Emory 1994

Over and over again we have discussed Emory as progressive school in terms of acceptance of openness towards sexuality. Since this is partly due to the part of the semester we are in. we have not had the opportunity yet to delve in to topics about Emory towards sexual health. As alluded by my blogger name, I am focusing my research on sexual health with respect to sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS.
This week I my researched pertained to Emory yearbooks in 1994 and 1999. Before even starting my research, the question that kept coming to mind was, “How am going to find anything dealing with sexual health in a yearbook?” Maybe I am the only one to think that sexual health does not seem like the typical subject in a memoir reflecting over the past year of school, but either way. I was wrong. It turns out that in the 1994 yearbook there were several examples dealing with sex and sexuality. In fact, it only took turning to page 3 to discover my first example. The editor of the year expressed a desire to create a plot idea for the yearbook that depicted a homosexual couple, but ultimately refrained for fear of being offensive. The editor goes on to say, “well okay, we’d probably be offensive no matter what we did.” Granted I was young during 1994, but the prevalence of homosexuality in the early 90’s certainly was not as well accepted as is it is today (and we live in a time today that it is still contested). But I feel this serves as a great example of the Emory student body being able to look ahead of the times to come. Who was the editor of the yearbook concerned of offending though? Later on in the same year, the year wrote a feature about a guest speaker named Dr. Ruth Westheimer who is a sex therapist that came to speak at Emory in 1994. Obviously since Emory allowed a person who focuses on dealing with sex, the school was not opposed to having someone come talk about the topic. Later in the same volume, the yearbook staff made a blatant sexual innuendo about a girl who was wearing a hat which read “COCKS” which is a common reference to the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. This shows yearbook staff was not concerned about making such references. So who exactly was the concern because surely there must have been enough of a homosexual representation at Emory during this time that making a statement then retracting it must have been thought to be okay on some level.
Plot Summary for 1994 Yearbook
Dr. Ruth
Dr. Ruth ArticleSo about that hat....

One thought on “Emory 1994

  1. Team STI: great use of your archival findings! Please remember to caption your photos with publication, year, and date if it is provided. This is possible in Notability.
    I agree that the invitation to Dr. Ruth in the 90’s indicates that Emory (at least the student body) was interested in overt discussions of sex. I wonder if Emory’s involvement with so much research on HIV/AIDS had anything to do with it? As for the reference to a gay male (I think?) relationship and how that might be offensive, I wonder if that has anything to do with the hullabaloo when two undergraduate men kissed in a common space in one of Emory’s dorm and were harassed and threatened? This is what led to the creation of the Office of Lesbian and Gay Life in 1991.

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