“USC’s Topless Professor” – from my Village Voice archives

Those interested in exhibitionism might want to check out an old Village Voice column I wrote called “USC’s Topless Professor.” I love that the Voice let me run the topless photos on their website. Yes, I miss writing that column very much but am proud of what I did with it.

Blaine had no intention of showing her tits to the over 100,000 people who’ve viewed them, but now that they’re public, she’s keeping the photos up to make a statement. “The fact that I can embrace my unmutilated breasts, and eroticize and enjoy them, is an act of resistance against patriarchy. That’s something I’ve achieved; it wasn’t handed to me and has taken a lot of work,” she says. Fittingly, Blaine’s at work on a book called Why I Won’t Get Breast Implants But You Might Want To.

USC has thus far stayed out of the fray, and the untenured Blaine does not expect to hear from the school. According to its website, “The University will not be held responsible for the content of personal Web pages. Personal Web pages shall not imply that they are representing or speaking on behalf of the University.” Perhaps Blaine will fare better than other women in similar positions, among them a Chicago Cubs ball girl fired after posing for Playboy and Marcie Betts, a corrections officer canned for baring all on alt-porn site Burning Angel prior to her employment (though Betts later won a legal ruling requiring her reinstatement with restitution of full pay and benefits).

Blaine argues vociferously in favor of her right to a public online life. “My website is not a professional venue of mine; it’s not linked to my teaching at USC. I’ve never assigned my site to students. I’ve never told them to go look and find images of me. It’s not been brought into my teaching at all,” she states. Fifty-one students who filled out surveys about Blaine’s teaching gave her high marks in all areas, offering praise such as “Blaine is without a doubt the most exhilarating whirlwind of feminist, socially conscious thinking I have experienced thus far at this institution.”

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