Undie Run a Feminist Issue?


The Undie Run at the U of MN to raise awareness about homelessness and to get clothing donations is sparking some controversy among students. They claim this event is degrading towards women. The group admin. recently changed the event photo from a bra, to a heart due to complaints. What do you think? Is running "nearly naked" degrading towards women? Should we discourage this kind of event, or does it show just how far women have come: to be able to run ALMOST NAKED, instead of fully clothed and appropriate?



Very interesting question Lindsey. I was a little taken back when I first saw the adverstisements for this on facebook. It is hard to say this is degrading towards women since both males and females will be participating. My original concern was those who may not be comfortable with their body but want to do be a part of this event since it is for a good charity. It seems to discriminate against those who may not be in the best shape. I saw the comment stating it was degrading women. I don't as much see it that way but someone who is not comfortable with little clothing on seems to not include them in this event. It is a creative idea but I know many people who would be uncomfortable with this type of even just because they do not like their bodies. It seems there is a lot of support for the event but then again there is around 600 attending with a campus of over 50,000 students. Its hard to know other people's thoughts since I only saw one comment that questioned the event. That is really my only voice of concern with this event.

I definitely think that this a good feminist issue topic especially since it is happening here at the U, but as Jennifer mentioned both males and females would be participating in this event. I do believe that it is a creative way to raise attention to the event, because we all know and have heard that sex sells. Even though this is for a good cause and they are being very tongue-in-cheek and clever, it is a touchy subject. It is obviously very blatantly sexual since underwear and bras don't cover too much of the body. I really like the point you bring up Jennifer about not everyone being comfortable with their body. Even though it may seem trivial, it is a big issue for people of all ages and sizes. I could see how this could be troubling for people who want to participate, but are just not comfortable with it. What if their moral or religious beliefs don't comply with this even either? I think this even is interesting in general because it is so controversial, but if they were in swim suits it really wouldn't be that big of a deal, and those cover about the same amount.

The issue of the "undie run" is a really complicated one because both men and women participate in it, but that doesn't mean it's not a feminist issue. I think as Jennifer brought up, that the issue of being comfortable with one's body and issues of body loathing and such are also feminist issues. Maybe looking at it that way would better suit the feminist perspective, and something like this could be completely positive. Nonetheless as Hana brought up, sex sells and swim suits these days are getting smaller and smaller...what does that say about modesty as a feminist issue? Should we celebrate women's bodies as a society, and how can feminists go about that without it becoming an issue of impropriety or "slutty-ness?"

I like all of the points you all are bringing up. My first response to this event is: I don't understand how running in your underwear is really related to homelessness? I get the part where they need clothes but I feel that there could be other ways to get peoples' attention to promote awareness of homelessness. I also don't think it's degrading towards women because of the fact that men are participating as well. I do think that this says something about modesty and that there is less and less of it. I also want to point out the fact that wearing a bathing suit in public is normal when wearing underwear is nearly illegal...it's weird to think about that. If anything, pointing on Kate's comment about swimsuits getting smaller, participants will possibly be more covered up by their under garments than if they wore a swimsuit. That's also interesting. Nice work with the feminist issue, Lindsey. I liked how this one was relevant to all of us because of it being on campus.

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