She was what you would have to call big -- buxom, yes, but also just big. She held the magazine in her hands, a copy of Playboy, and she came up to me and asked me if I wanted to see her. I nodded and she opened the magazine to the proper place and there she was -- naked, nude, down to nothing but skin on the glossy paper. She put her finger on herself and she looked at me for approval. I was mortified.
I mean, you are not supposed to do such tings. You are . . . Just what is the proper response? You tell me. What are you supposed to say to someone like that? I don't know. All I knew is that I was at a party for the girls of Washington -- the ones who had posed nude, semi-nude and just plain naked for a particular issue of Playboy.
This comes up now because some girls (they are not women) of the Ivy League have posed in the buff for the very same Playboy magazine. When the girls of California do it ("Debbie is a junior at Mendecino State studying psychology"), this creates no stir. When the girls of Harvard or Penn or Brown, do it, this is news.To some of us, it is still news that there are girls at Harvard, Brown or Penn and I, for one, can hardly wait to see a picture spread on the girls of the military academies.
Anyway, when the women of the Ivy League pose naked it is news. Playboy, of course, has seen to that, but it had help. When their photographer arrived at the various campuses there were protests there to greet him. Feminists and their allies demonstrated, the party line being that it is degrading for women to pose in the nude because (1) men don't do it, (2) it makes objects of women, (3) places a premium on beauty as opposed to, say brains.
The thing of it is, of course, that there is some shock value to what Playboy has done. Women who pose in the nude are supposed to be not too smart or trying to start a career in show business -- probably the movies.
The thinking is that once the movie producers out there see your body in the all-together they will reach for the phone, have you flown to the coast forthwith, put you up in a swell room at the Beverly Hills Hotel and sign you to the biggest contract since Secretariat was sold for stud. Maybe this happened once, but it surely does not happen often.
No matter. The mystification comes when the women are smart. We know they are smart in this case because they are all enrolled in Ivy League colleges and we know they don't play football. Some of the surprise comes, I suppose, because of the canard that holds that pretty is dumb and smart is ugly -- the notion here being that ugly women have to compensate. They are the ones who study hard and get good grades.They are also the ones who have nothing better to do than study hard.
So here we are with smart, yet pretty, women who take off their clothes for Hugh Hefner and several million other men. What are we to make of them? Why do they do it and were they right for doing it? For this we have to go back to the party I attended for the girls of Washington.
Some of the, I found, did it because they wanted the money and some did it because they were thick between the ears and thought Hollywood would be on the phone as soon as the magazine hit the streets. But some of them did it simply because they were asked -- someone asked them to take off their clothes.
Call them exhibitionists, call them anything you want, there was not much thought, political or otherwise, attached to what they did and in their case, there was no obligation that they give it much thought. They were what they were supposed to be -- objects. But the women of the Ivy League are different. They are not now and never were perceived just as objects. Instead they were supposed to demonstrate to the vast Playboy readership that the citadel of the Ivy League could be stormed by men armed with nothing more than expense accounts and Nikons, that underneath they are all alike -- girls, girls, girls.
As a result, Playboy is proud as all get out with itself, having dealt the women's movement some sort of blow, proving in the process some version of the old saying that in the dark they are all the same. What really matters here is not the women themselves, but how, thinking themselves really liberated or whatever, they have been treated in a time-honored fashion.
You got used, girls.Now get dressed.