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Spain decries Girls of Ryanair calendar

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  November 18, 2008 09:55 AM

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Irish discount airline Ryanair has caused a stir in Europe with the publication of its Girls of Ryanair calendar, with feminist groups accusing the carrier of sexism.
You'll recall that Ryanair sparked a frenzy here this month after a news report suggested the airline would soon announce service from London and Dublin airports to Boston and other major US cities, with fares starting at about $13, not including taxes and fees (which would be considerable). The BBC later quoted airline executives as saying that it would likely be at least 12 to 18 months before any plans could be solidified.
The calendar, which features photographs of scantily-clad flight attendants posing in front of jet engines, fuel pumps and tool kits, drew heated criticism from a number of groups, including the Women's Institute, a government-run rights organization in Spain, where this year's calendar was shot, according to a report on the Spiegel Online.
"It is significant that only women are used, in a sector in which there is a considerable percentage of men," the group said in a statement quoted by Britain's Daily Mail.
Spokesman María Jesús Ortiz told the Daily Main that the images presented the women as "sexual objects.''
"We're not talking about morals or nudity here, it's simply how women are portrayed,'' she said. "If there had been men in the calendar I'm sure there would have been no controversy."
Ryanair apparently begs to differ.
"Once again Ryanair will continue to defend the right of girls to take their clothes off, particularly when it is for charity,'' Stephen McNamara, a Ryanair spokesman, said.
The carrier has also sent a copy to Swedish politician Birgitta Ohlsson, who recently launched an attack against a Ryanair ad, which used a model in a short top and mini skirt, and accused Ryanair of exploiting women.
According to the German news organization the Spanish group has complained to Irish and European authorities and is considering legal action against the airline.
More than 700 female workers reportedly applied to take part in the 2009 calendar, which expects to raise at least $125,000 for a Dublin homeless organization, the Simon Community.
So if they make it across the pond someday they'll do the same for the Pine Street Inn or Father Bill's Place?

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41 comments so far...
  1. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by RSK November 18, 08 11:58 AM
  1. It's very surprising to hear this ISN'T happening in the States. Why would any Europeans object to this when there are a lot worse calendars readily available in most shops that DOES include nudity? If the women portrayed in this want to get paid to be photographed in bikinis then that's their choice. Leave 'em alone and leave 'em lookin' sexay! :-D

    Posted by DI$CO November 18, 08 12:26 PM
  1. This story totally fails to provide information on how this calendar may be procured. Shameful.

    Posted by Adam November 18, 08 12:50 PM
  1. Numerous small groups offer similar calendars in the US for fundraising purposes. Just type 'fundraising calendar' into any search engine and look how many results emerge. Oddly, it only seems to garner criticism when attractive women are the subjects. How many people are actually objecting to the fundraising calendar concept?

    For the Ryanair calendar, or any of the others for that matter, the individuals certainly are not being exploited when they, of their own volition, volunteer to pose for a charitable cause. It's a win-win: nobody is forced to pose and nobody is forced to buy the calendar. Both happen of free will, and the end result is that a homeless organization (in this particular case) can better deliver its charitable services.

    Posted by JB November 18, 08 12:51 PM
  1. all those who object to the calendar and wish to consider legal action or 'look at me' press releases should have to pay $125,000 to the same charity before they are allowed to speak on the subject.

    Posted by mattyw November 18, 08 12:52 PM
  1. The only women that should be saddened are the ones who applied and got rejected.
    Guess what critiques..many women want to feel and look sexy, and if they can get recognition for it..well..that is even better.

    Posted by n.a. November 18, 08 01:03 PM
  1. welcome aboard!

    Posted by greg November 18, 08 01:15 PM
  1. Men are visual beings this is why woman are built to attract. Not many men I know have spent, so, much money on hair, nail, face ,shoes and other items to attract the opposite sex. When is the last time you heard a man say, "look at him, what a b#$%@, he thinks he is, so, beautiful". They are the keeper of the egg for a reason. To keep the human race populated, you need to be attractive. This is not to discount that twoman have brains (an attractive feature, also) and have been considered "property" in the not, so, distant past, however, I believe they have more control over men than anyone understands. "You have come a long way, baby"

    Posted by sexist1 November 18, 08 01:28 PM
  1. They MUST have good looking male employees! Why not do a calender with scantily clad men? Or do a calendar with both? That's what's sexist about this.

