Well, there’s just no easy way to tell all you fine gentlemen this, so I’ll simply give it to you straight. Playboy is planning to stop printing pictures of ladies in all their naked gloriousness. I know, it’s the end of an era. But, honestly, if you think about it, you didn’t really need Playboy to see naked women any more, did you?
The announcement came yesterday via The New York Times, and the Playboy website wrote about it this morning. After some, obviously, careful consideration, Cory Jones, chief content officer at the magazine, spoke to Playboy creator and institutional naked lady icon Hugh Hefner and the final decision was made.
The magazine is planning on a more modern design that will be “more accessible” and “more intimate.” Playboy is looking to create images that are less highly produced that have a more toned down feel. The overall look is intended to be more PG-13 and a lot more like the naughtier photos you could see on Instagram. The property is also planning a sex column by a “sex-positive female,” possibly hoping to distance themselves from the idea that the magazine has an old-fashioned and sexist view of women’s worth. The editors stress that there will still be a Playmate of the Month, but haven’t said whether or not a centerfold will continue to be a part of their monthly plan. The changes will take effect with the March 2016 issue.
The first issue of Playboy, which came out in 1953 and featured Marilyn Monroe on the cover, set off a cultural turning point that began to legitimatize nudity and even straight ahead porn for the American public. Many competitors followed, most closely by Penthouse, which tried to take the dawn of the internet nudie age in stride by going even more hardcore, and failed as a result.
Playboy's decision comes after the magazine has seen its sales numbers drop significantly over the past few decades. The circulation was at its high point in 1975, where it peaked at 5.6 million, and has dwindled to about 800,000 currently. The very revolution that the magazine set off in the early 1950s seems to have doomed the all-naked-all-the-time policy to unnecessariness. Playboy has already made some content safe for work so their images could be included on popular social media sites. And, in August of 2014, they dispensed with nudity on their own website.
I happen to be a woman who doesn’t have any problem with Playboy being all about ladies and their nether regions and whatever else it is that they show. As long as everyone is 18 or older and no one has been coerced or tricked into posing, what can anyone do about it?
On an even more personal note, I remember being at home as a 12-year-old, with no adult supervision, and sneaking my dad’s copy with my best friend Danielle. We were looking for two things: to see what the big deal was, and to see how we were supposed to turn out. Danielle was a tiny little thing, even for a pre-teen, and I was, well, a bit of a chunky lass. We both looked at the pictures and said, “well, that’s not gonna happen,” and that was it. But, if some little girl somewhere saw the images in Playboy as yet another reason why they weren’t worthy, I can easily say good riddance. And, if this decision to change the magazine proves to be a good one, it seems like the men of America won’t miss it either.
Is Playboy making the right call?