When I was a Playboy centerfold in December 1979, the circulation was around 5.6 million. Today, that number has dropped to 800,000. Clearly, something wasn't working. But I think Hef's decision to "drop nudity" or rather make it "PG-13 and less produced--more like the racier sections of Instagram", according to Cory Jones, a top editor at the magazine, is patently the wrong thing to do.
I was around when Playboy changed up its editorial to compete with Penthouse. The pictures were down and dirty just like the kind Bob Guccione loved, but it wasn't Hef's taste and his original concept was what made the magazine great. I think if Hef wasn't guided by these editors and had his own way, this wouldn't be the direction he would go in.
The "Girls Next Door" wasn't just a show on the E! Channel, it was Hef's original concept. The centerfolds WERE girls next door--not actresses or models, but just very attractive women. They were accessible, friendly, smiling and sexy all at the same time--that being the key.
If the plan is to emulate the naked poses found on Instagram, count me out as a fan. I know that every kind of nudity you can imagine is just a click away on the internet which is why I find it incredible that they're following this herd mentality by incorporating images inspired by this particular social media platform. Although it hasn't hurt the Kardashian clan now has it?
I loved the Golden Years of Playboy in the '70's (of course!), when the girls were not completely nude, but rather enticingly photographed. Anyone can snap a naked Instagram pic--it's much more difficult to photograph a woman and make her look like photographers/artists Richard Fegley, Pompeo Posar and Arny Freytag did.
I know this is all about the bottom line. Nudity has been omitted from its website since 2014 to make the content "safe" for social media sharing purposes. As a result, according to a NY Times article, the average age of the reader "dropped from 47 to just over 30 and its web traffic jumped to about 16 million from about 4 million unique users per month." I'm not sure what to make of this.
I know my fans are still out there as I hear from them a lot via social media. I know when I post my vintage Playboy pics, I receive a great response so I know there are still Playboy followers who appreciate Hef's original concept.
I do realize you have to change with the times and understand the need for a revamp. I just wish it wasn't at the expense of the glamour of the iconic Playboy Playmate image.
On the other hand, and selfishly, I should be thankful. This means there will be a finite number of Playboy Centerfolds and an even smaller number of Playmates who were Playboy Bunnies like me. And then she smiled.....
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