At the beginning of last year, in what was totally not a ploy for free publicity, Playboy magazine decided to get rid of nude photos. The magazine hoped to expand its sales by publishing beautiful ladies in lingerie or bikinis. Either the scheme didn’t work as planned, or the magazine just missed the beautiful naked ladies it had for its first 62 years: As of this month’s issue, nudes are back.
The public face of this change is Cooper Hefner, the 25-year-old son of the magazine’s founder and lifestyle mascot, Hugh Hefner. The younger Hef explains in an essay explaining the change that he went into the family business not so much because he was interested in the parties, but because he was interested in “the brand’s tradition of tenaciously advocating for civil liberties and freedom of expression.”
In the magazine’s first decades, that meant tasteful nude photos and frank discussion of sex, but also racially integrating Playboy Clubs and publishing work by writers and artists blacklisted on suspicion of being Communists.
In a Tweet, Cooper Hefner, who has the title of creative director at the magazine, explained that the magazine came to understand that the nudity itself wasn’t the problem, but the way it was presented in photos. What does that mean, exactly? We’re not sure, but do know that the tagline “Entertainment for Men” has been removed from the front cover.