Playboy still exists?
Playboy magazine has announced that as part of redesign due to hit shelves next March, it will no longer feature fully naked women. Instead, readers will be offered "PG-13" images of women, "more like the racier sections of Instagram", as chief content officer Cory Jones put it to the New York Times. The move is part of a …
I've never read Playboy, but if their articles can still justify a print magazine without nudity I may try it out. I especially like their quote that the "Internet has made nudity outdated" which I kind of agree with - if you're going to have arty shots of scantily clad women they don't really need to be naked these days as naked is so easy to get hold of. It's now the whole image that's important and that's often better with some clothing.
The only question remains - do they have good enough articles?
Hard to say, but part of Playboy's salaciousness (apart from the centerfolds) was their pull-no-punches articles. Lately, this has taken a slide, but they agree that this can still be a useful selling point. IOW, they can still be controversial while still be safe for work. After all, magazines like Maxim are still able to attract buyers even though they've always toed the line without crossing it.
Also, due to varying decency standards, nudity is not always an option in their various international editions, so it's not like they wouldn't know how to stay on the right side of the tracks.
"Hard to say, but part of Playboy's salaciousness (apart from the centerfolds) was their pull-no-punches articles."
But, again, as was pointed out with the massive, easy and instant availability of nudity and sexual content of all kinds making nudity 'outdated', I wonder how that same logic gets applied to the 'pull-no-punches' style of the articles.
Surely the Internet has that in spades as well? In a world of print, a publisher willing to 'go there' finds a valuable niche amongst the reams of soft-ball questions and fluff pieces parading as incisive journalism. But in a world with thousands of independent news sites (like this) and indeed a world where anyone and everyone can make their own blog site and interview people, where is this point of difference that adds value to the magazine?
I hope they meet with great success because I have always felt that the Playboy house style helped shake up the industry, whatever you though about the pornographic nature of the modelling. They showed that there was a market for honest, unforgiving and unapologetic treatment of issues and people.
There still is, of course - It's just far more densely populated than it was in the 70s.
I know what they mean. It's like when a current TV show or a mainstream movie puts a 'gratuitous sex scene' in the middle. You are just sat there thinking, "Why are you bothering with this??"
Hit the FFWD button.
It was welcome back in the 70's, 80's and 90's (thank you Helen Mirren and Jenny Agutter) but now, it just ruins the pace of the movie/show.
"[...] a mainstream movie puts a 'gratuitous sex scene' in the middle."
"The interrogation scene with Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct (1992) barely qualifies, but the still (as seen in Playboy's 45 th anniversary issue) does; it's definitely a beaver scene. In the spoof, National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (1993), Destiny Demeanor (Kathy Ireland) the same scene is cut and replaced by a shot of a Stuffed Beaver with the caption GRATUITOUS BEAVER SHOT. "
"Internet has made nudity outdated"
Any naturist will tell you that nudity becomes a boring sight fairly quickly. The human animal is a curious one - they are always intrigued by what is hidden.
D.H.Lawrence wrote a poem on the subject called "Figs" which was included in the film "Women in Love". His point was that fig leaves were not worn for chastity - but to adorn and attract.
The problem nowadays is not that people have become accustomed to nudity. The current trend is a regression to a puritan attitude that outlaws any hint of naked flesh which stokes their own fervid imaginations - irrespective of the subject's sex or age. The result is that people become sexually aroused by what they imagine is hidden - as Salome proved.
Excuse me? If you ever run through a gallery of centerfolds, you'll find it's not dominated by blondes; there are more than your fair share of brunettes and now and then a redhead. Now, white women do tend to dominate, but that's more to do with the historic target audience (white men), and as the 80's wore on you'd start seeing more exotic centerfolds (blacks, hispanics, asians, etc).
And while there are a fair number of well-endowed centerfolds, your typical centerfold's actually pretty average up top with variation either way (either towards firmer or towards bustier).
PS. In case anyone's wondering, Lenna Sjooblom was Playmate of the Month, November 1972. The famed Test Image is taken directly from her centerfold.
1. Hefner had quite a varied taste. It was not just blonds.
2. The nudity was abundant, but not particularly pornographic. There was quite a lot of pretty good photography and an occasional hold no-punches article. Nowhere near Rolling Stone, but still, there was some journalism in-between the t*ts.
3. Playboy went towards big t*ts, full frontal shots, blond wasteland, soft-porn, etc with Ms Hefner (his daughter) at the helm _AFTER_ the old man retired. By the way, the old man has been retired for more than a decade now.
What goes around comes around...
IIRC, Playboy didn't have full nudity of their monthly models until sometime in the early 1970's.
Prior to that, the angles used for camera shots were always such that the more sensitive parts of the models' anatomy were obscured or just out of view.
