Now in its third year, the Byelorussian Steel Works (BMZ) corporate calendar has quickly become a firm company tradition.
Following a trail that was first blazed nearly five decades ago by the Pirelli tire manufacturer
, BMZ's yearly chronicle features racy (but demure) pictures of attractive females.
Whereas last year's publication
focused on emphasizing the role of women in the steel industry by placing its scantily clad subjects in various metallurgical settings, the 2013 calendar is a much more ambitious undertaking.
With a few bold strokes of an airbrush, it deftly draws our attention
to a link that the company suggests is often overlooked.
"Characterized by flexibility and natural appeal," BMZ's website explains
, "the beauty of the female body and the beauty of molten metal are to a certain extent related terms."
Warming to its theme, the BMZ publicity machine then goes on to hammer the point home:
Like metal, a woman is made up of the most unexpected and sometimes conflicting properties. If, at first glance, steel seems solid and firm, it can change under certain conditions, becoming soft and pliable. The opposite is the case when it comes to the fairer sex: regardless of their profession or circumstances, they can seem delicate and fragile, but behind this external weakness there is usually hidden confidence, courage, and a steel will.
Unlike its Pirelli counterpart, which publishes pictures of catwalk superstars such as Naomi Campbell
and Cindy Crawford
, BMZ's calendar uses the company's own homegrown talent.
With more than 12,000 employees, the Zhlobin-based steelmaker
had plenty of choice when it came to selecting its best-looking, most photogenic female applicants for the glossy publication.
Along with a number of engineers, this year's models also include a technician, a storekeeper, and a computer operator.
Presumably because they were representing BMZ, the lucky women were all chosen according to some very strict criteria.
Besides having "beauty and courage," these brave naked ladies also had to show that "tenderness and kindness lived in their heart."
Accordingly, these charitable attributes have to be supported by "specific actions," which is why BMZ's calendar girls have been busy organizing charity events over the past month to raise funds for children's centers in Zhlobin.
They have also been giving talks to children on the metallurgical industry, and one of the women even held a master class on beading.
It seems BMZ is doing its best to consolidate this child-friendly image.
In addition to its corporate calendar, which it will be giving to business partners, it is also producing a children's version.
Instead of flying sparks and nude women, the kids' calendar consists of pictures drawn by the offspring of company employees, reflecting their vision of BMZ as the place where their parents work.
-- Coilin O'Connor