Playboy, once the premier adult magazine, plans to cover up its models and go PG13. As first reported by The New York Times, the magazine will move away from full nudity under a redesign planned for its March issue.
This is a seismic shift. Hefner founded the magazine specifically to feature, even celebrate, nudity. “When Hef created Playboy, he set out to champion personal freedom and sexual liberty at a time when America was painfully conservative,” the magazine says.
But times have changed. Nudity and pornography are ubiquitous on the Internet. And people are buying fewer magazines overall, choosing instead to read online. Meanwhile, those same readers increasingly come to stories through third-party platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Those platforms have their own rules, and often prohibit or limit nudity. For Playboy to survive in a platform-driven world, the pressure to conform to those standards is immense—so much so that the publication is abandoning the core of its brand’s identity.