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Nude Twitter Calendar Promotes Sex Education and Gender Equality in Macedonia

Avid Twitter user and freelance photojournalist Ivana Batev has joined forces with other Macedonian Twitter users for the second year in a row to create and publish a calendar that promotes sexual education and gender equality through nude subjects and interior design concepts.

After the successful first run in 2013, the 2014 charity calendar with artistic nude photos of Macedonian Twitter users, who volunteered their time and bodies, was launched on Sunday, December 29, 2013 in Skopje. While last year's edition promoted breast cancer awareness, the topic for this year's Twitter calendar is sex education with a secondary focus on interior design. The current edition also introduced a much wider diversity of models, including males, while last year's calendar featured a brave all female cast.

Macedonian Twitter Calendar 2014. Message for November: Gender equality is not a threat to the family.

Macedonian Twitter Calendar 2014, message for November: “Gender equality is not a threat to family.”

The driving force behind the 2014 calendar, Ivana Batev, known as @REF on Twitter, tweeted:

…Whoever thinks that to undress in Macedonia is not revolutionary doesn't live in the same society as me, and I envy them.

The tweet was also quoted by Kristofer Blomdahl from Sweden in his English-language post about the calendar. He wrote:

I agree with this and I think that this is the strongest statement we can send with the photographs today. Kudos for all the people who were audacious enough to undress before her.

Also, big thanks to HERA who provided sex education tips in 140 characters twitter format and to everyone who bought photographs. The money will be used to help marginalized communities in Macedonia.

Macedonian Twitter Calendar 2014, message for January: No always means No! Nakedness is not a substitute for consent.

Macedonian Twitter Calendar 2014, message for January: “No always means No! Nakedness is not a substitute for consent.”

Aside from the social change and awareness that the authors and participants of the calendar intend to raise, there is also a charitable aspect to this unique project. Namely, funds gathered from the sale of the hard copy calendars will be donated to people from marginalized communities in Macedonia.

The Twitter discussion around the hashtag #твитеркалендар (#Twittercalendar) included many positive reactions, from applauding the courage of its participants to praises of the characteristics of some of the models, who went by their Twitter handles or anonymously in some of the more revealing photos. The few nagging trolls that spoke up on Twitter were soon directly contradicted with tweets like this one by Macedonian Twitter user @ordanoskiv:

Instead of (unjustified) criticism of the Twitter calendar, you should aim your weapons at the kitsch on the Vardar Quay.

[Referring to the construction Skopje 2014 project which resulted in world media such AP and Spiegel deeming Skopje "capital of kitsch."]

According to local news aggregator, some 40 online media in Macedonia reported on the calendar. However, only a few of them included links to the entire calendar and, even though it isn't labeled as pornographic, some of them labeled the articles and its images as “18+” material.

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