Today, I learned that Playboy, the cornerstone that started the concept of reading amazing articles and enjoying looking at naked women in tasteful poses, has decided to take the route Maxim has, and is doing away with nudes. Starting in March 2016, women will no longer show themselves in the buff.
This will effect the print edition of the magazine, and is being done in an effort to boost print sales at newsstands. If would so push the magazine from the adults only section and into (I’m only guessing) general section with other magazines.
And I, from my own observations can tell you right from the jump – that this isn’t going to work.
A little trip down memory lane: I remember the very first “Lad’s mag” I ever got, and it was the now defunct Gear Magazine, back in the mid-1990’s. It was that issue that had a then barely legal Jessica Biel in a state of undress, and it was a very good issue and photo spread. That issue caused so much controversy when it came out, because Biel at the time was on an highly popular FAMILY show called “7th Heaven”, where Biel was no where near close to going or looking sexy in any aspect.
That issue of Gear was so popular that the only way I could get a copy of it, was via back order. It sold like hotcakes when it came out.
It wasn’t just the controversy that got me interested in getting that magazine, but the fact that I could look at something that was legal to obtain and that I could call my own and enjoy. Gear was a great magazine, and it went belly up a few years later, when Maxim and FHM started to publish.
What drew me to those Magazines was, of course the celebrities in sexy bikini’s and lingerie, and yes the articles (Fun fact: men REALLY DO READ THE ARTICLES in these magazines. Sorry I don’t live up to the stigma ladies).
That was the thing with Lad’s Mags – they are a mix of interesting articles, and mixed in with tasteful nudity, and a reasonable amount of ads.
That’s what made them great. They were the perfect mix of innocent and sinful, where both sides of the equator were in a win-win situation every time you picked up a issue.
We jump forward to the now, and sadly, today that formula has changed. In order to keep the print versions of the magazines viable, and to make them more “appealing” to wider audience, they have chosen to dial back on the nudity. Now I know and accept that things change, and I’m not bothered by this fact that will continue even after I’m long and gone from this earth – what bothers me is that this is a change in the wrong direction.
I get that the publishers of these magazines want to stay in business and are looking to increase their subscription base, but I think there was/is a better way to do that.
The proof is in the one of the magazines that have made this change to the formula earlier this year: Maxim Magazine. This magazine is the magazine I know I could read, without having some kind of label being put on me, and that I could read in the open and wouldn’t have to worry about anyone looking over my shoulder, or being offended.
All that changed in February 2015. I read Maxim magazine every time I got it. I even collected a few issues. But then, in February 17th , 2015 the face of the magazine changed big time. Before the changes, the magazine cover looked like this:
You could tell beforehand what was in the magazine, before you even opened it up. I actually have this issue, and I read it cover to cover, and it was a great issue. Even the Turducken recipe was pretty cool. I knew what I was looking forward to, and I was never disappointed. Not once. They even talked about Movies, Video games, technology and while it did have ads, they weren’t always in your face every time you turned the page. It’s easy to read and you got your monies worth.
But now, The Magazine looks like this:
Um…ok. So, I see a woman’s face, it’s provocative, I guess, but who is she? I don’t know. So I opened up the magazine, and I still don’t know what is happening. At this point, I’m flipping through the magazine, and trying to understand when the magazine’s original content starts and when the ads end. Yes, the first thing I run into is ads. I forget how many pages, but it was more then 10.
That’s when I knew I wasn’t going to like this.
After going thru the mountain of ads in the beginning of the mag, I FINALLY found the table of contents, which was only one page long, and more ads followed after that, again I lose count. When I finally do reach an article that doesn’t look like it might be an ad, I try to read it, only to learn the the text is too small to read comfortably in any light. Now I do wear glasses, and I keep them clean, and my vision isn’t getting worse either (Last checkup was a few months ago, showed no change in vision). What is worse, the article was able to be finished up in 3/4 of a single page.
Just what the sam crazy is going on?
By the time I get to the lady in the photoshoot, they go on for several pages, uninterrupted. But there is nothing inspiring about the pictures at all. Nothing. Woman wearing swimwear or lingerie, and the venue is always the same: Bedroom or Beach. It’s a one note. After that, a few articles mixed in with a TON of ads.
The current issue (September 2015), follows the same layout. I have this issue in front of me, and I’m using it now for this blog. On the Cover:
Seriously, what the hell is going on here? Also, Playboy did this FIRST. Have a man on the cover of a Lad’s mag. Way to be original, Maxim.
So, I’m looking at this magazine, and already I have had to flip thru 21 pages of ads, mostly containing dudes wearing products I’m not really interested in, with on occasion, a woman next to them.
21 Pages of THIS.
On page 22, I get to the Table of Contents. It’s only one page, lists 4 featured articles, has a picture of actress Natasha Liu Bordizzo soon to star in the new ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend’ movie, and what appears to be a dude cutting into a pair of pants, or some type of fabric. On the page adjacent, another ad, this time about about shoes and accessories for men.
Oh my what?
Turning the page, the second Table of Contents, same layout, but with Actor Idris Elba, looking like he is trying to eyefuck me – I tried not to curse in this blog, but fuck it, we reached the ”What the Fuck” limit 2 paragraphs ago. Oh, and there are 6 articles on nothing but styles for guys.
Back to counting the ads…one…Another TOC PAGE…
WHY NOT JUST HAVE THE FUCKING TOC PAGES TOGETHER?! FUCK!
Ok, If I keep doing a play by play here, I’ll never get this blog finished today. While there are some segments they kept, it’s all scattered around. I can never really tell which is and isn’t an ad, and even though I did see a model here and there, It looked more like a simple mention more than anything else. The magazine is more of a sausage fest than anything.
Now, I don’t see Playboy going this way. I’m sure we will know what the magazine is all about, and I hope it doesn’t become bogged down with ads like Maxim.
What I’m saying is that Lad’s Mags ran and functioned under the balance of smart articles, humor and nudity. That’s what made them worthwhile. That’s what made them unique and amazing.
Now, they are starting to stray away from that formula, the core that made them great, and in doing so, they have becoming a shadow of their former self.
They are becoming unbalanced, and the only people who are in praise of this, are the people who never really liked the magazines in the first place.
I’d rather the Print editions of Maxim, Playboy and any other magazine with a similar style and feel, go 100% digital and go back to what made them great, than try to continue this farce. There was a time I was strongly thinking of selling, or just giving my Issues of Playboy away, but after learning about the changes, I’m going to take them with me to the grave.
Before I forget, here is the cover of the very first issue of Playboy I ever bought. It’s the November 2000 Print Issue which I got November 18th, 2000 on a snowy afternoon.
I feel it’s best to post this cover, as it’s most likely the cover won’t look like this anymore come 2016.