Why Playboy’s New “No More Nudes” Change is a Bad Sign For America
Since Hugh Hefner started publishing in the 1950’s Playboy Magazine has featured nude pictures of the worlds most beautiful women. The tradition is ending in March 2016 with a new updated style. There will still be pictures of beautiful women, but no longer fully nude.
In other words, Playboy is moving away from competing with Hustler and Penthouse, which has been getting more and more X-rated porn oriented, while Playboy sticks to tasteful artistic nudity, and has pushed its way into competing with Maxim, Esquire, and GQ which often get “A-list” celebrities to get nearly undressed but leave their “bits” covered.
I am not saying the move doesn’t make financial sense. They probably will get a bigger audience for their magazine, so I’m not actually against it.
What is worth talking about is the reasons behind the move and what it says about today’s society.
Blame the Internet
There are two reasons why this needed to happen, and the first is obvious. If you want to look at naked pictures there are plenty of sources online. The demand for professionally photographed, and perfectly airbrushed nude pictures has pretty much dried up due to online competition.
Playboy.com has taken down their nude picture library, with the accompanying pay-wall, and offered their article archive free, and has seen visits go up four fold.
For now, at least, that is the economic reality of the internet. (it will probably be changing soon but that is a whole different essay)
Welcome to puritanical America, where nudity = sex = evil
The other reason is “puritanical” America. Without nudity, Playboy can be sold on the iPad and Kindle, and in every grocery store magazine rack instead of behind the counter of a small number of convenience stores, thus becoming much more widely available.
Playboy is an international magazine, and in most parts of the world, it is not sold among the porn magazines. That is because, most of the planet understands there is a difference between nudity and sex. Here in America, we do not seem to understand this, somehow we have developed a unique mindset where nudity = sex.
And it is not just the prudish people who don’t get this. The reason why there are practically no public clothing optional beaches and pools in America is because too may people think that public sex is also OK in these places. (it’s not, get a room)
But it is also the prudish people, and the pervasive anti-feminist culture that believes that sexy outfits are a sign of consent. I keep having to remind people, if a naked woman says “NO”, it means “NO”!
Then there is the even more dangerous belief that sex = evil. This seems to be a belief shared only by around half of America, and it is almost exclusively the social conservative half.
The key difference between “social conservative” and “social liberal” is that social conservatives are pro violence and anti sex, and social liberals are anti violence and pro sex.
Social conservatives, tend to be pro guns, pro military, pro war, pro death penalty, pro police militarization, pro tough punishment for law breakers, etc. = pro violence.
Social Liberals tend to be pro-choice, pro gay rights, pro legalization of drugs and prostitution, pro birth control availability, pro women’s rights, etc = pro sex.
It is the social conservatives who censor sex from media, and because “nudity = sex”, nudity also gets censored as well.
Because the mainstream media has to appease the social conservatives, magazines with non-sexual artistic nudity gets sent behind the counter, and off of Facebook and Instagram, and off the app store.
Artistic nudity has always been a sign of a freer and open society. Is our society getting more open with the internet? Or more closed off due to mainstream censorship?
Cocks Not Glocks
There is a lot to say about sex vs. violence in America. A lot of it is sad and pitiful, like how social conservatives keep lifting important restrictions on guns, but put as many restrictions as they can get away with on abortions, even though both are constitutionally protected.
But I at least got some relief on this front when a group from University of Texas Austin decided to protest a law allowing open carry of guns on campus by openly carrying dildos on campus. If that is not the perfect symbol for sex vs violence, I don’t know what is. If “ammosexuals” can display their signs of manhood openly, why can’t normal people?
The Bigger Problem
I have had a few misrepresent what I am saying here (not in the comments but elsewhere) so I thought I would add some clarification.
Now that Playboy has gotten rid of the nude pictures, it CAN NOW be sold openly in grocery stores and in major app stores, etc. where it couldn’t before. Available in more places will probably mean more sales.
This is just a symbol of a bigger problem.
Society allows certain stuff as MAINSTREAM and relegates everything else to HIDDEN status. Of course the internet has made accessing the hidden stuff much easier, but mainstream is still where the bigger audience is that is willing to spend money.
