, it is a great idea.

However, this is not your typical calendar.

It will feature a number of semi-clad Western students, selected wholly because of their physical appearance. Undoubtedly, it will re-inforce certain stereotypes about our school and the appearances of students therein. The students selected to pose for the calendar might be the apple of one man's eye, but they might not necessarily reflect Western's cultural diversity.

Make no mistake, calendars like this are not a new phenomenon. London's own fire department sells a similar calendar each year and they maintain the respect of the community-at-large, while still raising a healthy profit for charity.

However, Western students do not, for the most part, battle fires and in the last few years there has been a considerable effort by the administration to shed Western's long-time party school image. By distributing a calendar of this nature on-campus, that precious image may once again be tarnished.

It is obvious sex sells.

However, where does the motivation come to raise money for victims using sex? Are there not other ways to raise funds for those in need? Whatever happened to lemon aid stands or car washes?

Furthermore, what does this say about how members of our student body respond to a tragedy of this magnitude? Although the administration has not been involved with this project, many will still view it as a product of Western, just like all of those rear window decals and Mustang "hoodies."

The calendar is also guaranteed to anger those opposed to using images of semi-clad men and women to sell a product. This is a place of higher learning and this type of exploitation has no relevance here.

Even though universities are designed to be progressive institutions, the fact remains that the students featured in this calendar chose to do it. They were not forced and some may have even enjoyed the boost to their ego. And, may we remind you, it has the good intentions of raising money for people in need.

While everyone may not necessarily like the idea of a "W Boys and W Girls" calendar, the decision to support it must be left to the market and those who choose to buy a copy.

If Western students want their school to be viewed as a party school where everyone looks great in matching bathing suits, buy a copy of this calendar and indirectly help those in need.

If however, you feel otherwise, go open a lemon aid stand.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001