9/15/10

Sex Sells #19: Playboy in the Yearbook

La Ventana

In 1961, the Texas Tech University yearbook, La Ventana, began the tradition of having a Playboy Magazine feature complete with female students as Playmates and even a full color centerfold!... (although, there was never any nudity)

This practice continued for 20 years, with the last faux Playboy cover appearing in the 1982 edition of La Ventana.

1974a
centerfold from the 1974 yearbook

Several thoughts come to mind…

1. How did parents feel about paying for their daughter to go to college, and find her on the cover of a mock Playboy cover in the yearbook? Perhaps, parents weren’t as uptight as they are now.

2. Why did the practice end? Was there an outcry from the alumni that it was sexist? Or did the yearbook faculty just retire after twenty years of service?

3. What would the public say today of a Playboy insert in a college yearbook? Would there be condemnation or ambivalence?

4. I wonder if the Playboy yearbook segment died because Playboy itself had ceased to be respectable. In other words, Playboy’s image in 1961 was akin to Esquire and GQ. By 1982, however, it became associated more with Hustler and Penthouse. (A faux Huster spread in the Texas Tech yearbook would’ve been interesting.)

1980


Enough with the sociological reflections, let’s check out the covers of the Texas Tech La Ventana from 1961 – 1981, with a few corresponding pages for good measure.

To view all the covers check out the Flickr slideshow. Each cover is labeled with the yearbook date. Remember to click the 4 arrow icon on the lower right to view the images full screen (hit escape to return to Retrospace).


10 comments:

  1. I know of at least one college yearbook that actually featured a woman nude (nude in shadow, breasts exposed). Early 1970s.

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  2. Hmmm. Oddly enough, I believe I know the picture you're talking about.... The 1973 Chanticleer, Duke University, p.200

    Yes, I am omnipotent in all things worthless and odd. Not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of my knowledge - leaning towards ashamed.

    See the picture on my Tumblr blog @

    http://retrospace.tumblr.com/post/309796310/nudity-in-the-yearbook-the-1973-chanticleer-duke

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  3. Dude, you could have hyperlinked that for us lazy types...

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  4. cynic - I could've, but I'm too lazy.

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  5. Actually, I'd like to see all those girls today.

    Bet that would be something.

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  6. No school could ever get away with something like that now! My how times have changed!

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  7. Well then there are two.

    WVU Monticola 1971, pg. 198

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  8. In the 2000s, I went to a small liberal arts/organic farming school that was trapped in the New Agey side of the 70s in certain respects, and had made its odd peace with political correctness. They would have a "farmgirls" callendar in black and white with the "offending" bits strategically covered by farm equipment. However, I think that they did do one with guys too, just to be equal opportunity. I never bought the guys' ones though.

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  9. These days women outnumber men in most Universities, so it's no wonder that the practice stopped. Texas A&M used to reward their players to a night at the Chicken Ranch. Can't do that anymore too.

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  10. OBloodyHellJanuary 13, 2014

    1. How did parents feel about paying for their daughter to go to college, and find her on the cover of a mock Playboy cover in the yearbook? Perhaps, parents weren’t as uptight as they are now.

    Correct. People are FAR more uptight today than they were in the 60s and 70s.

    2. Why did the practice end? Was there an outcry from the alumni that it was sexist? Or did the yearbook faculty just retire after twenty years of service?

    More than likely it was the imposition by feminism of a very negative PC attitude towards the practice.

    3. What would the public say today of a Playboy insert in a college yearbook? Would there be condemnation or ambivalence?

    There would be massive hew and cry. Even though, for many universities, the entire concept of a college yearbook has fallen by the wayside. Though High Schools still produce yearbooks aplenty, many colleges abandoned the practice (or relegated it to a truly minuscule number) even 20 years ago.

    4. I wonder if the Playboy yearbook segment died because Playboy itself had ceased to be respectable. In other words, Playboy’s image in 1961 was akin to Esquire and GQ. By 1982, however, it became associated more with Hustler and Penthouse. (A faux Hustler spread in the Texas Tech yearbook would’ve been interesting.)

    LOL, wrong way around. In 1961 Playboy was certainly "respectable" on some levels, it was still a remarkably risque publication. One of the reasons early PMs appeared more than once in the 50s was because there were very few women willing to pose even for their markedly tame photos of the time. As the 70s progressed, Penthouse, then Hustler kept pushing the boundaries of legality, first with pubic hair, then with "pink", while Playboy resisted, no doubt seeing itself as much more literate and "erotica", rather than the overt "porn" that Penthouse, and even more so Hustler, sought to be. By the 80s, Playboy was much more tame and not particularly "boundary pushing". People literally DID buy it for the reading by then, and it was fairly decent in that respect.

    No, I'd argue that it was a combination of "uptightness" in the parents combined with the lowering interest in the yearbooks themselves, plus the first serious pall of political correctness that killed the practice.

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