What we hide and what we make mainstream is a measure of openness in society. Quoting from the Guardian piece I cited earlier:
This hatred for the body, enunciated by key Christian thinkers including St Paul, expresses itself in art as a contempt for women, a portrayal of the supposed poisonous truth behind the lie of beauty.
When you realise this is what they were rebelling against, it is impossible to keep up the unhistorical, hackneyed view that sees artists like Titian and Rubens as old sexist masters slavering voyeuristically over naked women.
Not only do medieval images exclude or demonise the nude, but late medieval portraits in northern Europe cover as much of women’s flesh as they can with tightly fitting headresses. The bodies of women are dangerous, they can bewitch you.
By contrast the loving, luscious nudes of the Italian Renaissance can be properly understood not as 500-year-old icons of the patriarchal gaze but liberating, even empowering images of women set free from religious hatred. […]
Surveying art history, it just does not seem that nude images have ever been the best way to oppress anyone. Societies that praise naked beauty tend to be democratic – the nude was invented in ancient Athens and revived by Italian republics – and forward looking.
Cultures that fear and suppress naked art are more likely to be religiously hidebound and to control and fear women.
So what do we hide today? Where do we draw the line dividing MAINSTREAM and HIDDEN?
The line is drawn at female nipples.
Hide nipples and you can be mainstream, show nipples and you are relegated to the hidden pile.
Historically, women are better off during eras where nudity is not a big deal. Unfortunately, in America today it is a big deal, otherwise prime time broadcast TV and Facebook wouldn’t be so scared of it.
And it shows in today’s society: Abortion restrictions, lack of equal pay, lack of women in the growing tech sector, crap like gamergate still going on with the goal to suppress women, rape culture, etc.
I’m not saying that allowing nipples on TV will suddenly solve all our gender issues, I’m saying that we need to move the line to change social attitudes towards women that will make gender issues easier to deal with.
Because also in the HIDDEN pile is more explicit stuff that objectifies women, sending the wrong message. Lumping positive images of female sexuality in with the negative makes it equal in societies eyes leading to the oppression of ALL female sexuality.
An open society, would have allowed Playboy level nudity to become mainstream, instead Playboy has to drop the nudity to become mainstream, that is my bigger point.
Well, being a graphic artist, painter and photographer that loves to make portraits of nude women, of course I did not like Playboy’s move. I don’ t want to return to the Victorian era. Also, I think that this is the end of Playboy.
You know Playboy is desperate for worldwide sales when they’re going for a more artistic look. Even with the free nudes online, they could easily turn themselves into a high class porn site and still keep raking in cash. LifeSelector likely is the closest thing on the internet to high class porn: It’s just missing a option to date guys.
Playboy kind of founded the popular nude look: At least in America. It’s not that hard, people.
Or, alternatively, enough people on the internet from America under anonymous names will start making their own independent nude magazines. No porn or porn videos at all: Just nudity.
Maybe put them as slideshows on Youtube with ad revenue. But, that’s all you’d really have to do with the internet to make independent magazines. Either way…why not have more people do this for magazines in general? It’s easy money just waiting to happen.
Then again…every porn magazine could go for the high class porn route. Maybe Hustler will just drop all pretense and just embrace a anti-mainstream America stance in America with a devils, witches, demons, and monsters themed look by Halloween and onward.
That would really show Playboy how to stay on top, and get the social conservatives to back off for once: It’s a win-win scenario. And I’m not talking in a “nudity = sex” way either.
The social conservatives would be like: “It looks too sinful: It’ll never sell. So, we don’t have to make a big deal out of it: The religious people will.”
And, with the internet… Let’s face it: Religious people in America with issues aren’t as big a deal anymore compared to the days when we didn’t have internet. Most religious hate groups are elsewhere in the world, and not in America: Even though we well know that there are some out there that very much hate America.
Nudity and porn are very different things. Nudity is a natural thing, every classic painter like Michelangelo, Renoir, Rembrandt etc. painted nude women. That is the main reason why I think Playboy is wrong by stopping showing nudes.
The entire thing is due to feminism. Let me explain. There are females who claim their are feminist, are part of what is termed 3rd wave feminism. People like Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn are at the forefront of this, and now are part of Google Ideas. Go to Youtube and watched the Orwellian speech they delivered at the UN-meeting. It’s unbelievable. Hopefully the UN will be all talk an no action.
