Playboy announced that it will return to publishing shots of naked women after it banned full nudity in 2015.
It turns of that nixing the nudes didn’t exactly have the best results for the 63-year-old publication.
So, Playboy Enterprises – now operated by Hugh Hefner’s 25-year-old son Cooper Heffner as Chief Creative Officer – is back to baring it all for its March/April 2017 issue.
In his letter from the editor, Cooper announced the adoption of “The New Playboy Philosophy,” reminding readers of the brand’s history as a groundbreaking cultural force and “the magazine’s unapologetic portrayal of nudity and its revolutionary approach to sex.”
On his Twitter account, he called the nudity ban a big mistake.
“Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn’t a problem,” Cooper Hefner wrote. “Today we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are.” The publication initially decided to stop from publishing naked women in response to pressure from the Internet in an era when porn is more accessible and available than ever (it’s all just a few curious clicks away, after all). The decision was made under the regime of Playboy Enterprises CEO Scott Flanders, who left the company last May to run eHealth Inc., a health insurance exchange.
If the goal is to neutralize nudity is front and centre of its return to the pages of the publication, then the reversal would mark a step forward. But, we’re talking about Playboy here. While it’s admittedly less objectifying of women than the likes of Penthouse (some would argue it’s even artistic), we know that their goals as a publisher that needs to sell magazines is to find a new, palatable way to sell sexualized nudity. Meaning, the publication isn’t exactly making a public service announcement that nudity is not sexual.
Playboy celebrated the reversal of its “no nudes” policy on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #NakedIsNormal.
If the publication wanted to be super groundbreaking, however, they may want to consider things like the addiction of fuller figure females (they’re in Sports Illustrated now, after all) and perhaps even transgendered models. On the plus side, in September, the publication gained praised for featuring a woman in a hijab for the first time.
Of course, the challenge of Cooper – who replaced his 90-year-old father as Playboy’s chief creative officer last summer – isn’t going to be in retaining the original readers of the publication. It’s appealing to the younger demographic of readers who are practically desensitized to nudity thanks to growing up in a digitally saturated era.
The upcoming issue will feature several pictorial spreads of naked women like Miss March, Elizabeth Elam and Miss April, Nina Daniele. For those who claim to read the magazine for the articles, the issue will also feature an interview with Scarlett Johansson and pieces on CNN host Van Jones and on actor Adam Scott.
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