Campus porn: T amp; A and your RA

by Beacon Staff • December 5, 2007

. "That's why when I was a dancer I got more men at my stage when I wore a business suit than anything else. When I did my striptease, they were seeing something, even a bra strap that they weren't supposed to be seeing and that is the thrill. I think for Emerson to have a porn mag would just make the school look like it's trying to be trendy, instead of being real, which is what I loved about Emerson."

The shedding of clothes is not an unusual thing for a college campus, and there seems to be no hesitation to do so in front of a camera, according to H Bomb staff member Christina Xu.

"There are quite a large number of nudists and other enlightened beings on campus who don't see anything wrong with some fabric-free photography," said the junior history of science major at Harvard in an e-mail interview with The Beacon. "Besides, we offer our models a wide range of options in terms of both confidentiality and risqueacute;-level, so we have a model demographic to match."

The H Bomb has a range of images in its pages going from subtle butt crack to full frontal.

Boink, founded and run by a BU student but never recognized by the administration, is the largest of the academic porn periodicals. Boink, first released in the spring of 2005, also touts a book deal in May to publish a full-length version with Time Warner. Editors are also in talks to turn it into a television series, according to a press release.

However, they originally did not have that type of rousing acceptance, according to Boink's spokes person Christopher Anderson.

"There were some people including the BU administration and many parents who were very much against it and thought it disgraced the university," Anderson said in an e-mail to The Beacon. "But there was also a good deal of support among the student body and several faculty members were also supportive."

Anderson said that the Boston community reacted negatively to the idea of a student-run smut magazine. The printing was moved to Canada because no presses they contacted were willing to take their business, events they sponsored were raided by the Boston Police Department and the BU bookstore, a Barnes and Noble, refused to stock the magazine.

Despite the resistance, Boink has produced five issues since its launch and has a line of students eager to take their clothes off. BU senior Margot Lane Strasburger got naked for the fourth issue of Boink and would do so again.

"I decided to pose for Boink because I didn't think that I would ever get the chance to do something like that in my life in that safe medium ever again," the anthropology and French literature major said in an e-mail interview with The Beacon. "I didn't receive any first-hand reactions to my posing in Boink. However, I did get a job on campus later after having posed. My boss told me that apparently the dean of the program knew about my 'publication.'"

However, these revamped versions of the Playboy Co-Ed edition are not spread-eagled pinups but rather erotic stories accompanied by photos where nipples are abundant and faces are not. The concept of nudity without explicit in-crotch shots was what Bryn Mawr senior JiaJia Fei was looking for when she established The Virgin Mawrtyr in September of last year.

"I started the publication because I sensed a lack in open discourse about sex on campus," the history of art and philosophy major said in an e-mail to The Beacon. "Especially as a women's college, we're typically brushed off as an asexual or lesbian college, and the experience of actually attending my school and the discourses I witnessed certainly did not match the projection itself."

The Virgin Mawrtyr and The H Bomb did pass through their college's administration before they were allowed to go forward as sponsored publications. However, The H Bomb lost its school funding because of a lapse in leadership when the founders graduated. Martabel Wasserman took charge this year after one of the founding members contacted her and asked her to. The Harvard sophomore had no reservations in becoming the new editor in chief despite the administration's concerns.

"There were concerns about safety issues and the implications of working on an erotic magazine for our future," she said. "Everyone who is an alumni has a great job and in part that can be attribute to working on The H Bomb."

Some Emerson students feel as though the addition of an erotic magazine would be an engrossing addition for the school.

Sophomore Sarah McTeague did not initially believe that an Ivy League college had a sex-based magazine. She picked up one of their issues and realized that it was not completel

y explicit and thought that it would fit in with the Emerson community.

"It would have to be like SuicideGirls. I think we're free enough thinkers that it would work," the broadcast journalism major said. "And we would have to come up with a cool name. Boink's taken already."

Emerson freshman Lily Kaytmaz was one student who realized that there might be some offended parties in the aftermath of a hypothetical Emerson smut show.

However, in some cases the curiosity as to what the twisted creative mind of liberal arts students could come up with might win out over the possibility of causing offense.

"I think that one issue would be whether the porn magazine is focused more on men or women," Kaytmaz said. "Or, because we do have a lot of people who are homosexuals, would it be gay porn?"

Kelly Smith, Beacon correspondent, contributed to this article.