University Women’s Rowing Team Charity Branded Pornography by Facebook

 University women's rowing club
University women’s rowing club IMG: via Newsteam.

Women from University of Warwick Rowing Society posed for a 2014 calendar, which was sold to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. Their nude charity calendar raised £3,400, selling 1,500 copies but hoped to raise even more by posting some of the photos to Facebook and Twitter to drum up publicity. However, Facebook recently removed the group’s page for its ‘explicitly sexual content’ thus cutting them off from an ideal way to reach those in their target market.

As students, the women of the Rowing Society don’t have a budget for marketing; therefore, the removal of their page is going to significantly lower sales. The 17 members of the group posed naked next to the River Avon and their boathouse in Barford, Warwickshire, before posting the pictures on both Facebook and Twitter.

Sophie Bell, who organized the event, has condemned Facebook’s decision to harm the group’s chances of raising more money for charity with their 2015 calendar, which will be released later this year. The group is also claiming the move to be ‘borderline sexism’ citing the fact that the ‘Warwick Rowing’s Men’s Naked Calendar’ Facebook page has been allowed to stay up despite the removal of the women’s page.

“Facebook can un-publish pages after it gives you a warning to make amendments,” states Bell. “We always made the amendments and took the pictures down – even though they were no racier than the others – but a few days ago they emailed and said the page was being completely removed.”

Bell goes on to point out that there “are loads of similar nude charity calendars who have Facebook pages plastered across the site,” questioning, “why aren’t they being asked to takes theirs down too?” The page is certainly not the only of its kind and the images are not indecent, so it seems no violation actually occurred.

A recent Warwick graduate, Hettie Reed, 22, who also helped organize the calendar, said, “[Facebook] cited that [the removal] is due to the nudity and explicit images – we couldn’t believe it… All of the girls are strategically covered up and our calendar has been praised for its artistic and tasteful nature.”

The women from University of Warwick Rowing Society have been creating charity calendars to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support since the first one in 2013; their 2015 calendar will go on sale in October.