After 35 years, Playgirl printing presses grind to a halt and what started as a major step for women and equality comes to an end. Pixelated penises have taken over the glossy, perfectly air-brushed, hold-in-your-hand version. It’s the end of an era.
So what caused Playgirl to peter out? Was it poor management, lazy marketing, or plain bad PR? Editor-in-chief Nicole Caldwell claims Playgirl did their best to accommodate their 60% female audience and gave them a storyline with romance and eroticism, but it wasn’t enough. Women are wired differently than men, and therefore, do not share the same desire to look at naked pictures of the opposite sex. Women are more likely to be shocked by the sight of an erect penis than turned on by it.
I remember the first-ever copy of Playgirl that I held in my hands. It was a gift for my girlfriend who was stuck in hospital after she had been struck by a motorcyclist while she was on vacation in France. Her leg had been broken in three places and only steel pins held it together. My gift of Playgirl was a weak attempt at cheering her up and it worked. Opening the pages of that Playgirl magazine was not shocking but purely titillating! But then again, we were only 16!
Come on! You’re trying to tell me you’re not the least bit curious? Or would the shock be too much?