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The cult of the male sex symbol
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Saucy calendars

Saucy calendars
© Mariano Vivanco / Calendrier des Dieux du Stade

Pop into the shops at this time of year and you’re spoiled for choice for presents for your girlfriends. Firemen, policemen, rugby players, whatever takes your fancy, there's a calendar to suit! Sports teams and charities are also getting in on the trend, because they know exactly what sells.

We talk to agent Catherine Battner, who has the rather enviable task of working with naked rugby players!    

Where did the idea of a naked calendar come from ?
I think it was the players themelves, in the dressing rooms! We’ve been doing them for 7 years now and we currently sell around 200, 000 copies a year. No-one expected it to take off as well as it did.

Who buys the calendars: men or women?  
98% of the calendars are bought by women! But it’s not just for women: men also like them. One thing’s for sure, it’s really changed the image of rugby players and the sport itself. You see far more women in the stands nowadays, for example.   

Do you think this has really changed the way we see men?
Definitely. Where images of naked men were a novelty, they’re now the norm. These sort of calendars have really opened marketing people’s eyes: we’ve never seen so many naked men in adverts and on the TV.  

Don’t you think it’ll give men hang-ups about their bodies?
Well obviously rugby players look after their bodies and it shows! But haven’t we been giving women hang-ups for years by putting stick-thin, made-up models in adverts and on TV? That’s the way things are, unfortunately, and at least equality between the sexes is being redressed: at the end of the day, guys like to look at beautiful women and vice-versa!


Sarah Horrocks
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