Playboy: Still Sexist After All These Years

It is no longer every man’s fantasy to dominate a woman dressed as a furry woodland creature. It is no longer every woman’s fantasy to oblige

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Playboy 60th Anniversary Cover
Playboy

When describing their just-released 60th anniversary issue, editors at Playboy talk about celebrating “60 years of beautiful women, discerning taste, sexual emancipation, groundbreaking fiction, and world-changing journalism.” To that end, they put supermodel Kate Moss on the cover and dressed her up in traditional playmate garb: bunny ears and tail and the French cuffs of a cater-waiter. Inside, she’s on all fours.

Exactly whose sexual emancipation are we talking about here?

Feminists have long rallied against Playboy as the ultimate manifestation of female objectification, and indeed, editorial director Jimmy Jellinek has said of even Playboy’s recent years, “The magazine used to have this aesthetic of unattainable perfection” that prompted “unhealthy competition” among women. But all that was changing, he said, as the magazine sought to make efforts to attract a greater number of female readers with a “more healthy, naturalistic look.” CEO Scott Flanders has echoed this sentiment, saying: “We’ve got to be female-friendly.”

(MORE: That Old Feeling: Your Grandfather’s Playboy)

By the looks of things, it seems not much has changed over recent years, or the past 60 — unless bunny ears, a bunny tail and a submissive pose count as healthy and naturalistic or symbols of progress. Sure, the anniversary issue contains a panel of feminists speaking about the “best and worst of sexual liberation in modern America,” featuring participants who are at the top of their field: Erica Jong, Jane Pratt, Dr. Ruth — something one might never have seen in Hugh Hefner’s 1950s–era Playboy. And yet, of the nearly 20 names listed on the new cover advertising the notables featured inside, just two women make the cut.

And then there’s the cover photo. The same people who argue that porn empowers women might argue that Playboy simply celebrates the unique physical beauty of woman — and that Moss is but the latest playmate to assert her power over Playboy’s legions of male reader-slaves. But depicting “a global icon and the most important supermodel of the last 25 years,” in Jellinek’s own words, as a man’s fantasy at the ready — lips parted, bunny tail raised — isn’t empowering, or at all acknowledging of the progress women, and men, have made in the past half a century. It’s belittling, and dismissive, and plainly outdated. It is no longer every man’s fantasy to dominate a woman dressed as a furry woodland creature. It is no longer every woman’s fantasy to oblige.

It’s arguable that the Playboy of old, before all that sexual emancipation and, you know, women’s lib, was more refined and respectful. And at least back then, there was innovation. Celebrity nudity simply isn’t shocking anymore and, in most months, Playboy isn’t even uniquely offensive. Even the most “literary” of men’s magazines, including Esquire and GQ, routinely persuade actresses to strip down to their underwear and tell jokes for the purpose of entertaining men. Show me a women’s magazine that does the same — or, for that matter, a male celebrity who would go along with it under the guise of “empowerment.”

MORE: The Playboy Bunny Looks to Asia to Multiply

55 comments
youngexec
youngexec

Who is the fat hag who wrote this?

GuoLiang
GuoLiang

Things that feminists label as sexist are usually the best. 


>not all people...

But lots of people do. Embrace diversity, Peggy. 

Quirt
Quirt

Gee whiz! A magazine that features pictures of naked women and is marketed towards males is considered sexist.  This is the kind of insightful reporting that will keep Time relevant.


aerisbueller
aerisbueller

Oh no, sex!

Honestly, I don't even like PlayBoy, because I think it's pretentious and pedestrian. But, honestly, who the hell cares? and was anyone really confused about whether or not PlayBoy was male-centric?  If that's what Kate Moss wants to do to make money, or maybe it also gets her rocks off to know she's invited more men to fap to her, it's really her business, and PlayBoy's.  Feminists nowadays have no specific agenda other than to whine about everything, and try to make men feel bad about themselves.  Luckily - the internet - so it's increasingly obvious to the average joe/jane there's nothing of substance here.  Gender inequality is an issue for both men and women in a million different instances, yet feminists only focus on the female's problems, to the exclusion of idea's like fairness and equality. Worse still is they only focus on imaginary issues, like the patriarchy.

fmbmitgt
fmbmitgt

Peggy, if you're finished, I'd like a sandwich.