Don't ask me how I know. The only clue I will give is that when somewhat younger than I am today, a friend and I discovered a stash of these magazine at a local scout hall in their recycling bin. My friend has gone on to become a pre-eminent biologist (hi Matthew!), but I'm not sure that was anything to do with what we saw that day...
Well, it swung in different directions. The initial centerfolds were only topless, with the bottoms either clothed or otherwise obscured. Then from about early 1955 until about 1960 or so, most centerfolds concealed the most salacious of their tops. Things opened up more as the 60's progressed, but the first full frontal wasn't until around 1973.
"Things opened up more as the 60's progressed, but the first full frontal wasn't until around 1973."
"Penthouse" tested the legal waters in England with a full frontal centrefold in 1971/72. "Mayfair" followed suit - and probably "Playboy" wasn't far behind. "Men Only" was launched into the same niche in 1971.
As I recall, Playboy was one of the last to go full frontal (etc.) nudity. Hugh believed something should be left to the imagination (at that time) but gave into marketing pressures. There was joke at that time about "I only read it for the articles" and for many of us, it was true. The articles and cartoons were the big reason for buying it. Plus the "dream of the Playboy lifestyle" of exotic cars, places, and women.
"Penthouse" tested the legal waters in England with a full frontal centrefold in 1971/72. "Mayfair" followed suit - and probably "Playboy" wasn't far behind.
I can remember some epic, teenage eyeball scorching images in "Amateur Photographer" from the 1970s. Some advert for flashguns I think, but the image is still joyously imprinted on my retinas. Thank you, AP of the time. Today it's a dull comic full of black and white dullness.
Mind you, those were the days of desperate schoolboys hoping to find a trucker's discarded jazz mag, and failing that having to resort to the corset pages of the mail order catalogues. Nowadays they probably draw the curtains and watch "The Next Step". Hmmphh. Probably, I wouldn't know anything about that myself.
"the days of desperate schoolboys hoping to find a trucker's discarded jazz mag, and failing that having to resort to the corset pages of the mail order catalogue"
Ah, you went to the wrong school matey. At my school we had Bosse Bengtsson, who could be relied on to bring his summer stash of Color Climax and Rodox mags and 16mm films at the start of each term.
As a result we boys never saw any attraction in Playboy, Penthouse or any of the Great British pretenders.
Of course, it gave us a bizarre idea of what was involved in relationships. Hell, I went round with a vacuum cleaner over my shoulder for years, expecting some scantily clad housewife to offer me a blow job in return for giving her carpets a once over!
German news yesterday also reported that this only affects the US version.
Interestingly, they interviewed a female psychologist and she stated that, here in Germany and large parts of Europe, we have come to terms with our bodies and accept nudity as something natural, whilst the USA is riding on a wave of neo-prudism.
That's because in Japan stuff like Playboy is...a lot more common. They're rather more open about nude and gravure (highly suggestive) modeling, so if you know where to look you can find plenty and more. Even their mainstream anime can often drift towards "fan service", to say nothing of underground media.
" They're rather more open about nude and gravure (highly suggestive) modeling,"
Strangely in Japan they pixelate the genitalia. Even some manga has now been outlawed - presumably following the corrosive pressure from the USA's prudes who see sex everywhere.
The "Shunga" exhibition of historical Japanese erotic art has had difficulty finding a venue in Japan - even though the exhibition was originally curated by the British Museum.
Japan's approach to censorship was to avoid ambiguity by specifying in law exactly what was and was not permissible - a notable contrast to the US definition of obscenity, which was simply a reference to typical community standards. Legally it looks like a better solution because it avoid long legal battles over just what is obscene. A strange side effect though: When you tell porn producers exactly what they are not allowed to show, they get quite creative in finding new things that the authors of the law never imagined.
Throw this in together with a culture that never got the Disney legacy condemning animation as a genre only fit for children, and... Japan. The law may say that genitals must be pixelated, but it doesn't say anything about tentacles!
For a time Playboy Japan carefully airbrushed out any sign of pubic hair, because it was on the 'thou shalt not show' list.
"Japan's approach to censorship was to avoid ambiguity by specifying in law exactly what was and was not permissible - a notable contrast to the US definition of obscenity, which was simply a reference to typical community standards."
And the reference to "community standards" had a lot to do with America's heterogeneity (Japan is contrast is homogeneous so it's easy to set a uniform standard). What was OK in one town was T&A-boo in the next county and so on. And since many of the prudest were thumping their Bibles in so doing, there was no way to reach a national compromise (How can you compromise with, "Don't even think about sex or you're forever damned to the Second Circle of Hell!"?). So the only way to maintain sanity was to just drop it down the line and let them settle things amongst themselves.
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