Our research turned up this episode in Smith history that many of today’s students may not be aware of…
Angry Smith College students demand to be accepted for their brainpower rather than their beauty. More than 200 women gathered on the campus last night to protest Playboy magazine’s invitation to students to pose for a special issue next spring.“Smith students mobilize against Playboy”, Union-News, 10/18/90
Students have formed a new group on the campus against pornography. Playboy magazine officials have said their invitation for campus women to pose nude will expose their “sexy” and “feminine” sides, but some at Smith College hissed at the thought. While a few women at Smith apparently took up the magazine’s invitation to apply last week, others have begun organizing “Smith Women Against Pornography” to deal with sexual exploitation, student Amy Loper announced.
“Why can’t we be simply intelligent?” asked Suzanne Simon, in response to a Playboy official’s statement defending the college issue that said, “We want to show that these women are not only studious, but sexy and feminine as well…”
Women at the rally last night decried the magazine’s continuing effort to reduce women as “silly, naked, mutant mannequins,” said Simon. The magazine’s push to encourage campus women to pose naked is “another attempt to dehumanize us, demoralize us,” she said, noting the difficulty that women have in finding respect…
Applause was plentiful for the speakers at the rally, as was hissing at the mention of the names of Hugh Hefner, Playboy founder; Christine Hefner, his daughter, an executive at Playboy; Bob Guccione, the Penthouse magazine publisher, and Larry Flynt, who publishes Hustler…
[English professor Ranu] Samantrai said the industry encourages sexual violence against women, girls and boys every day. More than 15 million copies of Playboy and Penthouse are sold every month, she said. Pointing out that the adult entertainment industry will not cease because of a few protests, she called on women to “bear our share of the responsibility. It is time for us to make it stop.” She then read three poems, one of which listed derogatory names women are called, from “chick” to “dog” to “pig” to “tail,” and more. Some women in the audience flinched.
In the previous year, 300+ people came to listen as Andrea Dworkin spoke at Smith…
Andrea Dworkin spoke with a passionate and wavering voice at Smith College last night as she spoke step-by-step of America’s pornographers and their business. “The pornographers are law-abiding citizens. The day you are of legal age, you are fair game for them,” she said.“Author raps damage from pornography”, Union-News, 4/17/89
An audience of more than 300 people listened in rapt silence at Stoddard Auditorium as the feminist author of “Pornography: Men Possessing Women” attacked the producers and purveyors of pornography.
She described in sometimes graphic detail the pain and humiliation that she said pornographers impose on their subjects using what she termed “social strategies” to appeal to the prurient interests of those who buy what they produce. Dworkin said the blonde-haired, young-looking woman is the look pornographers are attempting to exploit the most these days.
Dworkin said more often than not a pornographic film will feature several re-occuring aspects. There will be gang rape, more often but not always of a white woman who had been kidnapped.
“Pornography is about rape, pain and humiliation,” she said. Almost always, she said, the film will depict the victim eventually enjoying the brutality, becoming a “celebrant of her own degradation.”