January 9, 2002

Hi Melanie -

We have never met, but my name is Shannon Cluff and I believe that you deserve my support. Yesterday I read the article in The Toronto Star, "Topless calendar fails to pass charity test", and was moved to contact immediately. 

First of all, congratulations on this project.  I too believe that it we are way late on the whole body acceptance issue, men and women both and the time to start seeing ourselves as flesh, and bones, heart and soul has come.  I hope that the Breast Cancer Foundation's response to your work has not discouraged you from attempting to sell your calendar in local stores. 

Unfortunately traditional methods of healing are held as the most effective ways of maintaining health, and it is because of this that organizations such as this one are still so loyal to traditional ways of approaching the public. This is also more evidence that women are acknowledging the most abused and ignored aspect of ourselves - our bodies! Whenever this happens and we celebrate this process, there has always been someone to stand up and say, "Well sorry, it's too this, or it's too that..." Pardon my language, but *@!~ them. There is no failure here. Sue Richards is absolutely right, the response from Jay Hooper is disturbing, not only that but  also down right offensive. 

Women's breasts are sexual, nurturing, beautiful and comforting and it is simply Hooper's own over sexualization of the breast that is hindering their support, as a man and as a person in charge of an organization that is more concerned with their image and attracting larger investors than the welfare of women and the celebration of their bodies.

I graduated from the University of Guelph in 1999 and since then relocated to Vancouver, B.C. I am an organizer and performer for 2000WOMEN,  a solo female performance series featuring works in theatre, film and dance, happening March 6th-10th at Studio 16, downtown Vancouver.

I'm visiting Guelph this week to instruct two workshops for the drama department and to visit some old friends.  Anyway, the performers and producers of 2000WOMEN created a nude calendar at the beginning of November for 2002 and we have it selling in over 25 stores in Vancouver. The pictures are of the performers in their own homes, taken by well known fashion photographer Robert Kinney. The stores are selling it without taking a cut, simply to support our festival and the local arts community. You can actually check out parts of the calendar on our website at www.2000women.com. We created this calendar as a tribute to risk-taking, creative women everywhere and I think that you and Sue deserve that sort of recognition. 

Thank-you for being true to yourselves and please contact me if I can be of any help at all.


Shannon Cluff
Vancouver, BC