From ripoff clothing to genuine appeal to the minds and hearts of young (now old) men, the playboy bunny is everywhere, and so is the brand that is associated with it. Being nothing short of an icon, Playboy has become the first thing that comes to mind when people talk about nudity or dirty magazines. There is almost a school-boyish like frame of mind when people talk about Playboy, precisely because of its cult-like status.

But there is a cost of being famous for one thing, people know you for THAT ONE THING only. No matter what you do on the side, the popular discussion will still be about the earlier part. Ask a random person on the street what Playboy is, he’ll tell you it’s a sex mag, nothing further than that, that’s my job.

The Right Place At The Right Time

When Hugh Hefner quit Esquire magazine (they refused to give him a raise) to start his own venture, the circumstances were quite different than they are today. The Korean War had just ended and a lot of men were coming home to no jobs.

esquire

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Further, this was the period in American History that members of a family were an attending college for the first time, exposing to them a larger cosmopolitan culture, adding to this was the emergence of women’s rights along with the expression of female sexuality in a more open manner.

In this regard, Playboy came at the right time. It allowed a channel for the expression of this freedom that was not allowed earlier. But this was not all that Playboy was. Not every page was chock full of explicit images and other content to satisfy the insatiable sexual appetites of men.

The magazine was more of a force of social change and awareness

Along with the platform it provided for women to openly display their sexuality, it pushed out other content too, and a lot of it could be called journalistic. Which is very, very strange, because Playboy is the last thing you would think of when you think ‘journalism’.

The magazine published short stories by the like of Arthur C Clarke, PG Wodehouse, Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming and Haruki Murakami. All great, legendary writers, using the magazine to popularise their content. Playboy used the readership it had built using its brand to effect good literature onto the people.

Not Just Nudes

It also published the work of notable cartoonists like Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Cole, Eldon Dedini, Jules Feiffer, Shel Silverstein, Erich Sokol, and Roy Raymonde. Along with this, the magazine features an interview called (un-imaginatively) The Playboy Interview.

Each month a prominent public figure was interviewed- composers, conductors, religious figures, politicians, athletes, film directors, journalists, novelists, artists, architects, economists, playwrights, and race car drivers were all part of The Playboy interview.

Some notable names include the champion of the American Civil RIghts Movement Martin Luther King Jr., controversial human rights activist Malcolm X, founder of the American Nazi Party George Rockwell, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump and strangely enough, Jawaharlal Nehru.

Hidden underneath the veneer of overtly sexual content was a prominent presence of smart, current and engaging content that educated its readers about the current political going ons and provided general knowledge to its wide user base. The new college-going crop of kids immediately got more than just sexual gratification out of the magazine.


Image Credits: Google Images

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