Many strict social conservative readers might be dismayed to discover that I am a longtime subscriber of Playboy magazine. Like many young men, I sneaked a peak at a Playboy in my uncle’s art studio as a pre-teen and discovered that the nude pictorials were not really risqué, but actually quite artful.
When I turned 18, I obtained a subscription and have been a subscriber ever since. I would glance at the nude pictorials, but in all actual honesty, I spent the bulk of my time with each magazine pouring-over the articles.
I would assert to any who raised an eyebrow that I read it for the articles- a cliché that in my case, was absolutely true. Of course I would look at the nude pictorials; I’m a red-blooded American man, after all. However, Playboy was for me (and for many others, I suspect) never “pornography”; it was interesting reading that also celebrated the beautiful female form in a respectful, tactful and dignified way.
Now, all of that is gone. Playboy has announced that for some strange reason, they will soon no longer offer nude pictorials.
Good serializations and interesting exposés served as a tenuous counter-balance to the increasingly-liberal agenda that appeared in the magazine over the years.
The magazine that once boasted of being “entertainment for men” has struggled in recent years and in their desperation, they betrayed their roots; they tried to cultivate female readership and in doing so, they did two things poorly instead of one thing well.
The advocacy for the “high-class male” gave way to trivial whinings by beta males and the magazine lost its luster.
Still, I subscribed out of a sense of loyalty or perhaps a sense of nostalgia. My garage is filled with hundreds-upon-hundreds of old playboys from the ‘50’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s and it felt somehow wrong to turn my back on the magazine that had become every bit a part of America as Coca-Cola.
But now, I must say goodbye as it has been Playboy that has turned its back on me.
Playboy Enterprises, Inc., announced today that, following last summer’s highly successful relaunch of Playboy.com as a safe-for-work site, it is taking the next step in its brand evolution by making transformative changes to its flagship property, Playboy magazine.
Playboy’s editorial team is in the midst of a top-to-bottom redesign that will be unveiled with the magazine’s March 2016 issue. The reimagined Playboy magazine will include a completely modern editorial and design approach, and, for the first time in its history, will no longer feature nudity in its pages. Playboy will continue to publish sexy, seductive pictorials of the world’s most beautiful women, including its iconic Playmates, all shot by some of today’s most renowned photographers. The magazine will also remain committed to its award-winning mix of long-form journalism, interviews and fiction.
“The political and sexual climate of 1953, the year Hugh Hefner introduced Playboy to the world, bears almost no resemblance to today,” said Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders. “We are more free to express ourselves politically, sexually and culturally today, and that’s in large part thanks to Hef’s heroic mission to expand those freedoms. We will stay true to those core values with this new vision of Playboy’s future. Once our readers see all of the innovative changes we’re making to the magazine, we’re confident they will love the end product when it debuts next year.”
Predictably, the internet is abuzz with jokes about men reading the magazine for the articles.
However, the transition is more than a simple shift in perspective; it’s the death throes of the fading magazine.
I understand that this market is not the same market of 1953. Times change and so do tastes; but while I risk the danger of sounding crass, someone should remind Playboy that beautiful naked ladies never go out of style. If there is a problem with revenue, the naked ladies just simply isn’t it.
Seldom do we see this nonsensical Hail-Mary in the business world. When Lipton Teas have a tough quarter, they don’t say, “Screw this tea stuff. Let’s stop making teas and make cola and try and compete with Coca-Cola and Pepsi!”
Playboy enjoyed nearly 100% of the market share of magazines with tasteful nude pictorials. For those wanting pornography, there were other choices. For those wanting a classy magazine with tasteful nude pictorials, there was only Playboy.
By devolving into simply just another men’s magazine, they will wade-into the bloated arena of men’s magazines populated with Maxim and Men’s Health.
Playboy’s self-inflicted wound is the latest tragedy for men. As we remain under siege by today’s virulent breed of third-wave “feminism” and as anything uniquely masculine is attacked as being a symbol of misogyny or the fictitious “rape culture,” men are having fewer and fewer venues of entertainment that can be just simply for men.
So, after a long relationship, I say, “Goodbye, Playboy. You are a disappointment.”