Economy

Playboy Ditching Nudes is Not a Necessarily a Win for Women

October 13th 2015

By:
Kyle Jaeger

Though some have interpreted Playboy's decision to abandon nudity as a reflection of changing attitudes about the sexualization and objectification of women, the reality is that this move is about business, the New York Times reported.

The move could start a trend away from objectification, and Playboy's online presence has been shoring up its feminist content, however, the internet (i.e. porn) is largely responsible for Playboy's declining circulation, and in an effort to gain greater readership, the magazine has had to reinvent itself.

Playboy was a revolutionary magazine that pushed the limits of sexual expression in an era defined by social conservatism. But now, 62 years after its debut, the magazine says it is forgoing one of its hallmarks: nudity. That's right, Playboy will no longer feature naked women, effective 2016.

"That battle has been fought and won," Scott Flanders, the company’s chief executive, told the Times. "You're now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free. And so it's just passé at this juncture."

"Don't get me wrong, 12-year-old me is very disappointed in current me. But it's the right thing to do."

In 1975, Playboy's circulation was more than 5 million; it's down to 800,000 today, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. The company has already adopted a safe-for-work editorial model for its online content, finding that it's able to reach a younger and more diverse audience. And by stripping the magazine of nudity (pun), it hopes to expand its millennial appeal.

The fact of the matter is, nobody with an internet connection relies on Playboy for porn anymore. (Of course, the publication has represented much more than porn; it has featured tremendous and exclusive interviews, investigations, and high-quality writing.) But nevertheless, the internet has democratized the pornography industry, and it also made it free, leaving the risqué magazine at risk of redundancy.

"Yes, we’re taking a risk by going non-nude, but this is a company—like all great companies—that has risk in its DNA," Playboy said in a statement. "It was built around a magazine virtually no one thought would succeed, yet now it’s impossible (for us, anyways) to picture a world without Playboy. Our journalism, art, photos, and fiction have challenged norms, defied expectations, and set a new tone for decades."