    Posted by 4thegirls November 18, 08 01:28 PM
  1. If you're born fortunate to be able to appear half naked and not look stupid, then go for it!! Not every one is capable of doing this type of work. Guys that can hit a baseball a mile join baseball teams, ladies that have the qualifications, pose!!

    Posted by larry November 18, 08 01:29 PM
  1. Also, your title is misleading. Spain did not decry the calendar. An organization located in Spain decried it.

    Posted by n.a. November 18, 08 01:32 PM
  1. Of course sthey should do this for charity - what a noble cause.... the girls should also offer their services to the cause... might increase the coffers..!! maybe the flight attendants will fly in this 'uniform' too... can increase Ryanair's coffers too!!! win win all around...

    Posted by chins November 18, 08 01:35 PM
  1. I'm all for women having "the right to take off their clothes for charity" but how come it is always the women who are doing this for this company? I know many men who would gladly take off their clothes for any reason including charity but this is not an option. With the situation using only women's bodies to make money it becomes an issue not of defending women's rights but of protecting the equality of women especially in the workforce. This is an example of society relegating women to the fields where only their looks matter, and it encourages the opinion that women are something to be objectified (by men).

    Posted by Paula November 18, 08 01:41 PM
  1. Men get arrested for indecent exposure, women get applauded! There is a message here.

    Posted by larry November 18, 08 01:48 PM
  1. Pathetic. Which century and decade are we living in? Is this really the appropriate way to drum up business? Can we not treat woman as people in the workplace? After hours, who cares.. but, on the job, let's all be professionals.

    Posted by K November 18, 08 01:50 PM
  1. Paula, 4thegirls.

    It isn't that men wouldn't take there clothes off, of course they would, its only about what sells. You surely realize Playboy outsells Playgirl right? The SI swimsuit cover features women not because SI is sexiest, but because they want to make money. If females wasted as much money looking at men as we waste looking at them, you would see a lot more scantly clad men. I don't understand why people don't get it, its all about money, and companies have the right to make money, and in this example the more they make, the more they give to charity.

    Posted by cpstraight November 18, 08 02:04 PM
  1. Ok, time for a reality check. First, these women were NOT forced in any way to participate; they volunteered and most were turned away. Second, men would gladly take their clothes off for a good cause, or even for a little extra pocket money. As a matter of fact, I check my mail everyday for someone offering me cash or a chance to make an in-kind charitable donation if I were to loll about in my undies while someone took pictures. Here's the rub. There are no such offers and there never will be. There is simply NO comparable demand for male calendars. Finally, it is a myth that such calendars only serve to objectify women in the eyes of men. I know AS MANY women who view these images as men. That is why they are such big sellers.

    Posted by Ilyas November 18, 08 02:06 PM
  1. Yeee Haawwww...... now that's how to run an airline.

    Posted by joemac November 18, 08 02:31 PM
  1. I doubt the airline would have found many men employees wanting to be on the cover of a magazine titled "The girls of Ryanair"!

    Posted by bert f. November 18, 08 03:16 PM
  1. Sports Illustrated gives women band aids to wear and doesn't give $ to charity. Maybe this is progress?

    Posted by ProThinking November 18, 08 03:16 PM
  1. I love how this is decried as sexist, along with similar incidents, yet the women in the company line up to be a part of it. In this case, Seven HUNDRED women tried to be in the calendar. If it's so sexist, why did they want to be in it? This was all voluntary, and it's even for charity!

    Last I checked, the SI Swimsuit edition was a very popular issue. As was the Playboy featuring the Women's Brazillian soccer team.

    As for those requesting men, the reason there aren't more made is because they don't sell enough to make it worthwhile. Some women would be interested, but others could care less. Compare the percentages of how many men would buy the female calendar vs vice versa, and you'll see why they don't do one with males. It's simply sales numbers.

    Posted by Patrick November 18, 08 03:26 PM

    Sadly not available in the US, can anyone pick me up a few copies on their next overseas trip????

    Posted by John_Adams_2 November 18, 08 03:34 PM
  1. That is disgusting..........where do I get one?

    Posted by MAP November 18, 08 03:38 PM
  1. I am outraged that the image accompanying this story is not a link to a larger version.