JohnMichaelGilday
JohnMichaelGilday

Peggy, Peggy, Peggy,
Furry woodland creature? Really? 

Equating a man's fascination with breasts, legs and beauty with bestiality is a stretch - even for a feminist with an ax to grind.
Men don't marry Playmates, they marry the full rounded, intelligent women they fall in love with - complete with flaws and flab.  We choose who we want to grow old with and who we want to birth our children.  And they seldom come with staples in their navels.

We also don't drive the Lamborghini Spyder, but it doesn't stop us from admiring it's lines and (for the lucky few) running our hands over the body...

So relax Peggy, unclench your ass and stop seeing threats in every cc of silicone. if you've ever spoken to a Playmate you realize - while she won the DNA lottery - she has all the flaws each of us have and many times, more.

riccismiles
riccismiles

Still sexist? A magazine that holds within its pages, photographs of naked women posed "tastefully" yet erotic is sexist? Perhaps I dont know what that word means but it appears that the magazine's initial goal was to be sexist and I doubt it can change so long as it has photographs of sexually manipulated and posed women. This writer/author needs a cookie and a hug.

TanmayLololAnaisPradhan
TanmayLololAnaisPradhan

So Peggy writes something called "Raising good husbands", and then has the gall to call other people sexist ? What would Peggy do if I wrote something called "Raising good wives: from daughters to brides" ?

Old, unattractive and bi*chy.

brooklynite4321
brooklynite4321

TIME magazine: Still uptight, self-righteous and irrelevant after all these years. Bye.

stevendoyle
stevendoyle

Sexism is the belief that one sex is superior to another.  You haven't demonstrated that Playboy exhibits or promotes this belief.

SpikeHK
SpikeHK

One might argue that by putting a photo of a 39 year old woman rather than a 21 year old, Playboy has "matured." Or one could be mean and say that Moss was the only "important" model of the past 25 years willing to sign up for the job. 


Playboy has suffered ever since the onslaught of "lad's mags" a decade ago, watching their circulation decline in the face of competition from Maxim, FHM and similar publications. They responded by trying to compete on the level of their competitors, rather than stand their ground. Today, they don't seem to struggle to land the same quality of writers as they did in their past.


But as old as Playboy may appear to be, that's how old Dr. Drexler's arguments are. I thought this line of debate died when the 70s did.  Or is Time Magazine now succumbing to nostalgia? 

DanielleNoelle
DanielleNoelle

"It is no longer every man’s fantasy to dominate a woman dressed as a furry woodland creature. It is no longer every woman’s fantasy to oblige."


When was it ever every man's fantasy? Your article loses a lot of credibility with you making outlandish statements. Did you not go to college for this?

LeeYongEn
LeeYongEn

Oh my god. You are so crazy. Is it a really submissive pose? If anything, men are the submissive ones when women exhibit sexuality. I don't even read Playboy, I just find you crazy.


By the way, don't pretend to speak for all women. Many aspire to be on the cover of such magazines. They are thrilled by the offers. Next you're going to say it's societal brainwashing. Really? Who ever told these women it'll be really cool if they made it on the covers of Playboy? They want to do it themselves because they feel powerful, beautiful and confident. They also want the money.


You're just crazy!

dcsdjs
dcsdjs

You wrote: "It is no longer every man’s fantasy to dominate a woman dressed as a furry woodland creature. It is no longer every woman’s fantasy to oblige." Every? Is it Playboy's job to please everyone? I believe it is their job to please their readers/subscribers. I think they continue to do that or they would be out of business.

