I bought this 1979, February issue of Scope in Peter’s Antiques in Swakopmund, Namibia a few years back. They’re not so easy to come by since they stopped publishing in 1996.
Scope is another one of those very mannish historical items of past times that I’m drawn to. It feels like we unpack our current behaviour when looking at these items of times-gone-by except that I feel there are still strong influences at play which we overlook.
They had a sturdy reputation as South Africa’s top selling English magazine but funnily are better remembered as a “titty mag” even though, from a browse through this issue I notice how well put together the content is.
The selection of images represented here are only those which include something to do with the softer-sex, such as the “playmate” and the centre-fold.
There are no nipples and no stars in this 1979 issue, but a surprisingly well populated contents page including categories typical to mens mags: sports, crime, travel, politics, army, cars, sex, etc.
My reference point for the brand had always been more sleazy but this is well researched and well written. I have no doubt it would rival any current issue of GQ for content. Overall it’s pure masculinity for its time and the images in the sexy category are kind of saucy-but-sweet. Advertising content consists of text rich, full page ads for Pall Mall, Lion Lager, Pipers Scotch, Benson & Hedges, Blitz Firelighters, Campari and so on. There are women’s weight loss campaigns, surprisingly, and ads inviting firmer, beautified bust-lines for ladies like the one below.
Scope was a weekly mens mag and became controversial for its content which challenges SA’s strict censorship laws during the apartheid era,- even swimsuit-wearing girls were a bit of a no-go for local print at the time. The “titty” elements are actually very tame, stars or not, but then thats me speaking all the way from 2015.
The models all evoke a kind of sweet, enticing and flirtatious tone. Their bodies remain un”photoshopped”, slender but shapely and individual. The styling of their swimwear invokes a tactual inflection.
My perception of the magazine is much converted after taking the time to page through its contents and do some online research into its editorials. The images included here are the ones which drew me as being the most relevant to its remembered reputation which I now feel is distorted.
The below article appeared in a 1989 issue of Scope magazine, I came across it while doing online research into the publications content. It makes me think that Scope offered South African men, many of which were dealing with social issues at the time, a good and balanced masculine platform for communication. This makes the editorials on women almost seem therapeutic.
Lastly, one offbeat and bizarre advert did catch my eye, the Male Chauvinist Pig Tie, yup.
The MCP tie “an international best seller, is now available in South Africa” at R5,99.
I’m not sure what to think of this.
More on this peek-a-boo tie found online below.