Playgirl

History

Playgirl is a quarterly adult magazine published in the United Statesas a response to erotic men’s magazines, such as Playboy and Penthouse.
Playgirl was founded in 1973 and published by Drake Publishers, later renamed Crescent Publishing Group, Inc. After 35 years, In August of 2008, Playgirl announced that it would be shutting down the print addition of the magazine, and it would only be available in the online version. The last print issue of the magazine was announced to be the January/February 2009 issue (Buckley 2008). A year later, in February of 2010, Playgirl announced it would re-launch the print addition of the magazine the following month, with Levi Johnston on its cover. This much anticipated issue of Playgirl received a lot of media attention. Titled "Levi Johnston Goes Rogue," the pictorial featured Johnston nude, covering himself below the waist, and also included an interview with him (Caplan, 2010).
levi-johnston-playgirl-cover.jpg
Levi Johnston on the cover of Playgirl


Fraud
In August of 2000, the Federal Trade Commission charged the owners and operators of www.playgirl.com with over $180 million of online credit card fraud for illegally billing thousands of consumers for services that were advertised as “free,” and for billing consumers that never visited the web site at all (“Playgirl website features,” 2000). The FTC and the New York Attorney General stated that Crescent Publishing Group, Inc. had violated the FTC Act and New York state law and asked them Playgirl to “halt the deceptive and unfair practices, to appoint a receiver to oversee the businesses and to freeze the defendants' assets pending trial to preserve them for consumer redress” (“Playgirl website features,” 2000). All Crescent titles, including Playgirl, were forced to stop conducting any business on the web for 5 years.

Celebrity Nudes
Although there has not been a plethora of male celebrities who have agreed to pose nude for Playgirl, there have been some. Those who have posed nude or semi-nude include:
brad_pitt.jpg
Brad Pitt on the cover of Playgirl

Christopher Atkins
Scott Bakula
Dick Baney
Steve Bond
Jim Brown
Steve Burton
Gary Conway
Jonn Ericson
Fabian
Christopher George
Tyrese Gibson
Sam J. Jones
Big Daddy Kane
Vito LoGrasso
Greg Louganis
Peter Lupus
Peter Steele
Dan Pastorini
Rocco Siffredi
Kevin Sorbo
Don Stroud
Keith Urban
Victor Webster
Lyle Waggoner
Fred Williamson
Darryl Worley
Steve Yeager
Lou Zivkovich
Father MC
Chris Pontius
George Maharis
Shawn Michaels
Levi Johnston
▪ Brad Pitt
▪ Marcus Patrick
▪ Phil Varone
Although Brad Pitt appeared in an issue of Playgirl, there was controversy over the matter. Pitt did not pose for the magazine. According to Pitt, the pictures had been snapped by trespassing paparazzi while he was on a 1995 romantic getaway in the French West Indies with his girlfriend, Gwyneth Paltrow. After Pitt took Playgirl to court, a judge ordered Playgirl to stop shipping issues of the magazine. Other celebrities that threatened Playgirl with legal action include Leonardo DiCaprio and Antonio Banderas (Harrington & Harrington, 2009).

Content
Playgirl consists of both semi-nude and nude photos of men, as well as general interest articles and news. However, in 1987, Playgirl went through a non-nude year and after ten months of non-nude photo spreads, John Paul became the first full frontal centerfold in November of 1987. Playgirl has evolved as sex has become more prominent in society. Content that would not have been in the magazine in the 1980’s, such as foreskin and erections, now appear often, and non-Caucasian models now appear in Playgirl when they didn’t in the past. Also, the magazine has generally featured models that have been circumcised, but has recently shown uncircumcised models. It is clear that over the years, Playgirl has become more explicit than ever before. In 2007, the magazine featured the first ever centerfold to display a pierced penis, along with pierced nipples and navel. In recent years, a team of three young female editors took over and decided to try to “bring Playgirl back to its roots” and cover important issues to women. The magazine still features sexy shots of men, however they are accompanied by work from famous writers such as Raymond Carver and Joyce Carol Oates (“Playgirl died” 2008).

Recognition of homosexuals in Playgirl
Although Playgirl is marketed to heterosexual women, it has also received a lot of attention from gay men, although for the longest time Playgirl never admitted they had gay readership (Rowe, 2003). In 2003, Playgirl's editor-in-chief Michele Zipp admitted that the magazine attracted gay readership, with about 30% of its readers being gay.
There have been several homosexual models featured by Playgirl. One of them, Dirk Shafer, later produced a comic “mockumentary” titled Man of the Year in which he discussed balancing being gay with working as a sex symbol, since at the time he appeared in Playgirl he kept it a secret that he was gay. Another Playgirl model, Scott Merritt, who was Playgirl’s 30th anniversary centerfold, revealed in a 2003 issue of The Advocate that he was gay (Rowe, 2003). Also, Brian Dawson, Playgirl’s April of 1978 “Man of the Month” went on to win a bronze medal in the physique competition at the 2002 Gay Games in Australia. Jim Waldrop, centerfold in the January 1981 issue, was better known as his gay porn star name, Clay Russell, along with Randy Savino, whose gay porn star name was Geoff Ashton. Finally, in the June 2004 issue, Playgirl featured its oldest centerfold in the magazine’s history, Rick Dinihanian, a 54-year-old gay man. Because Playgirl is such a well-known magazine, their recognition of homosexuals was an important stepping-stone for gays everywhere, helping to make gays more acceptable in society.

Other Playgirl Brands
Besides the Playgirl magazine, Playgirl is available both on television and the Internet. At playgirl.com, you can find pictures of semi-nude and nude men, but very little access is available without a membership. With a membership, they offer unlimited access to a year of Playgirl Magazine online, exclusive couple and solo male movie content, and access to thousands of high resolution photos. Playgirl TV is the first adult entertainment network created for women, featuring sexy and romantic vignettes, programs based on popular features in Playgirl magazine, and "how-to" segments. Playgirl TV is available twenty-four hours a day throughout the United States on video-on-demand, and will soon be available in over 15 countries. Also, Playgirl sells their signature erotic toys, lubes, and creams designed specifically for women (“Playgirl Brands,” 2008).

References
(2000). Playgirl website features FTC charges. Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved from
http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2000/08/crescent.shtm
(2008). Playgirl died because it was never honest about its audience. Salon News. Retrieved
from http://letters.salon.com/mwt/broadsheet/feature/2008/11/17/playgirl/vie w/index3.html?show=all
(2008). Playgirl brands. Playgirl. Retrieved from http://www.playgirltv.com/about/index
html
(2011). Playgirl magazine collection. Playgirl. Retrieved from http://www.playgirl.com/
tour/magazines
Buckley, C. (2008). They couldn’t get past the mimbos. The New York Times. Retrieved from
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/fashion/16playgirl.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=playgirl&st=cse
Caplan, D. (2010). Finally! Levi Johnston’s playgirl cover revealed. People. Retrieved from
http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20342360,00.html
Harrington, A. & Harrington, N. (2009). Celebrities in playgirl. Fox News. Retrieved from
http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2009/11/27/celebrities-playgirl/
Rowe, M. (2003). Great Scott: after years of struggling with his sexuality, playgirl centerfold
Scott Merritt is coming all the way out. To his surprise, so is playgirl. High Beam Research. Retrieved from http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-106560151.html