"A magazine filled with pictures of naked women.. ("girls," as the oh-so-enlightened Hef calls them).. from its inception, Playboy has sold the fantasy that women express their sexuality by lolling about nude, perhaps wearing a necktie or jaunty fedora, striking fetching poses in case any men happen to be watching through the window. Perhaps this is the real truth behind the joke about the guy who reads Playboy "for the articles"—it's not that the writing is that great but that the pictures aren't that sexy. If Hefner really was the champion of women's rights he claims to be, it seems he might have hired a few more of them to write, not pose, for his magazine."
Over the past year, I've seen an uptick in old media insulting Playboy and founder Hugh Hefner. It's always the same tired jokes about a teenager keeping it under his mattress or Hef being a dirty old man. There's always a reference to the classic "read the articles" statement, as if it's somehow an illogical statement, and the article ends with some generic 'scathing' critique of the mag exploiting females.
When Hefner created the magazine that would launch an empire, he included non-pornographic nudes. The magazine still does. There are far, far less pictures than the average psuedo-feminist journalist believes, and the types of images would probably shock non-readers as well. The female body is an art form, and to think that a guy doesn't want to admire attractive women defies what we know about human instinct and nature. The pictures in Playboy do not get overtly sexual like, for example, Maxim (where the women are slightly more covered but tend to be spread-eagle or sucking on objects quite often) and run as close to 'tasteful' as pictures of nude females can.
But it isn't about that. Over the decades, Playboy has been the source of groundbreaking work, from the most hard-hitting interviews with high-caliber folks (Jimmy Carter, Castro, and Bill Gates are just a few of the infamous examples) to the most discerning fiction selections (Nabokov's last, unfinished work was first printed in Playboy several months ago) and timely investigative journalism to political news that went unnoticed by the major news organizations to the detriment of the people.
The pictures take up such a small section of the magazine that a regular reader might wonder where these journalists get off making such wildly inappropriate accusations.
I used to subscribe to several magazines. I outgrew the immaturity of Maxim and their sister publications, began reading my sports news on the internet, and fell out of practice on my PC building hobby. The only two magazines I still receive are Rolling Stone and Playboy, and I'll be devastated at the loss of journalism if either of them are shuttered. I won't, however, be devastated if we lose the snide journalist judgements of Playboy's content.