Grinnell College Students Get Down


Fifth Estate # 73, February 20-March 5, 1969

GRINNELL, Iowa (LNS) Brice Draper is a PR man for Playboy Magazine. He travels around to college campuses, selling the Playboy line and “promoting products for our advertisers.”

When Hefner’s boy Draper came to Grinnell, the local folk engaged him in naked confrontation. Ten students, six of them girls, took off their clothes to protest Playboy’s exploitation of the female body.

“Playboy Magazine is a money-changer in the temple of the body,” began their leaflet.

Draper, who is “manager of college promotion” for the Bunny boys, was invited by Grinnell College to speak as part of a “sex education” lecture series. He had done his thing, and was answering questions from the 100-strong audience, when the disrobing occurred.

Ten students made themselves naked while a male member of the crew strummed “You’ve got to Walk That Lonesome Valley,” on a guitar. They sat on the floor (the whole thing was happening in the lounge of a girls’ dorm), remaining there for a good fifteen minutes. They carried signs reading “Playmeat of the Month,” and “Read Playboy and your penis will grow one inch.”

One girl confronted Draper, asking him to pose nude for a girl photographer. The gentleman declined, saying, “I came here to talk, not to pose nude.” He denied being ashamed of his body, saying, “I look at myself in the mirror every morning.”

When Draper was asked what he thought of the whole thing, he answered with a laugh, “I think you’re pretty swinging.” Which is more than the audience thought of him. Molly Malcolm, an organizer of the action, said that the crowd was “uniformly hostile to Draper,” and was extremely sympathetic to the demonstration.

This is the second time of late that the sanctity of Iowa academe has been violated by nudity. Last October, four students at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon were disciplined for taking off their clothes at a philosophy seminar. At this writing it is not known whether the Grinnell 10 will be punished for their nakedness. Grinnell president Dr. Glenn Leggett said recently that no decision had been reached, but “things to be considered are the motivation behind the protest and the disruptive and exhibitionistic character of it.”

The disrobing was sponsored by local women’s liberation and guerrilla theatre groups. Their message was clearly presented in a statement issued at the speech. “Pretending to appreciate and respect the beauty of the naked human form, Playboy is actually stereotyping the body and commercializing on it. Playboy substitutes fetishism for honest appreciation of the endless variety of human forms.”

“We protest Playboy’s images of lap-dog playthings with idealized proportions and their junior-executive-on-the-way-up possessors. The Playboy bunny is an affront to human sexual dignity.”

Jon Stern, of Scarlet & Black, the Grinnell student newspaper, later quizzed Draper about these accusations.