Oxford University Women's Rugby Team Poses Nude to Combat Eating Disorders
The squad is raising money for charity with their nude calendar
The Oxford University women’s rugby team is tackling eating disorders – one nude calendar at a time.
The 33-person squad posed for photos showing off their skill and athleticism on the rugby pitch, wearing just socks and cleats, to raise money for Beat, a U.K. charity aimed at combating eating disorders.
“The message that Beat promotes really fits with the positive body image and confidence that we promote at OURFC Women,” team president Helen Lamb tells PEOPLE in a statement.
“If each calendar sold gets just one person talking about these often-avoided topics, then OURFC Women and Beat have been very successful in their mission,” adds captain Carly Bliss, 27.
Their goal was also to celebrate the strength of the female body.
“This year we specifically wanted to use the calendar to promote female athleticism and positive body image, highlighting that rugby is a sport for players of a variety of strengths and sizes,” Bliss says.
To show that all bodies are strong, OURFC didn’t Photoshop any of the images.
“We have not used any Photoshopping in the calendar to enhance the girls’ bodies aesthetically to emphasize that these are real rugby players who simply enjoy playing rugby,” Lamb, 20, explains. “The team promotes a positive body image, and this choice was essential to represent the team accurately and demonstrate the confidence of the team.”
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Male and female rowers at fellow British university Warwick pose annually for their own now-famous naked calendar to raise money for Sport Allies, a group aimed at stopping homophobia and transphobia.
The rugby squad’s calendar is also building up excitement for Oxford’s annual match against rival Cambridge, which they’ll play at England’s Twickenham Stadium, known as “the home of England rugby” for the first time, a huge step for women’s rugby.
“The Women’s Varsity Match has 27 years of history, and I believe playing alongside the Men’s Varsity Match at Twickenham Stadium is the rightful place for this esteemed match,” says Bliss. “It demonstrates how women’s sport should be regarded as equal to that of men’s, and highlights the prestige associated with the Varsity Match and the great honor it is for individual players selected to represent their university.”
Lamb is excited for the match, and hopes that playing on such a massive stage, along with the diversity shown in the calendar, will bring more women to the sport.
“Our calendar highlights the variety of women that play rugby, and we hope it will encourage and inspire more women to try out.”
To purchase a copy of the calendar and support Beat and OURFC, go to ourfcwomensnakedcalendar.com.