Saturday, March 29, 2003

Miami U. photo project slammed


Calendar called shallow

By Jon Gambrell
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - A proposed calendar featuring the "hottest" men and women in Oxford has generated a lot of talk - and some controversy - around the Miami University campus.

The Web sites www.girlsofoxford.com and www.guysofoxford.com offer students a chance to compete to appear in the calendar. However, some students are calling the calendar an affirmation of a stereotype of a shallow, homogeneous student body more concerned about looks than books.

The two Miami students behind the calendar, Anthony Portuesi and Jim Chimento, say their motivation for publishing is two-fold.

"The business school stresses entrepreneurship," Chimento said. "Also, we have substantial student loans to pay off."

After hatching the idea while eating at a local pizzeria, Chimento and Portuesi got sponsorship from Uptown merchants.

Students are invited to upload their own photos to the site. About 30 female and 25 male entrants have done so. Starting Tuesday, visitors to the site can vote for their favorites.

The entrepreneurs haven't set a price yet for the calendar, which should be available for sale when school resumes in August.

Some students aren't happy with the idea.

Kate Egelston, a member of Miami University's Association for Women Students, said the calendar will promote stereotypes. "It (the calendar) definitely reinforces that `J-Crew U' image," said Egelston, a senior political science and women's studies student. "That image that everyone here is blonde with an SUV, good-looking, upper-middle-class, snobby, things like that.

"That's something Miami would do," junior Bill Keim said when asked about the calendar project. "It is just the persona of Miami."

Junior Alison Sammon called the calendar competition "terrible."

"It is another way to promote that vain image," she said. "Everyone is obsessed with that vain image here."

But Portuesi said the calendar welcomes entrants of all races and backgrounds. It "didn't necessarily" contribute to negative views of Miami, he said.

E-mail jgambrell@fuse.net




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