MufeedAbid
MufeedAbid

And why doesnt Kate Moss get any flak for signing up for Playboy? It is very convenient to assume that women are not contributing to this 'playboy' culture. Nobody forced this “global icon and the most important supermodel of the last 25 years” to pose as a man’s fantasy at the ready. Just to make it clear, I am not saying that Playboy is irreproachable here but that the feminists should also realize that women themselves are not doing enough to shed their image as an object of a man's desire.

lillypad
lillypad

To all you who think feminists are "mindless", women are "jealous", or "how dare those who want to keep men from being turned on"-- You have no idea what this does to so many females out there. Women, young women, young girls go as far as injuring themselves to reach this ideal image. This objective, "playful" publication of the female body isn't just something to shrug about. This is harmful to a lot of females out there and it's not because they're jealous. It's because they've been molded to think that they need to live up to an ideal standard of appearance thanks to Playboy and countless other forms of media. There are beautiful women out there who are killing themselves over looking like women in your playboy. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

MattFawking-myers
MattFawking-myers

"feminists"-- mindlessly outraged at what younger, more attractive women choose to do with their own bodies since 1961.

BorisIII
BorisIII

Usually women like to be looked at and guys don't care if they get looked at.  At least I don't.  Is it genetic or environmental that women like to be looked at so much that they go through so much trouble to get looked at.  If its genetic then women trying a lot to get looked at won't go away for 10's of thousands of years.

gheydonkey
gheydonkey

Women getting mad because other women look sexier and more appealing to men then they do...
Women getting mad because they do not know how to look sexy or attract a man...
Women getting mad because they have no idea what they are doing in life so they make fun of those that do...

Am i getting close yet?

ExNuke
ExNuke

Sexism, only the unattractive are bothered by it.

GlennBooker
GlennBooker

This is like expecting Mad Magazine to mature.

yellow2
yellow2

How ridiculous.


Let us start a business that will make millions by turning men on.


Decades later….


How dare you turn men on.

Informed_Dissent
Informed_Dissent

What does writer Peggy Drexler say about the millions of women who pour into Victoria's Secret stores for lacy push-up bras, barely-there thongs, and the like? And all the lipstick and make-up they purchase in any given year, presumably to attract male attention? Finally, I have to assume the women who compete to model for Playboy or work at Hooters know fully well what they are getting into. More shocking, they want to do it. Men and women both like to look at beautiful people, even if it is an "unobtainable ideal" of beauty. I would assume Peggy's brothers, father, former boyfriends, favorite high school teacher, etc. have all looked at the photos in Playboy and enjoyed them without apology. I suspect a number of lesbians over the years also enjoyed looking at nude women in Playboy, though not necessarily "for the articles."

anti-government
anti-government

You were seriously expecting something different from Playboy?

The very name suggests the sexist viewpoint: women as a group are squirt toys used to fulfill male fantasies rather than individuals to be respected as well as loved in a variety of ways. 

MiauMiauSW
MiauMiauSW

@riccismiles I agree. I respect my wife to the point of letting her study for three years in Paris while I live in Mexico City. I admire her for her will to do what she wants to do with her life. Still, our sex life is very playful. We love to get kinky outfits for her and have fun in different ways that might pass as "not empowering" by the author. Me and my wife fully enjoy watching porn actress Stoya do her thing and even go so far as to imitate her movies in our most intimate sessions. So… Am I sexist for having such an amazing relationship with the woman I love?

TanmayLololAnaisPradhan
TanmayLololAnaisPradhan

@DanielleNoelle Peggy isn't a feminist in any sense of the word. She is just a sexist, annoying preacher. Telling men how to be "good husbands" and how evil porn is. Considering how rude and sexist it would be the other way around, with guys telling women how to be "good wives".

And really, don't buy the mag. If guys like it and that's their fantasy, what business is it  of Peggy's to preach ? The models are consenting and paid. I don't see how this is exploitation.