    Posted by Medford Mickey November 18, 08 03:48 PM
  1. cpstraight-
    The more men use the "sex sells" excuse, the more women are objectified and sexism stays the status quo.

    llyas- women look at things like this for the same reason they look at fashion magazines. They are pressured to compare themselves to whatever society deems as "sexy."

    Posted by 4thegirls November 18, 08 04:07 PM
  1. I'm sure the women who modelled for this probably got paid pretty well. Plus, they can be proud of their bodies. So if it helps business, where's the harm? I suspect the women complaining about this wouldn't look very good in bikinis. Life is unfair -- deal with it and don't hate on the people with natural gifts. If I was a woman with that sort of body, I'd use it to my advantage too. Why not?

    Posted by ChopinCM November 18, 08 04:18 PM
  1. The spanish are outraged at this percieved exploitation of women. It's a little rich don't you think coming from the "brothel" of europe. Latest government figures are that anywhere up to 300,000 women are invovlved in prostitution in spain and the spanish spend 50 million euros a day on prostitutes. 90% of prostitutes in spain are non spanish and a large percentage are believed to be under the iron grip of the various mafias.

    Posted by valencia resident November 18, 08 04:21 PM
  1. Funny Spain has an issue with it. Didn't they run a racist print ad during the Olympics in China. And they of course had no idea what was wrong with making their basketball players slant their eyes. Brilliant!

    Posted by Michael C November 18, 08 04:29 PM
  1. I only fly Delta, there's not one "flight attendant" that looks like that in the entire company. It's all old, mean hags. What's wrong with looking at beautiful women? Nothing I say. They're not being objectified, I would love to have a long conversation with any of them.

    Posted by Bob November 18, 08 04:30 PM
  1. Aren't flight attendants useless eye-candy anyways? Now its in print. If they had any skills or brains they would do something else.

    Posted by ll November 18, 08 04:45 PM
  1. A) It was completely voluntary and B) It was for charity. So what the hell is the problem? If I looked half as good in a bikini as those women do I'd be living in Miami wearing nothing but bikins! I'm a woman by the way, and a feminist.

    Posted by Jessy November 18, 08 04:52 PM
  1. Women will continue to be objectified as long as women allow themselves to be objectified.....

    Posted by Old Dude November 18, 08 05:24 PM
  1. I don't see anybody up in arms about the fireman or police calendars that have nothing but men half dressed. Did this same group place a complaint when the old woman posed naked with strategically placed objects in front of them. These complaints are ridiculus.

    Posted by Mike M. November 18, 08 05:50 PM
  1. Are these Irish dollies? May have to go back.

    Posted by Boston Unleash November 18, 08 09:50 PM
  1. Hot women , or any woman for that matter, love being looked at. And, hot women are sexual objects. Where has this writer been living Afghanistan ?

    Posted by Duh November 19, 08 04:21 AM
  1. All in the name of serious research as to why air hostesses perform better in bikins. No?

    Posted by Cavan Unleash November 20, 08 09:05 AM
  1. I'm a woman from the states and we all know by watching TV commercials, sitcoms, and movies, sex sells. Instead of the continuation of being appauled at photos of pretty women, lets look at the bright's for charity. I live in America, work as a clinician, and have many poor people I connect to services. These services provide food, clothing, medical attention, and mental health intervention when needed. What have you done to help your community ?????

    Posted by Cindy November 22, 08 01:14 PM
  1. It's about the decision of an airline to mix sex and a supposedly professional commercial organisation together. It's unprofessional and will drive certain customers away. Like me for instance. The fact I go out with a Ryanair air hostess as a mistress will show you that I am no prude. And yes I seduced here because she was an air hostess. I still expect airlines to be appear impeccable in their conduct.

    Posted by James Villiers November 27, 08 11:54 PM
  1. Heck, I'm ready for the nude version! Oh, and do they really need to waste the paper on a male version? I don't think so.

    Posted by iorr61 January 7, 09 02:09 PM
  1. I want E-mail address of sexy girl in spain.

    Posted by Maqsood Ahmad January 19, 09 11:49 PM
  1. I agree with Adam, comment #3. How can I get one?

    Posted by Frank February 26, 09 03:33 AM
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