Porn editor tries hand at politics
July 16, 1999
Politics just got a little sexier in the city of Newton.
Brenda Loew, the publisher of a soft-porn magazine and Web site, is running for School Committee.
Loew, 48, is the founder of EIDOS (Everyone is Doing Outrageous Sex), a quarterly publication she describes as ''coffee table-ish,'' which features nude and semi-nude men and women in various stages of erotic activity.
A check of the EIDOS Web site revealed an article entitled ''Earth-Mother: The Age-Old Eroticism of the Full-Figured Woman,'' and the winter issue heralded a story called ''Having My Son-In-Law's Baby.'' The site also led to other more sexually explicit Web pages.
Although her career choice has sent twitters through some Newton circles, Loew insists she is a serious candidate with stellar credentials who will bring thoughtful debate to the race.
''Would people be happier if I were a lawyer or a doctor or a stay-at-home housewife?'' Loew said yesterday. ''I enjoy and am good at what I do. Any American who can has the right to run for elected office. I don't think it has any bearing at all if I were a doctor. I wouldn't be practicing on the student body. I'm bringing education, perspective and my beliefs to the table, not my product.''
A third-generation Bostonian and former English teacher, Loew founded EIDOS in 1984 to help her ''spread the message that sexual freedom - the freedom to choose in all areas of eroto-sexual life and lifestyle - is a fundamental human right.''
The buzz around Newton is a nervous one.
On the one hand, her resume is the type you'd take home to mother: She is a graduate of Boston University and holds a master of arts degree from Brown University. A longtime Newton resident and a divorcee, she is the great-niece of theater chain magnate E.M. Loew.
On the other hand, she has also received the Golden Phallus Award, a porn industry honor, and has appeared on Sally Jessy Raphael's TV talk show with biracial wife swappers.
City officials will only politely say they don't know Loew or her publication well enough to comment. Mayor David Cohen would only say he is supporting Susie Heyman, the incumbent for the Ward 5 seat Loew is running for.
Heyman said she would be happy to debate her opponent ''on issues having to do with public education. Otherwise, I have no comment.''
Which is just fine with Loew. She said she has no interest in making sex a campaign issue (unless sex education comes up, which she favors). She is more interested in how parents feel about the MCAS than S&M.
Loew said she felt the time was right for her to run for political office, since her two children are grown and her business is humming successfully along. She said she chose the School Committee in part because of her background as an educator in the Dartmouth public schools, and because her children went through Newton schools, and she is a graduate of Newton South High School.
She also was attracted to the job by one of dozens of fliers put up on telephone poles and fences across the city pleading for candidates to challenge the incumbent board in this fall's election.
The plea was put out by local political gadfly Brian Camenker and his civic group Stand Up Newton. Camenker is known in the city as being an outspoken conservative. He formed Stand Up Newton to fight an ordinance that would allow the partners of gay city employees to share their employment benefits.
Camenker also has been a critic of the school system's extensive sex education courses and what he calls its ''liberal'' teachings on homosexuality.
Although he had spoken to Loew after she responded to his fliers, he did not know what she did for a living, he said - until yesterday. And he was a bit surprised.
''If what you are saying is true, I guess we are probably political opposites, but we don't support anyone. That's up to the voter to decide,'' he said. ''I guess when you put fliers out all over the city, you have to expect ... who knows.''
This story ran on page B01 of the Boston Globe