And since its an adult mag, its really no business of Peggy's to talk down to other adults, is it ? They are not going out there, putting women down.

No, its just one old, whiny clown who thinks she is a feminist and all men are evil -_-

lovism
lovism

@DanielleNoelle Thank God for you. Men just keep getting tarnished by irresponsible, sensational lines like this. Can't speak for other men but I don't have this fantasy. 


Anyway, author, kudos for criticizing Playboy for being sexist. I've been having a grudge against Heineken for years because they keep making this alcoholic beverage that I can't drink. It is so discriminating against teetotalers like me.  

WinterFall
WinterFall

@dcsdjs its not a far stretch considering they have had to  close their main enterprise in Chicago and NYC. Alongside of closing their clubs globally. It's written on the walls. 

MiauMiauSW
MiauMiauSW

@lillypad While it's true that a lot of people hurt themselves to look like mag models, I also think most of them are shallow and not educated at all. There are a lot of women out there who can grow over the 'magazine-perfect' culture and be happy. It's not like it's destroying everything in society. What about men who are neglected by women for being bald, short or whatever? Is it only a girl issue? I think it's not. I know women have suffered by males' macho-view of the world, but in this day and age women have a lot of options, specially in the States. And yes… they are brilliant and inspiring. A girl like Adele can be alluring just by being who she really is and deal with society with all the power she delivers from her beauty and her personality. Even though Adele is not society's idea of sexy, she is unbelievably sexy. The same goes for a girl like Rihanna. She's got a beautiful face, but she's not skinny and is not big-breasted. She just knows how to manage herself and gains power from that confidence. So if you're weak enough, you're gonna fall for this overwhelming culture of "beauty". Look at what Nicole Kidman did to herself. That was one of Hollywoods most beautiful and classy women, and she spoiled it out of insecurity. 

DanielleNoelle
DanielleNoelle

@lillypad This is a valid argument for sex in advertising; it is not for a magazine geared for adults. Yes, yes...I know young people get their hands on adult oriented magazines, but that is the fault of the person responsible for that child. You have to be 18 years or older to subscribe to the magazine or to buy it in stores. Playboy is not the issue.

LeeYongEn
LeeYongEn

@lillypad You're crazy too. They would do such things with or without the existence of these magazines. It's like blaming weed for joblessness and violence. It's nonsense. Those people were jobless and violent before they ever took weed. 

AnnetteByrd
AnnetteByrd

LOL


Exactly...that is precisely what feminism has always been about...recourse for women who were not usually desired as mates


And it has ruined many a poor lass and subsequently her latchkey children.


and made for unhappy husbands

CameronRisse
CameronRisse

@BorisIII Genetic engineering is coming fast and If such oversensitive people have their way we would all be forced to make amorphous asexual blobs for children in no time flat under the guise of "equality"

seleneyue
seleneyue

@Informed_Dissent What makes you think that women are buying stuff to attract males? _


The main issue is that Playboy is trying to pretend to be something it's not. This article wasn't very on-point, but seriously, Playboy, a feminist magazine? Ha. It's good at what it does, and should stick to it.

riccismiles
riccismiles

@MiauMiauSW @riccismiles Fem-Nazis like this writer would say that your strength as a man is the reason your wife follows your lead. Fem-Nazis would declare that in secluded discussions, your wife would claim she does everything FOR YOU and not because she wants to. Fem-Nazis would say YOU are an oppressive man who should have your testicles removed. I personally believe you and your wife have a healthy adult relationship that will hopefully last until your last breath. But I would have never attempted to discuss feminism under a Playboy headline. LOL The author of this article wouldnt be allowed to sit near Camille Paglia at any event to save her from crying when Camille tears her a new one for her attitudes.

ExNuke
ExNuke

@Natalie-Nicole @ExNuke Some may find her appealing, I don't really recall what she looked like, it was her strident personality and apparent hatred  for all things male or female that sticks in the memory. See no snarky remarks, just an observation and personal opinion.