In Brief

Why Cambridge lecturer Dr Victoria Bateman likes to strip off

Economics fellow appeared naked on Good Morning Britain to discuss Brexit

A Cambridge lecturer is facing a barrage of abuse after using her naked body to deliver a political message on breakfast television.

Economics fellow Dr Victoria Bateman, from Gonville and Caius College, stripped off on Good Morning Britain today to reveal an anti-Brexit message written across her breasts. The stunt comes just days after she bared all during an interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Bateman told the ITV show that Brexit is “the emperor’s new clothes”, with pro-Leave campaigners having promised the country something that is “just not possible to deliver”.

Asked whether she was an “exhibitionist”, she said: “Why should I as a woman only be able to use my body for sex and babies? Why shouldn’t I also be able to use my body to deliver an important political message?”

Bateman added the only thing shocking about her nudity was that, unlike women in pornography, she has a voice.

Has Bateman stripped off before?

The academic first made headlines when she posed nude for a portrait shown at a Royal Society of Portrait Painters exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London five years ago.

Since then she has bared all at a number of events, including a university function last summer where she wore just a transparent leotard and evening shoes. Weeks later, she posted a video of herself on Twitter in which she covered “her modesty with only a handful of £5 and £20 notes”, according to the Daily Mail.

What is it all about?

In the Twitter video, which went viral, Bateman explained that she had been at a conference at the Office of National Statistics, where she spoke on the topic “feminism meets economics”.

The university lecturer said that her attire for the conference, comprising just the bank notes, was a “fitting combination of feminist and economic symbolism”.

Writing on the social media site, Bateman argued that feminism in economics is vital to create a more “prosperous, equitable and sustainable economy”.

By posing naked, she aims to make “the female presence felt in a clear and powerful way” and to challenge the idea that women’s naked flesh is sinful or shameful, the academic explained.

How have people reacted?

Bateman says she receives a lot of verbal abuse on Twitter over her naked protests, from both men and women. But she argues that comments such as “put it away love” and “get a razor” simply prove her point.

Speaking to news site Pluralist in July, she said: “I believe that fundamentally every woman should be free to do what she wants with her own body - whether to cover or uncover, to control her fertility or not, to be a homemaker or to pursue a career, and to monetise her brain or her body.

“‘My body, my choice’ should be the mantra for everyone. It sounds simple enough, but, increasingly, it’s a phrase from which people tend to pick and choose - to pick aspects that are important to them personally while ignoring those that are equally important to other women.”

Others have come out in Bateman’s defence, with a Twitter user posting a message last week that said: “Sad that there are so many haters out there, that so many men and women alike are afraid of what a real woman looks like.”

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