Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I guess nobody's angel is a centerfold anymore: Playboy ditches nudity (sort of)

My blood runs cold
My memory has just been sold
My angel is the centerfold
Angel is the centerfold
-- "Centerfold", The J. Geils Band.

So yeah, there was a lot of buzz on the internet about Playboy's decision late last year to ditch their nude spreads and centerfolds and here's the cover to the first issue since then.

(via US Weekly)
It's meant to be a send up to Snapchat, but also a thumbing of the nose at the ubiquity of nudity on the internet, which was the reason why Playboy moved on from nudity. The lovely lass on the cover, by the way, is Sarah McDaniel. And what of the Playmate of the Month? Apparently it's sticking around, but will lack nudity for the most part. I had to italicize that for emphasis because while there will no longer be straight-up nudity like in days past, it doesn't mean that the ladies posing in the magazine will always be clothed, but if they do pose nude, it'll be covered strategically. It's not unlike how other magazines like Vogue and such will do photoshoots of celebs in the buff with their bits and bobs covered by a well placed limb or prop.

By the way, the Playmate for March is Dree Hemingway.

Her great-grandfather was some famous writer, a bloke named Ernest Hemingway. Never heard of him, but apparently he was a big deal[1]. Anyways, Dree Hemingway's pictorial illustrates the strategic nudity avenue that Playboy is taking. There's two nude pictures of her: one where she's walking away from the camera, but with her left arm obscuring her butt crack. You can still see the cheeks, but it's about as much as you'd see were she wearing a bikini. In the other nude, she's facing the camera, but slightly bent and covering her breasts and southern region with her hands. Considering Star Trek: Enterprise featured a scene where one of the female characters covers herself similarly and it didn't get cut from the episode, I doubt that will ruffle many feathers or violate Playboy's new rule.

So what do I think about Playboy's new changes? I totally agree with them. Nudie mags are obsolete, given that anybody with even a 56k modem can easily google nude pictures and more on the internet. Expecting someone to lay down however much the cover price is just to look at breasts, derrieres, and vaginas certifiably ludicrous. At the same time, Playboy has always been so much more than a nudie mag. If they were just that, then the magazine would never have established a place in popular culture like it has and Hugh Heffner wouldn't be the icon that he is. You know the joke "I only buy it for the articles"? Well, that was a pretty legit reason for buying Playboy. Behind the nude pictures, Playboy is a literary, political, and cultural magazine all rolled into one. In the case of the former, quite a few famous writers have had short stories published or their novels serialized in it. It's a political magazine because it never shied away from publishing articles concerning current and political events that were relevant. Finally, it's a cultural magazine for all of the interviews it has done with all sorts of famous folks, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. By ditching the nudity, Playboy is simply transitioning to what it has been since its inception, a quality magazine no different than the other periodicals that grace the racks everywhere else.

One final note: If you want to see more pictures of Sarah McDaniel or the rest of Dree Hemingway's Playboy spread, GQ and Playboy have them on their sites. And as always, be sure to leave your 2 cents in the comments below.

[1]: Yes, of course I know who Ernest Hemingway is. Just because I don't read much outside of sci-fi and fantasy doesn't mean I'm an literary illiterate.

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