Now, the thing is that these people do not accept different viewpoints at all, and their attack (like the #GamerGate-scandal) is on free speech online. Nudity, porn, games, televisions etc. are all targets for them. They call it patriarchy, misogyny, and women issues, though their attack will likely affect both genders.
So, to sum it up; those “right conservatives” are stooges and think they do the “right” thing attacking porn and games, blaming various shootings on those things, like Grand Theft Auto is responsible for what that lunatic did on the upper west coast in the US. Or blaming porn for the fact that men arent’ marrying anomore (herbivore men in Japan, MGTOW [Men Going Their Own Way] in the US and Europe) – while the laws ensure financial RAPE of men. Just google the latest false rape-allegations, the denial of evidence on Facebook for that kid in (I think) Arizona or New Mexico, were the prosecution are actively denying evidence that the kid was set up after the girls watched a movie called “John Tucker Must Die”, and he’ll probably going to prison for something he didn’t do.
Is it any wonder guys are just droping out, playing video-games, watch porn, getting sex-robots when they enter the market in a couple of years? And it’s all the fault of “patriarchy”, “misogynism” and “sexism”…
Ok. I see the similarities between Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn. But, unless they do speak for social conservatives… I’m sorry. But, I don’t see how that more closely relates to the “no more nudes” change.
Social conservatives aren’t necessarily always going to be “right conservatives” either: Right conservatives attack both violence and sexual content with big false claims in the hope of imposing their view on the populace. And, social conservatives are pro-violence.
They just happen to share very similar views in this “control the internet” bullshit. That’s what we should be more concerned about: That social conservatives are going to try to jump on top of Anita Sarkeesian’s and Zoe Quinn’s opinions and try to back up their big false claims with their own big false claims. If they haven’t already, you can be sure they’ll try in the near future.
More to the point… “Is it any wonder guys are just dropping out, playing video games, watching porn, getting sex-robots when they enter the market in a couple of years?” That is too broad and wide a generalization.
Before women’s rights did become official law and a lot of America realized women deserve to have rights of their own… Feminism was not really seen as much of anything.
Yes: There are feminists that made third wave feminism just because they feel like they speak for everyone. Yes: This “third wave feminism” should just die already so we can get back to things that should matter.
But, if enough women from corporations and businesses quit from them and tried to actually make a third wave feminism that isn’t just a shield(and let’s see, has good reason to it)… Would most of us easily think this is a bad idea? I don’t think so.
It’s a much worse idea to think feminism is always going to be and always has been “third wave feminism”…when many decades of history indicates otherwise. It’s not always a scapegoat.
It used to mean a lot more before GamerGate and Anita Sarkeesian came and put a very dark chapter into our lives. It’s not the only examples, I’m sure. But, you can get where I’m going with this.
That chapter should be called “Finger Pointing to the Death”: Because everyone is sick and tired of it. And, we all find it easier to just point the finger at partiarchy or feminism ourselves than to admit that it’s ultimately a vicious cycle of finger pointing that is responsible. Yeah: In a way…we could very well be part of the problem too.
How about some solid evidence, good reason, and a arrest warrant before knocking on people’s doors and accusing them for a change?
Well…maybe that is a little exaggeration. But, it might as well be said.
Well written post.
So how do you classify someone who is pro guns, pro military, anti war, pro death penalty, anti police militarization, punishment for law breakers fitting to the crime, pro-life, pro gay rights, pro legalization of drugs and prostitution, pro birth control availability, pro women’s rights (in cases of equality)?
Not trying to start an argument, just curious.
HA! Well, that’s what I am. Excellent observation.
Sounds very much like my views on this, too. I’m not exactly Libertarian, though, since I also realize there are some places where government needs to be strong but firm, such as having the power, and the wisdom of when to use it, to break large and abusive companies up into several smaller ones, such as was done more than a century ago to Standard Oil (which was broken up into 20 or 30 smaller companies, iirc), 60 years ago to the motion picture industry (where they made it illegal for motion picture studios to own movie theaters, so that now independent movies could thrive), and 35 years ago to Ma Bell. We are LONG overdue for another one of those sort of forced corporate breakups, judging by how the vast majority of the media, including just about all the major news outfits, are now owned by 4 or 5 giant corporations, who also own many of the major manufacturing companies, tech companies, and whatnot, all of which consists of a conflict of interest the size of Mars. oO