Rethinking Playboy

Playboy’s decision to publish non-nude pictorials and focus on written content in future issues might actually be a genius decision.

Hefner seeks to bring the element of class back to his empire and restore his publication to it’s rightful place as the leader of the Men’s Magazine genre.

After announcing plans for a complete renovation of it’s print edition, Playboy Enterprises has come under scrutiny from fans and publishing industry experts alike for its decision to stop publishing nude images starting in 2016.

Playboy’s circulation has dropped from 5.6 million in 1975 to about 800,000 now, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. Many of the magazines that followed it have disappeared. Though detailed figures are not kept for adult magazines, many of those that remain exist in severely diminished form, available mostly in specialist stores. Penthouse, perhaps the most famous Playboy competitor, responded to the threat from digital pornography by turning even more explicit. It never recovered.

—Ravi Somaiya, The New York Times.

Critics of Playboy’s decision have stated that the magazine’s entire identity is based on the fact that it was the first to publish nudity upon it’s first publication in 1953, and therefore would be nothing without it. This may very well be true for some “readers” of Playboy, but for other individuals such as myself who enjoy reading magazines and blogs with in depth details on various topics, consider Hugh Hefner’s first editor’s letter in which he writes:

If you’re a man between the ages of 18 and 80, Playboy is meant for you. We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph, and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex … ”

There are many men including myself, that enjoy in-depth discussions on such topics and it’s been that way since the dawn of time.

In It’s early days, Playboy was a magazine where every topic imaginable ranging from politics, Philosophy, current events, Sports, (and yes, even sexuality), were discussed and analyzed in an intelligent manner. Some of our greatest leaders and historical figures such as Martin Luther King Jr, John Lennon, Mohammad Ali, among several others, have been featured in the world famous Playboy Interview. Several Influential Fiction authors such as Ian Fleming, Ray Bradbury, and James Elroy have all published various works of short and/or serialized fiction within the pages of Playboy as well.

The idea that a publication with such variety and depth even exists, is mind-boggling to me. Even more mind-boggling is the discovery that my own mother used to have a subscription back when the magazine was still actually a magazine.

From what I’ve gathered, the magazine completely turned into a smut rag sometime in the early 90s to try and compete with more explicit magazines such as Hustler and yet, the readership of playboy started to delicine rapidly and got even worse as access to even more explicit pornogrophy via the Internet became available.

A comeback on the horizon.

In early 2014, Playboy relaunched it’s entire web-based experience by making a more safe for work environment. When I heard this change had occurred, I was very skeptical at first, but was amazed by what I discovered. The website itself looks flawless on both desktop and mobile devices. The great content I’d heard so much about appears to be alive and well, and there’s just enough sensuality to be provocative without making me want to take a shower. The website looks great, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the magazine itself turns out.