Playboy representatives aren’t fazed by protests

by Jack Wheeler

Many of the women who have appeared in Playboy pictorials have gone on to become actresses and models — even doctors and lawyers, said representatives from the men’s magazine.
But some students and staff members at the University said they don’t see nude modeling as a resume-building tool.
“It supports a rape culture,” said Lisa Twente, a junior in the College of Liberal Arts.
Twente joined about 30 demonstrators in front of the Holiday Inn Metrodome on Monday evening to protest the magazine’s recruitment of women for the 20th annual “Women of the Big Ten” issue. The hotel is housing the magazine’s recruiters while they are on campus.
Representatives from Playboy magazine spent Monday and today scouring the campus for the University’s most beautiful and boisterous women.
“Minnesota is the tenth school we are interviewing women at; this is the last one,” said Playboy photographer David Chan. “We have two crews splitting the interviewing duties. The other group is finishing up at Northwestern (University) right now.”
The issue is slated to come out in October. But for now, women interested in posing can expect a 10 to 15 minute interview where they answer simple questions about themselves and fill out a form to confirm their school status and age.
What about pictures?
“We do take a couple Polaroids of the interviewees,” Chan said.
“The women aren’t naked. They have a bikini or shorts on for the photo. They sometimes will bring in a picture, too.”
“As far as turnout is concerned, we’re in good shape,” Chan said. “It seems the further north you get, the less girls you have. Down south, we don’t have any problems. Once summer comes around, though, things really pick up. It’s also a bit difficult to recruit from schools because most are shy.”
But some believe a low turn-out isn’t a sign of shyness but a sign of self-respect.
Sarah Laemmle, a University student and an active member of the U-YW said she was disappointed to see the ad in The Minnesota Daily. “I think Playboy has become too mainstreamed, and not necessarily viewed as pornography. When it comes down to it, though, the message being conveyed is the same as hardcore porn,” she said.
“Playboy tries to present this as a great thing for women — a resume builder. Women have to think about what Playboy stands for; what is porn used for? Men to masturbate?”
Members of Men Against Rape and Sexism are calling for a public boycott and protest of the Holiday Inn because of their acceptance of Playboy on campus. Other protesters said they aren’t there to make women feel bad; they are there to protest the industry.
Emmanuel Ortiz, a member of the men’s group said, “I encourage anyone who has issues with pornography to get active and speak up. Those not active should study the issue … the pornography industry is sugar-coated and not what it’s cracked up to be. People have to stay informed and involved.”
Protest is nothing new to Chan, though. In fact, he welcomes it.
“Protest doesn’t mean a thing,” Chan said. “It’s really helpful — it gets out our name and encourages others to come out (and pose). Really, it’s beneficial across the board, by promoting their cause and getting our name out, as well.”
And, Chan said, the process will go on as usual.
“In a couple weeks, we will either have them sent to Chicago (where Playboy headquarters is located) or send representatives up here to conduct more extensive interviews. Pay will be determined at a later date.”
Centerfolds can expect a check in the sum of $20,000, with the woman chosen as “Playmate of the Year” commanding in excess of $100,000.
The issue will also command an audience.
While protesters chanted outside the hotel with signs stating “I’m not just a hole,” a table of men across the street made their own proclamation. On a dry-erase board they wrote, “Save the playmates.”
Jon Krueger, a freshman at the University agreed with their point.
“I think the pictures are degrading but fun, because at this stage in my life, I’m at my sexual peak,” he said.