Calendar girls: the first thing that springs to mind are skinny models wearing minimal clothing, posing in compromising positions.

This is not surprising.

Women have always been sexualised in the media. The argument is always the same: sex sells.

Such calendars have always been extremely popular for obvious reasons.

I’m not sure if this is because they are created by male-dominated companies or whether we have just become so used to it that we don’t even recognise the harm it’s doing.

Either way we get flooded with the same tired images.

Arguably the most popular calendar in the world is the Pirelli Calendar.

Year after year it has been painfully stereotypical with picture of famous, skinny models stripped down and covered in oil.

This is the sort of thing they usually do:

Last year’s calendar was praised for using plus sized model (we really need to stop using this term) Candice Huffine in their issue. But this year they did a complete 180 and truly deserve all the praise they’re getting.

Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz was given the freedom to take the calendar in a whole new direction. She opted for showing empowered women of all ages, shapes and fields.

The calendar features women like Chinese actress Yao Chen, musician Patty Smith, writer Fran Lebowitz and Yoko Ono – who all kept their kit on.

Amy Schumer and Serena Williams posed topless, but rather than counter the direction of the calendar it enhances it. Both women have been repeatedly body shamed in the past and choosing to pose in this way is something that should be celebrated.

Check out the inspiration for the calendar and the incredible women who feature in it below:

Hopefully, this calendar will be the catalyst for effective change when it comes to the representation of women in media.

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