Cambridge Rear of the Year? It's still sexist

It’s little use sprinkling in male buttocks, as a kind of hairy-arsed figleaf

Share
Related Topics

They’ve done it again. That happy band of funsters at The Cambridge Tab have skilfully courted exciting new controversy by announcing the shortlist to their Rear of the Year contest, showcasing the best buttocks our most brilliant students have to offer – in 2013!

Both men and women are baring all this year, in what’s just a totally unsexist sexy ‘bit of fun’, right?

“Gwendoline” from “Sidney Sussex” is reading “Arabic” and wearing “hot pink briefs”, while “Shelley” from “Newnham” is studying “Chinese”, apparently without “any underpants at all”. Somewhat lower down the page, below all the sexy bums, are some men, who are clenching a bit more, and are furrier, by and large.

What is there to be said, really, for a collection of the finest formative minds in the country, who still seem to believe that pictures of agreeable women’s rear ends is something that is okay to be published in 2013? It’s little use sprinkling in a collection of men, as a kind of hairy-arsed figleaf. It doesn’t make anything equal just because men are involved; we’re still witness to a glaring symptom of the systemic sexual inequities of patriarchy. And as you’re reading this piece in the first place, you’ll know all the arguments, and you’ll either agree that a dusting of male nudity does not make everything okay, or you’ll be a loathsome basement-dweller in gilly, just-human form.

Having men in the piece actually makes it more troubling, not less. The half-cocked inclusion of ten masculine buttocks does nothing to stifle the sexism; objectifying men as well as well as women doesn’t mean that these women are being any less objectified – and it gives the objectifiers the cover they need to keep firing.

The fact is that apparent misogyny like this – and, admittedly, worse – is still unutterably rife on almost every university campus in Britain, in, should this tableau of glistening backsides have helped you forget, 2013.

For instance, Oxford was outraged recently, when its own culture of endemic sexism came to light via a charming wee email, in which a rugby club social secretary invited his team to spike women’s drinks. The sheer weight of similar stories of educated lads behaving absolutely monstrously that have since been relayed to me in private has curdled my blood, and now my circulation has stopped, and I’ve gone completely blue.

Meanwhile, in Durham, another rugby club dipped its toes into warmish water with a boisterous game of “It’s not rape if…” in a student bar.

Aberystwyth’s cricket club was banned when one of its members wore a T-shirt on a night out, with the words “casual” and “rape” emblazoned on it, in that order.

Most upsetting of all, police in Lancaster are appealing for witnesses to a rape in the toilets of a student-union owned club in October. They have a photofit of the man, and no suspects. This is just the tip of a horrible iceberg.

It goes on and on. As student editor, I seem to be dealing with daily reminders of rape culture in all its forms, from the casual objectification of thinking females, to actual assaults. And these are the educated ones, who’ll go into good jobs and hopefully end up running society.

Is it not time that we actually attempted a proper examination of the kind of society that gives rise to this sort of thing, over and over again? Can we not ask ourselves serious questions why young male adults are so happy to make rape jokes and publicly slaver over their female peers? Can we not find a way to show them it’s not okay before they even start thinking that way? Each time one woman is reduced to a bottom, women are reduced.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketing Controller (Financial Services)

£70000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager/Marketi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Beware of the jovial buffoon who picks fights overseas

Boyd Tonkin
 

My shameful failure to live up to the spirit of Christmas

Howard Jacobson
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all