Caius fellow strips off for portrait in a stand against media sexualisation

Beth Price 16 May 2014

Dr Victoria Bateman, an Economics fellow at Gonville and Caius College, has said that her decision to pose for a life-sized nude painting is in protest against the sexualisation of women in the media.

It is “a little unusual” she admitted in a statement to assuage any concerns from other Caius fellows, “It challenges the usual (overtly sexualised) way in which the female body is depicted in the modern world.

“It is confident, relaxed, natural and of a named intelligent woman – not of an anonymous woman who is being objectified, with fake additions and Photoshopping.

In a 2013 One Poll survey carried out on behalf of New Look revealed that 15% of 18 to 24-year-olds believe the images of models and celebrities in adverts and magazines are accurate. Dr Bateman’s hope is that her portrait “will raise questions in the mind of the viewer – questions which society still needs to address”.

“We will never eradicate the overtly sexualised images of women… I feel that the best way of providing an antidote is to also make sure that we show women as they truly are – without fake additions and other types of aesthetic treatments.”

Despite Dr Bateman’s empowering aims, student reaction to the idea of naked supervisors has been mixed. Millie Mitchell, a first year Historian at Clare College, would “definitely, definitely not” want to see her supervisor unclothed. However, a Magdalene NatSci, who wished to remain anonymous, was more open to the idea: “I probably don’t want to see that, unless they’re fit.”

The portrait by Anthony Connolly is currently on show at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London until 23rd May.