Playboy Is Naked Again And It Is Awesome

Playboy is back to peddling nudes.

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Playboy has announced its 63-year-old magazine will return to publishing naked women.
In 2015, the magazine, faced with competition from the internet where anything goes when it comes to sex, stopped running images of unclothed young ladies.
By all accounts, including my own, the results were terrible.
Now, Playboy Enterprises is back in the skin game with its March/April 2017 issue.
I took the liberty of downloading a copy.
Here’s why I like it.

This isn’t Hugh Hefner’s Playboy — It’s Cooper Hefner’s

The masthead makes it clear: Hef’s 25-year-old son Cooper sits at the top of the masthead. His title: Chief Creative Officer. In his letter from the editor, he heralds the dawn of “The New Playboy Philosophy.” Noting the brand’s history and “the magazine’s unapologetic portrayal of nudity and its revolutionary approach to sex,” he underscores its real appeal as a cultural ground-breaker, “namely the brand’s tradition of tenaciously advocating for civil liberties and freedom of expression.” Today, he notes, “our hard won victories are in peril.” Taking a hard swipe at President Donald Trump, he calls for a counter to the rise of neo-conservatism and “politicians [who] seem comfortable jeopardizing the rights of specific groups in the belief that it will ‘make America great again.'”

Playboy goes nude again in a bid for a new generation of readers. (Courtesy of Playboy).

The girls are more than alright

In an accompanying tweet Cooper posted today, he deemed the removal of nudity from the magazine a misstep. “I’ll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake,” the message reads. “Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn’t a problem. Today we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are.” Years ago, I visited a Playboy shoot. As I watched, a naked young woman lolled about on the bed, smooshing her boobs together with her arms and pointing her toes like a retro pinup from a bygone era. Today, Hef is 90, and the new Playboy is decidedly contemporary. The cover features March Playmate Elizabeth Elam looking natural, the cover headline reads “Naked Is Normal,” and the Playboy Interview isn’t with a modern-day Norman Mailer but Scarlett Johansson, the top-grossing actor of 2016, who pulled in $1.2 billion in global ticket sales. The other nude layouts throughout the magazine are somewhere between classy and, well, sweet. Gone is the greased up and surgically enhanced Playmate of yesteryear. This is the 21st century feminist next door.

It’s risque, not raunchy

Be forewarned: Playboy has brought back nudity, but it’s not even close to graphic. The nude photos feature breasts and buttocks — that’s it. No one’s going to confuse this publication with Penthouse or Hustler. Playboy and Co. know if readers want something more explicit, they know exactly where they can find it: on the internet. As a consequence, Cooper’s business strategy with his Playboy is that he isn’t trying to compete. He’s aiming to own a very specific space, one his father created, with a cool mix of politics, sex, and anti-establishment attitude. This issue isn’t just about the skin: There’s a profile of political commentator Van Jones, a “His-and-Her Guide to Modern Condoms,” and a consideration of VR porn. That is, if you like that sort of thing. With this new version of Playboy, some folks may actually read it just for the articles. And the magazine’s cover will no longer read “Entertainment for Men.” Playboy’s coming for a woman’s wallet, too.

Susannah Breslin, Forbes.com

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