back to article Playboy drops the butt-naked ladies

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 …

  1. James O'Shea Silver badge

    Playboy still exists?

    Who knew?

    1. malle-herbert Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Playboy still exists?

      Indeed... And it's facing stiff competition from the internet... ;-)

      1. Yugguy

        Re: Playboy still exists?

        Indeed. The competition will be hard but I'm sure they'll have no problem beating it off.

        1. Marketing Hack Silver badge
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Playboy still exists?

          I'm sure that Playboy has enough power left that it can take on its many competitors and at least rub one out :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Playboy still exists?

      Not for much longer!

      Catalogue images strewn through rambling trite and puerile infomercials and smug political pontifications..

      Awesome!

      Maybe they'll manage to shift a copy to Dick Cheney?

  2. Lusty Silver badge

    I think it's a good move

    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 I especially like their quote that the "Internet has made nudity outdated" which I kind of agree with - if you're going to have arty shots of scantily clad women they don't really need to be naked these days as naked is so easy to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?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think it's a good move

      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.

      1. dan1980

        Re: I think it's a good move

        @AC

        "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.

    2. jason 7

      Re: I think it's a good move

      "nudity outdated"

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think it's a good move

        "[...] 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. "

        http://www.definition-of.com/beaver+shot

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I think it's a good move

        I don't think it's the content that changed, jason.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I think it's a good move

      "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.

  3. Big_Ted
    Happy

    Well

    I'm going to bone up on it, just not on an ipad.....

    I'm sure I can rise to the challenge of reading one handed still.

  4. M Bargo
    Meh

    Unfortunately the world also adopted Mr Hefner's preference for skinny blondes with big tits as a definition of what women are supposed to look like.

    Shame on you, Hugh. Shame on you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Speak for yourself.

      I have much lower standards.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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. John Savard Silver badge

        Not only that, but the typical Playboy Playmate was more like the average woman in build - there was even a published study on that; yes, they were certainly healthy and not overweight, but they definitely weren't chosen to be skinny the way fashion models are.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Actually...

      As far as blondes go, that may have been the Mattel Toy Company with something called Barbie. They are STILL apologetic about that.

      I hear Hefner liked blondes but the circulation of Playboy never reached as far as did the sales of Barbie dolls.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It is not Mr Hefner

      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.

  5. damworker

    Thanks for the bootnote

    I was wondering how this story was relevant to an IT/ tech/ science site other than (I'm guessing) a mainly male audience.

    Tenuous? No....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sir Tim Hunt still hasn't got his job back, you know.

    You sexist shites.

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Funny how the images will be saucy Instagram images, not Facebook images which is well known for not allowing young gents to get interested in the internet and stuff !!!

  8. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    So Playboy is going to become another Maxim?

    Not sure if that's good, bad, or indifferent.

  9. Somone Unimportant

    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...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "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.

        1. Mark 85 Silver badge

          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.

        2. Ledswinger Silver badge

          "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.

          1. DiViDeD Silver badge

            @Ledswinger

            "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!

  10. chivo243 Silver badge
    Trollface

    Still Nude here!

    A Colleague here in The Netherlands says the Dutch version will remain the same.

    It doesn't matter to me, I only come for the jokes! You know the ones just after the centerfold?!

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Still Nude here!

      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.

      1. Kamal Hashmi

        Re: Still Nude here!

        plenty of neo-prudes here in the UK as well...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lenna

    Playboy was a bit before my time, but I'd like to thank them for the legacy of Lenna. Who knows what graphics algorithm students would have practiced on without her.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In Japan it's pretty much

    Just a normal entertainment magazine, I think it may have some sealed pages of nudies but most of it's just idol news and stuff.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In Japan it's pretty much

      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.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In Japan it's pretty much

        " 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.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/shunga-erotica-exhibition-defies-pornography-taboos-to-expose-japan-to-its-racy-past-a6689286.html

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: In Japan it's pretty much

          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.

          1. Ledswinger Silver badge

            Re: In Japan it's pretty much

            For a time Playboy Japan carefully airbrushed out any sign of pubic hair, because it was on the 'thou shalt not show' list.

            Time moves on, and now the airbrush artiste finds their skills unwanted, even with PSP....

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: In Japan it's pretty much

            "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.

        2. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: In Japan it's pretty much

          "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"

          What? SEX?.In MANGA??

          Shirley Not!

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: In Japan it's pretty much

            I understand it's called hentai or something like that - but whats that to do with chickens and green tea I don't know

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: In Japan it's pretty much

              I hope you're joking. Anyway, the term is basically Japanese for "pervert". They've also adopted the katakana for the letter H ("ecchi") to describe softcore material.

  13. wolfetone Silver badge
    Trollface

    I'm of an age where I never bought Playboy.

    I used Google images instead.

  14. Mondo the Magnificent
    Devil

    Marketing....

    ..they did so it'd be removed from the top shelf.. thus encouraging a generation of new readers who didn't have the balls to buy any "top shelf" publications... because there was more to Playboy than tits and asses

  15. Bota

    Sort of miffs me

    When going through my vigorous self work out sessions I had to steal Escort, Playboy and others from WHSmith by hiding them in fishing magazines.

    This connected generation doesn't have a clue about the struggle!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. John Savard Silver badge

    IT angle?

    Well, Playboy has a web site, which dropped nudity earlier. So that, not just Lena Sjooblom (actually Lenna, yes, but that's how they spelled her name in the centerfold appearance) qualifies.

  17. CrosscutSaw

    Weak

    Why would they want to compete with stuff like Maxim. This is the beginning of the end for these guys.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Weak

      Actually, according to other articles I've read, readership ballooned when the website went SFW. Not only that, they connected with younger audiences who trended towards social networks like Facebook (who you'll note doesn't want nudity). So it looks like they're onto something.

  18. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Near-nudes in Playboy?

    Well what's the fucking point of that? That market is already served by Maxim and FHM. This will set the art of airbrushing back decades.

    I guess the loon council finally won.

  19. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Joke

    NSFW

    SFW - playboy.com

    NSFW - theregister.co.uk

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No nudes because of the Internet? So now it's upto the Internet to fill that hole.

  21. Avatar of They Silver badge
    WTF?

    What about Europe.

    Does it affect all playboy franchsise? Playboy DE is a very different beast because Germans are not prude Americans (Nice way of saying Germans are a bit mental).

    So will they lose out as well? And then we have playboy Holland in there and there is plaboy France, Slovenia, Brazil. etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What about Europe.

      Last I heard, each country sets its own standards. It's only making news because we're talking the home office here. Also, the decision is less a legal matter and more a matter of taste (namely, we've gone past the Europeans who are comfortable with nudity; now it's too common, so it's no longer a selling point). We're not being prudes. We're just bored.

  22. Yugguy

    Nudity is not erotic

    Nudity isn't generally sexy.

    What you can't, or can't quite, see, can be far more erotic than plain flesh.

    1. ScottAS2

      Re: Nudity is not erotic

      Absolutely. The Theiss titillation theory - named for William Ware Theiss, the costume designer on the original Star Trek - states that the sexiness of a costume is proportionate not to the amount of flesh it shows but to the apparent likelyhood of it falling off. One of the greatest examples of this was a fairly modest dress, but where the top was apparently* held up only by the train thrown over one shoulder.

      *In fact, it was held on by huge amounts of double-sided sticky tape - to the extent that it allegedly took chunks of the actor's skin off during the fitting, and thus she did even the dress rehearsal wearing a bath robe instead.

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