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Cheese Pin-Up Girls: Fun, Weird, or Demeaning?

Sometimes, beautiful people just look better holding something we all love. Just look at the book Hot Guys and Baby Animals. All of those men are rendered significantly more attractive because they are holding puppies, kittens, and other adorable baby critters.

Many have taken advantage of that idea when making calendars. The Irish Farmer’s Calendar, for example, features shirtless Irish farmers doing things like knitting to warm the hearts of buyers.

The French have taken this idea to the next level with their From Girls calendar. For the past eight years, the Association of Traditional Cheese Makers in France has been releasing a calendar featuring pin-up models holding regional cheeses of France. They claim it brings sensational revenue to both their society and the cheeses featured.

“If it brings them to us instead of the big distributors, it’s good,” a Parisian cheesemaker said of the calendars. And the calendars sell “like hot cakes,” Reuters reported back in 2009, so it’s safe to assume that it does just that.

That does not mean, however, that these calendars are not controversial. Some argue that the depictions of women in these calendars are crude and sexist, and the advertising only highlights the misogynist nature of the industry.

Veronique Richez-Lerouge, president of the Association of Traditional Cheese Makers, acknowledges this idea.

“It is true that the association between woman and products isn’t original in itself,” she said back in 2009. “But cheese and pin-ups is a bit better, because we are relatively limited in our clichés of regional products in France.”

Richez-Lerouge also argues that this calendar “smashes the unflattering stereotype of the frumpy French farm wife.”

“I thought that associating pin-ups, who associate beauty and aesthetic refinement is a way of bringing this ‘art de vivre’ back to the French, it is what we are so reputed for,” Richez-Lerouge noted.

Regardless of the controversy, though, this calendar has had continued success over the years, with people buying it from all over the world. Their 2014 calendar has just been released, and it’s classic Hollywood themed. See the pictures here.

This calendar is certainly controversial, but it also sells and promotes local cheeses and small cheesemakers. At the end of the day, its intent seems pure.

What do you think of this calendar? Is it good or bad for the cheese industry? Do the ends justify the means? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Courtesy of Bon Appetit

Amanda Doughty

Amanda Doughty considers cheese to be an essential part of her upbringing, as her family owns Anthony's Italian Kitchen, an Italian restaurant in Portland, Maine. Currently she studies creative writing at Emerson, where she is considered an outcast for refusing to touch the disgusting pizza in the Dining Hall. She admits that is a bit of a food snob, especially when it comes to pizza and cheese.

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