Search Results For "playboy"

The Invention of the Playboy

Flashback Friday.

In Hearts of Men, Barbara Ehrenreich talks about the launching of Playboy in 1953 and how it forever changed how we thought about single men.

At that time, a man who stayed single was suspected of homosexuality.  The idea of being an unmarried heterosexual adult of sound mind and body was totally foreign.  Hugh Hefner changed all of that by inventing a whole new kind of man, the playboy.  The playboy stayed single (so as to have lots of ladies), kept his money for himself and his indulgences (booze and ladies), and re-purposed the domestic sphere (enter the snazzy bachelor pad full of booze and ladies).

With this in mind, check out this attempt to attract advertising dollars from a 1969 issue (found at Vintage Ads).  It nicely demonstrates Playboy‘s marketing of a new kind of man, one who lives a free and adventurous life that is unburdened by a boring, dead-end job needed to support a wife and kids.

Text:

What sort of man reads Playboy? He’s an entertaining young guy happily living the good life. And loving every adventurous minute of it. One recipe for his upbeat life style? Fun friends and fine potables. Facts. PLAYBOY is read by one of out every three men under 50 who drink alcoholic beverages. Small wonder beverage advertisers invest more dollars in PLAYBOY issue per issue than they do in any other magazine. Need your spirit lifted? This must be the place.

Today, we commonly come across the idea that men are naturally averse to being tied down, but Hefner’s project reveals that this was an idea that was invented quite recently and promulgated for profit.

This post originally appeared in 2008.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Molson’s Divergent Marketing: Cosmo vs. Playboy

Anjan G. sent in an interesting pair of ads that ran as part of a Molson beer campaign in 2002/2003.  One appeared in Cosmo; it involves a man in a sweater cuddling with puppies and drinking a Molson.  It’s an example of an ad that glamorizes a soft and sensitive masculinity:

The other appeared in men’s magazines, including Playboy and FHM.  It tells readers, explicitly, that the first ad is designed to manipulate women into being sexually attracted to men who drink Molson:

The text is worth reading:

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF WOMEN.
PRE-PROGRAMMED FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE.

As you read this, women across America are reading something very different: an advertisement (fig. 1) scientifically formulated to enhance their perception of men who drink Molson. The ad shown below, currently running in Cosmopolitan magazine, is a perfectly tuned combination of words and images designed by trained professionals.  Women who are exposed to it experience a very positive feeling.  A feeling which they will later project directly onto you. Triggering the process is as simple as ordering a Molson Canadian (fig. 2).

Extravagent dinners.  Subtitled movies. Floral arrangements tied together with little pieces of hay. It gets old.  And it gets expensive, depleting funds that could go to a new set of of 20-inch rims. But thanks to the miracle of Twin Advertising Technology, you can achieve success without putting in any time or effort. So drop the bouquet and pick up a Molson Canadian…

The second ad, then, portrays men as lazy, shallow jerks who are just trying to get laid (not soft and sensitive at all).  And it portrays women as stupid and manipulable.

The two ads are a nice reminder that marketers count on their audiences being separate.  They can send each audience contradictory messages, confident that most women will never pick up Playboy and most men will never pick up Cosmo.  This is an assumption that marketers have long counted on. Miller Beer, for example, includes pro-gay advertising in magazines aimed at gay men, counting on the idea that heterosexual men, many of whom are homophobic, will never see that Miller markets itself as a gay beer.

So Molson was counting on women never seeing their ads in men’s magazines.  Alternatively, they were perfectly happy to alienate female customers.  Or maybe both.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Open Thread: Playboy Centerfolds, 1960s-1990s

These images, by Jason Salavon, are composites of the Playboy centerfolds in each decade. What do you see, readers?  Comments are open…

Thanks to Kristina Killgrove for the submission!

—————————

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Pre-Photoshopped Playboy Photos (Definitely NSFW!)

Dmitriy T.M. sent in a post by Irin Carmon at Jezebel about Playboy memorabilia up for auction, including images of centerfolds with editorial comments for the Photoshopper to fix various problematic aspects of the photos. The marked-up images gives us a peek into the process of creating a centerfold, as well as the scrutiny applied to literally every aspect of the models’ bodies, which are found wanting in a dizzying array of ways, with their blatant imperfections resulting from being actual living humans.

This one includes instructions to fix her large pores and soften her laugh lines (see the top left):

The rest of these images are *definitely* Not  Safe for Work, so beware:

(more…)

Marge Simpson in Playboy; Darine Stern Left Out

This month’s Playboy cover features Marge Simpson:

margecover_32547

In order to attract as many hits as possible, the Huffington Post featured a slide show asking “Who’s Hotter” and presenting no fewer than 25 Playboy covers to compare.

Ironically, the slide show did not contain the Playboy cover that inspired the Simpson drawing. Behold Darine Stern, the first black woman on the cover of Playboy (1971):

Darine-Stern-Playboy-1971

I wonder how she managed to get left out of the slide show.   Hmmm.  No other black women made it in either.

—————————

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Appropriation of Social Movements in Playboy

Alberto Vargas is a famous pin-up girl artist. Below the jump (because they are likely not safe for work) are some of his illustrations from Playboy that appropriate social movements of the time:

(more…)

Playboy Ads in Germany


Ad Agency: Rempen & Partner, Duessldorf

Female Celebrities and the “Faint Sexual Flame”

3Thanks to a tip from Jay Livingston, I came across this quote from The Pursuit of  Loneliness by sociologist Philip Slater.  It’s long, but wow:

[I]t can’t be denied that the female ideal in America is nonaggressive and nonthreatening, to the point of caricature.  Take for example the film personality of the much-idolized Marilyn Monroe: docile, accommodating, brainless, defenseless, totally uncentered, incapable of taking up for herself or knowing what she wants or needs. A sexual encounter with such a woman in real life would border on rape – the idea of “consenting adults” wouldn’t even apply.  The term “perversion” seems more appropriate for this kind of yearning than for homosexuality or bestiality, since it isn’t directed toward a complete being.  The Marilyn Monroe image was the ideal sex object for the sexually crippled and anxious male: a bland erotic pudding that would never upset his delicate stomach.

It’s important to realize that this Playboy ideal is a sign of low, rather than high, sexual energy.  It suggests that the sexual flame is so faint and wavering that a whole person would overwhelm and extinguish it.  Only a vapid, compliant ninny-fantasy can keep it alive. It’s designed for men who don’t really like sex but need it for tension-release – men whose libido is wrapped up in achievement or dreams of glory.

Slater wrote this passage in 1970, hence the reference to Marilyn Monroe.  I would have to think hard about whether I think it still applies broadly, but I think it’s fair to say that the “bland erotic pudding” is still part of the repertoire of essentially every female celebrity who is successful in part because of her appearance.  I did a search for some of the most high-profile female actresses and singers today, looking specifically for images that might fit Slater’s description.  I invite your thoughts.

1

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.