The bunny logo is one of the most recognisable icons in the world, and its’ magazine is known for their interviews, beautiful women and, of course, nudity. It’s Playboy.
For 62 years, Playboy‘s objective has been to champion personal freedom and sexual liberty. The vision set out by creator Hugh Hefner has seen the magazine pioneer its way through times when society was highly conservative by constantly pushing the boundaries; but it’s all about to change.
From March 2016, Playboy will bid full frontal nudity farewell.
The magazine giant has said for decades they have been a friend to nudity and nudity has been a friend to them. For the first time since 1953, photos of completely naked bodies will no longer be featured. We’re currently living in a time where now more than ever before, expressing your sexuality is widely embraced. So the real question is, what made Playboy decide to get rid of the one element that has largely contributed to their reputation?
Well, the answer given by the brand is simply that times have changed. The decision was made when the magazine’s chief content officer, Cory Jones approached Hugh Hefner with the suggestion to stop publishing photos of naked women. Hefner agreed, and just like that, a new era for the bunny empire was founded.
Ms Adrienne Tam, senior writer and producer from News Corp Australia told The Newsroom that Playboy’s decision is “definitely a smart choice and a smart business move”.
“When Playboy was born, the sexual revolution was in its infant stages. Nude centrefolds and semi-nude women were something rarely seen. The fifties was also a time of intellectual curiosity, which Playboy took advantage of,” said Ms Tam.
Playboy‘s chief executive Scott Flanders said, “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free, and so it’s just passé at this juncture.”
In other words: being naked is no longer the big deal it once was.
“Kids today will never know the thrill I had when I found a Playboy in my older brother’s or dad’s secret stash they used to hide in their closet or under the bed. I would take a copy and return it as quick as possible before they noticed a copy was missing. The lengths I would go to, to make sure it didn’t look like I touched anything was actually impressive for a 14-year-old. But nowadays all you have to do is type “naked women” on the net and you have all these pages pop up. I get why they are cutting the nudity out. It’s sad, but the internet has really taken away the excitement Playboy used to have when first you read it,” said father-of-three, James Butler* who grew up during the 1980s.
However, the circulation of the magazine itself has become a growing problem for years, dropping steadily from 5 million in the 1970s to only 800,000 today. In 2014, Playboy relaunched their website as non-nude and noticed that despite the changes, they saw an increase in their online visitors.
“They did away with nude content online about a year ago, and the traffic leaped from four million visitors per month to 16 million. There’s no reason why the print product shouldn’t replicate the website’s success,” said Ms Tam.
But fans, please don’t worry; it may have been decided the clothes will remain on, but Playboy has promised it will still display the models in provocative poses.
Even something as big as Playboy, which has been around for more than half a century, has shown that mega companies will eventually have to compromise what they once thought was essential to remain commercially viable.
“Adapt. Be willing to change. Grow. Sounds clichè, but it is true. Times change and we must change with it, or we become irrelevant. I suppose that’s true of life in general, not just publishing,” said Ms Adrienne Tam.
Whether you support the change or hate it, it’s worthwhile noting some of the world’s most recognisable women have featured on the cover and centrefolds of the magazine. Women such as; Madonna, Kate Moss, Mariah Carey, Naomi Campbell, Dita Von Teese, Latoya Jackson, Kim Kardashian, Drew Barrymore, Pamela Anderson, Elle Macpherson, Sharon Stone, Cindy Crawford, Marilyn Monroe and even Marge Simpson, just to name a few.
– Xantre Macaraeg
*name has been changed for privacy.
Top photo of Playboy’s creator Hugh Hefner surrounded by Playboy bunnies from Hugh Hefner’s Instagram account.