Health and Safety Concerns for ACC Coeds
Being Targeted for Commercial Sex Pictorials

Health and Safety Concerns for Coeds Being Targeted for Commercial Sex PictorialsAs an American, you have the right to choose your destiny. We respect your right, your freedom to choose; we do not agree with your decision to participate in Playboy's pictorials of women of various university campuses. However, we are concerned about your personal safety. Harassment from "adoring crowds" is quite common for Playmates and Centerfolds.
     This flier outlines some tips for protecting yourself once you've "gone public". We wish you luck in the future you have chosen, but more importantly, we wish you good health and safe days always.

You have just changed your life. You are "famous". Your parents, brother, coworkers, boyfriend, stepfather, uncle, classmates, waiter, store clerk and even the 12-year-old boy-next-door will see your commercial public nude display. And unfortunately, so will some of the unstable, troubled and criminal male community.

Protect yourself against harassment. Some boys and men can't differentiate between the "come hither" picture of you and the real you. They think that just because "you want them" in the photo means you want them in real life. Play it safe: use your first name only or a false name in your photos. Ask that your real name not be published with your photo.

Change your email address. Today's savvy electronic communicator can find your home address and phone number -- even a map to your residence -- with a few simple clicks of a mouse. Many women receive harassing email. A commercial nude photo invites even more.

Don't publish your home phone number or address anywhere. Switch to an unlisted number.

Be careful. Practice smart safety. Avoid traveling dark streets alone. If you're followed, go to a well-lighted, populated restaurant or building. Don't walk near high shrubbery or walls that can hide an attacker. Never get in a stranger's car. Don't accept help from a stranger -- even if he seems nice or berates you for not thinking he's a nice guy. Follow your gut instincts when they tell you a person or situation isn't right -- get away immediately. Even if it's a male you know, his perception of you may now be altered. Unfortunately, when you sell your sexualized image commercially, some men think the $5 they paid for the issue gives them the right to demand sexual access from you in real life ... not just on the printed page. For many consumers of pornography your photograph is a masturbatory crutch. It's not just a picture of sexual access, it's an experience ... with you.

The human female form is beautiful. But this commercial display is not about beauty. Be prepared for a photo shoot that is not a neutral affirmation of your body, but rather a sexual depiction of your body, and so, of you. You will be posed, not in an artistic celebration of the female form, but with an orgasmic expression. You may be masturbating. You may be sucking something suggestively. The pose is a sexual come-on.

Second thoughts or anxiety about your decision to model naked is an appropriate response. Don't let others push or coerce you into going through with something your gut instincts are telling you isn't right for you. It's okay to change your mind even if you're at the photo session. It's not really about being liberated or being a "sex- positive liberal". That's just propaganda of the commercial sex industry.

Do not take alcohol or drugs to cope with your ambivalence or anxiety. You will only impair your judgment and become more vulnerable to manipulative techniques. In governmental hearings former Playboy and Penthouse models have testified about the repeated use of drugs and alcohol to disinhibit models before, during and after photo sessions.

Read the release form! Especially read the fine print. "Model" contracts are not written with YOUR interest in mind; they benefit the photographer and the publisher. You may be signing over all your rights forever. When you sign, Playboy may use your photos anytime. You can't stop it. And they may choose to sell your photos to harder core pornographic publications, or mainstream publications like People, etc. They may also re-release your pictures at times in your life when you are not a college student, when it could be an embarrassment for you; for instance, when you run for a public office, or receive public recognition for a career accomplishment, or even win a Nobel prize for pioneering a lifesaving drug, or take over as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Are there any guarantees your photo won't "pop up" somewhere else? Remember, Playboy will snap hundreds of pictures. The single "tasteful" representation in Playboy is not what they may sell to hard-core porn magazines, pornographic email sites, video producers and "adult book" stores.

Practice good stress management. Be prepared for people to have an opinion -- sometimes strong opinions. Know why you chose this and how you want to explain it ... to your date, to the person interviewing you for that fabulous job, to your friends. Don't get trapped into defensively promoting Playboy or other pornographic magazines. They have their own well-financed advertising campaigns!

This will be "on your resume" for the rest of your life, but it generally doesn't lead to bigger and better things; a Hollywood career, a great job in business, a modeling contract. In actuality, most starlets and Hollywood hopefuls have found a centerfold gig is a nearly insurmountable obstacle to real success because you're constantly having to prove yourself over and over again beyond the ability to just pose naked as a masturbatory icon.

Call your local Rape Crisis Line for tips on handling dangerous situations or harassment and decreasing the risk of sexual aggression or date rape.

Take some responsibility! Unfortunately, this isn't just a decision about your body.
By being officially and publicly devalued by the commercial sex industry you play into a socio-cultural climate that may increase the risk of harm for all women.

Originally published by:

Campus Committee
for Education Not Exploitation,
ACC Women and Men for Social Justice,
Spring, 1998