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The Carletonian

Nude mag may earn CSA funds

<, a student-run nude magazine, has taken a leap closer to its first issue.

After a 45-minute debate on Jan. 22, the CSA Budget Committee endorsed Skin Deep’s request for close to $3,000 for printing.

If approved by the CSA Senate, the sum will allow Skin Deep to print 500 glossy copies, which students have pre-ordered. Editor-in-chief Mollie Wetherall said she hopes to distribute the magazine to students’ mailboxes in mid February.

“This is something worth bringing to Carleton in good quality,” Committee Member Dang Quang Tran said in defense of the magazine’s high cost.

Committee Member Jennifer Lor asked for more time to consider possible legal ramifications of funding a nude magazine. “We really need to consider whether we can make this decision for the student body,” she said.

“Being naked should be fun”

Senior Mollie Wetherall said she and a group of friends were inspired to start skin deep last fall, after seeing Beloit College’s nude magazine.

She said they hoped to help students feel more comfortable about their bodies.

“Being naked should be fun,” Skin Deep Editor Lily Eisenthal said. “But a lot of people don’t feel that way because of insecurities.”

Eisenthal contributed a series of images of naked students eating food. She photographed three naked women while they ate vanilla cake, Doritos and jelly beans.

“Women have a complicated relationship with food and their bodies,” she said. “I was interested in showing people eating really decadent food and not caring.”

In all, 60 students have posed for Skin Deep, Wetherall said. If printed, the first issue will include more than 80 photos, including closeups of butts and shoulder blades, and portraits of students’ backs inscribed with hurtful words (“Forgettable,” “OK for a dark girl”).

“Seeing how someone turned my body into a work of art was really neat,” said freshman Rae Benjamin, who posed for the magazine.

Tense Photography

When sophomore Jake Woodward got an email about Skin Deep last term, he was taking a course in the religion department called The Sacred Body, which included discussions about how people in different cultures think about the body. Having taken a photography class in high school, he decided to take a series of close-up images, in which bodies appeared as landscapes, unrecognizable as human.

Photographing naked people was a challenge, he said. “I usually get pretty hands-on when I’m  photographing things,” he said. But manipulating naked bodies was hard because he worried about overstepping personal boundaries.

Benjamin said people are surprised when she tells them she posed for Skin Deep.

“People expect people who are comfortable being naked to be super extraverted or overly sexual,” she said. “But that’s not always the case.”

Photographers said many of their models wanted to feel better about their bodies and felt that Skin Deep was a safe space to stretch their boundaries.

Despite Skin Deep’s mission to include all kinds of bodies–large, small, black, white, male and female–
most of the models have been white women, Eisenthal said.

Legal Nightmare?

At the Budget Committee meeting, committee members weighed legal and fiscal concerns. Wetherall was prepared.

Legal problems? Not a chance, she said.

In addition to asking each model to sign a waiver and photo release form, Skin Deep leaders checked each photograph’s metadata to make sure they were taken since the models turned 18, and recorded interviews, in which they asked each model to confirm that they wanted to be featured in the magazine.

Subscribers had to fill out an online request form, in which they agreed, among other things, to keep the magazine in their private posession at the risk of defying Carleton’s Sexual Harassment policy. Wetherall said the magazine’s cost was necessary to produce a high-quality, color magazine.

Although the Budget Committee endorsed Skin Deep’s request for $2,641, it still has to seek final approval from the CSA Senate on Jan. 26. This much funding for a new publication is unprecedented, CSA Treasurer Matt Cotter said. He said most publications get between $100 and $200 per issue. The Lens, which publishes two issues per year, is an exception. It received $7,400 from the CSA this year.

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