Playboy trades trashy nudes for sophisticated content to appeal to its audience of modern gentlemen

Eleanor Fishbourne

Playboy Magazine has recently released its decision to get rid of full nudity both in the magazine and on the magazine’s covers.

This decision was arguably a result of today’s progressively liberal and feminist society no longer just putting up with the objectification of women. Either way, with the magazine’s readership constantly dropping, founder Hugh Hefner and the executives at Playboy decided it was time to make some big changes.

Playboy’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to a record low of 800,000 according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Magazines with similar content such as Penthouse tried to combat the drop in readership by making the issues more raunchy and subsequently have never recovered.

Playboy has said that its targeted audience is working men in cities. However, with trashy nudes littered throughout its pages, Playboy realized it would have trouble reaching out to the modern classy gentleman.

Nowadays any horny teenager with an internet connection can find the kind of nudity Playboy was supplying and much more. With the kind of easy access to pornography today’s youth has, Playboy has lost its novelty and shock-factor. Also, people are finally starting to realize how horrifically creepy it is that an 89-year-old man is running a glorified brothel.

Seriously, Hefner, the founder and face of Playboy Magazine, is 89-years-old and is married to a 29-year-old model. You would think he was some magical amazing man sent from god with all of these young, attractive wives in tow, but that is clearly not the case. Recently one of his ex-wives, Holly Madison, has spoken out revealing that Hefner was manipulative and forced her to do things she was not comfortable with.

Madison has written “Down The Rabbit Hole,” a book detailing life in the Playboy Mansion and how being Hefner’s number one girlfriend is not as glamorous as it seems. She even wrote about considering suicide while living in the mansion and feeling like Hefner never truly cared about her.

Perhaps with Madison’s expose becoming a national hit, Playboy executives are trying to make up for their founders misogyny. Currently Hefner only owns about 30 percent of Playboy Magazine, but still the two will never be disassociated.  

Crystal Hefner (formerly Harris), Hugh Hefner’s current wife, has also tried to defend his blatantly disgusting behavior. She recently released statements saying how much she loves Hefner and asked people not to judge a book by its cover, stating “the majority of haters blindly criticize and have never met us.” These sage words of wisdom are definitely inspiring, but I think on this one occasion I will judge the book by its perverted, misogynistic cover.

With the elimination of nudity, Playboy has adopted the idea that “classy, not trashy” is the way of the future. Though critics such as journalist Charlotte Proudman of The Guardian says this is not necessarily a positive thing for feminism. She explains that this just proves that pornography and the objectification of women has completely saturated modern society and that the world has become desensitized to it.

In current society women should be empowered to pursue whatever career they want and sexual freedom for females is something to be celebrated. This change for Playboy seems like a positive to me. Playboy is such a well known institution and according to their own research it has one of the most recognizable logos in the world today, giving it a large platform and influence. With this change in content hopefully other magazines will follow and people will realize that women can be sexual but can also be respected.

Playboy Magazine will still feature women in suggestive poses, but instead of resorting to nudity to sell copies, the magazine is going to focus more on publishing investigative journalism and interesting pieces from contributing writers. Instead of hiding an issue of Playboy under their beds, people will be able to better access the magazine, as all images are going to be PG-13. The battle for women’s sexual freedom has been fought and won and now it is time to class it up in order to increase the magazines respectability and revenue. The next step is to excommunicate Hefner, then you’re really talking.