Goldsmith's comments on Playboy issue are telling

by Susan Zieger | 5/10/95 5:00am

To the Editor:

I find it highly illuminating that two champions of Playboy's visit to Dartmouth, Playboy photographer David Mecey and Aren Goldsmith '96, interpret the function and effects of the "Women of the Ivy League" issue so differently.

Mecey declared that the issue will celebrate "that whole mystique of [being] intelligen[t] and being sexy at the same time." That this is still mystifying to many men is evidenced by Goldsmith's comments, which imply that women cannot be smart and sexy at the same time, even in Playboy. Goldsmith said, "Girls who have great minds are able to go on to law school ... win money as lawyers or professionals in corporations. Why can't girls who happen to have this one aspect -- this body -- use that resource?"

Goldsmith's plaintive query on the behalf of dumb, sexy women seems oblivious of the day's events: Dartmouth women with great minds were being interviewed by Mecey with the expectation that they would have great bodies as well. But in the photo spread the main feature will not be these women's ideas; it will be their breasts, buttocks and genitals. No wonder Goldsmith thinks that these "girls ... have this one aspect:" It's the one Playboy emphasizes -- it's the criteria for appearing in the magazine. If women's intelligence was truly interesting and sexy to men, nude pictures would be boring, not fascinating.

Why does Goldsmith feel so concerned about the rights of good-looking "girls" to pose for Playboy? After all, no one at the protest was blockading the Inn or harassing women who interviewed; yet Goldsmith said we were trying to "deny basic liberties." Was Goldsmith championing the basic liberty of women to pose for a pornographic magazine that dehumanizes them? Or was he defending his own basic liberty to delight in the objectification and degradation of his peers?

Perhaps Goldsmith's overheard suggestion to his friends that they spend the remainder of the afternoon drinking beer and viewing Playboy reveals his true motive.