“Playboy” Makes Perversion Woke

“Playboy” Makes Perversion Woke

Written by Carl R. Trueman |
Wednesday, February 9, 2022

In modern America, morality is nothing more than the sum total of the tastes of the moment. When free love and throwing off the sexual restraints of earlier generations was hip, Hef was a godlike figure who was the public face of a family restaurant chain. Now that the human cost of this revolution has become clear, Hef is a demon, denounced even by those who owe their livelihoods to him and to the capital acquired by his peddling of sleaze.

Some years ago Playboy declared that it would no longer feature photographs of nude women. While this may sound like progress, it was unfortunately less a sign of morality than a sign of the times—an indication that the static and (by later standards) tame photographic fodder that the magazine promoted was incapable of competing with internet pornography. And of course, Playboy‘s new policy was short-lived. It did not last even two years, for Playboy without nudes would be rather like Model Train Monthly without pictures of diminutive toy trains. Playboy exists to profit from making it socially tolerable, if not exactly respectable, to gawp at pictures of nude women. Only a fool would believe otherwise. The interviews and articles offer nothing more than a pretext for purchasing a copy.

Well, it seems that Playboy is once again trying to clean up its image and, in the process, contradict its own reasons for existence. This time the move comes in advance of an A&E documentary series that will reveal in detail the perversions and sleaze of its founder, Hugh Hefner. In an open letter last week, the organization variously declared itself to be “a brand with sex positivity at its core,” a workforce that is 80 percent female, and a company that continues to “fight harassment and discrimination in all its forms, support healing and education, redefine tired and sexist definitions of beauty and advocate for inclusivity across gender, sexuality, race, age, ability and zip codes.”

It is hard to see how a magazine that helped make pornography mainstream through its combination of titillating photographs of starlets and interviews with serious cultural figures should do anything but voluntarily close itself down at this point. Perhaps more than any other media outlet, it is responsible for the paradoxical equation of “sex positivity” with a trivialized notion of sex and indeed what it means to be a woman. And the fact its workforce is 80 percent female is surely irrelevant. When I was a postgraduate student and lived next to the docks in Aberdeen, 100 percent of the “workforce” standing under the streetlights that I passed on my way back from college each day were women. That was no sign of their liberation.

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