After a short failed experiment with removing nudes from its magazine, the iconic Playboy has brought the porn back in its March/April 2017 issue. The much younger Cooper Hefner is replacing his father at the helm of the company, and is setting out to re-brand Playboy for this generation.
The front cover of the new issue has written in bold, the declaration “Naked is Normal”. Is it? Yes, I would have to agree, it is normal. In the context of a loving private relationship, of course it is normal. But that is not what we are dealing with in Playboy. There is healthy and harmful sexuality just as there is healthy and harmful food. The objectifying nudity in Playboy is certainly the later.
Next there is the aspect of the normalization of displaying and consuming the hyper-sexualized female body. In our porn saturated world, “porn culture” has indeed normalized sexual exploitation and the commodification of the human body.
So yes, as Playboy is so boldly declaring, naked pornographic images have become normal. But why? One reason is that our media saturated society perpetuates the “sex sells” ideal to both men and women in a powerful way. If a woman wants to be visible in today’s pornified society it is almost imperative that her sexuality be exploited and put on display for the world to consume.
Take for example your typical music or TV reality star Instagram feed. Just scroll through some of the most famous names in pop culture and you will find a trove of photos that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination. Kim and Chloe Kardashian, Chrissy Teigen, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus and Chelsea Handler just to name a few, make getting naked on social media part of their attention grabbing, money making routine.
Playboy has returned to nudes because they know that generates a profit for them. Cooper Hefner recently tweeted, that he deemed the previous removal of nudity from the magazine a bad move. “I’ll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake,” the message reads. “Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn’t a problem. Today we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are.”
Well Mr. Hefner, today WE women are taking OUR identity back and reclaiming who WE ARE. Women are so much more than sexual objects–a buffet of flesh to be bought and sold as currency in the market of pop culture acceptance. We are daughters of a King, deserving of respect and dignity, and we are of great value even with our clothes ON.