Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things



Tags: ,

In April 1972, Cosmopolitan published a nude centerfold of actor Burt Reynolds, lying on a bearskin rug, grinning at the camera. The layout became a national sensation. Cosmo editor Helen Gurley Brown, who had spent seven years searching for an appropriate famous man to do such a spread, wrote a letter to her readers describing the thousands of copies sold and the newsstands’ that were stampeded over this issue of the magazine. She was not exaggerating. One group of women, who described themselves as “The Girls in the Office” from San Francisco, CA wrote, “We work in a very casual engineering firm. Each month a new Playboy centerfold went up – and our egos, down. But now, because of you, there is a beautiful centerfold of Burt on our section of the wall. It hasn’t done much for the fellows, but for us girls – WOW! Keep them coming; we have much more wall space.” Brown, pleased with the response, explained that though this was a huge victory for women and men, the magazine wouldn’t stop with just one pictorial. The editors were “…quietly thinking about our next victim – I mean subject! If there’s a man you’d particularly like to see nude (famous, dear…that dishy account executive in your office won’t do), I’d appreciate your dropping a postcard to COSMOPOLITAN.”

And so begins my thesis. It has been done for over two weeks, and I still can’t get it entirely out of my head. I look at this picture and yes, there’s a lot of hair and a lot of fur and it’s super-70s and ridiculous. On the other hand, what does it say that for “us girls — WOW!” was the response from women when it was published? Sure, part of the sensation was how rare male-objectification of this kind was at this time. But what would it take now for women to be so moved by an image that they’d literally stampede a newsstand?

Related: If This Is Cosmo’s Definition Of ‘Naughty’, Their Next Cover Had Better Promise ‘Deranged Perverts’ [Jezebel]
A Naked Burt Reynolds Makes DirecTV Pitch [AdFreak]
Lawson Clarke – copywriter

Tags: ,

4 Responses to “Burt”

  1. Blogversary « smart girls stupid things
    on May 4th, 2011
    @ 9:35 am

    […] (Or, for the wise and overloaded in content of you, the RSS feed.) More specifically, today marks the year anniversary of Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things (Trademark pending and all […]

  2. Burt’s Back! « smart girls stupid things
    on May 18th, 2011
    @ 11:43 am

    […] I was working on my BA, I came across Burt Reynolds’ book Hot Line: The Letters I Get… and write!, published […]

  3. A Goodbye « smart girls stupid things
    on Jun 26th, 2012
    @ 10:19 pm

    […] (though I do think she would have been a great subject for The Last Word) was to excerpt a section of my thesis paper, where I couldn’t avoid talking about her even if I tried (even though the topic was hardly […]

  4. What Helen Gurley Brown Taught Me About Hard Work And Looking Good « smart girls stupid things
    on Aug 19th, 2012
    @ 11:25 pm

    […] I’ve stated before, I know a lot about a few things. This piece comes from some of that. Written by: Kate on August […]

Leave a Reply


© 2009 Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things. All Rights Reserved.

This blog is powered by Wordpress and Magatheme by Bryan Helmig.