Online Porn Isn't Behind Playboy's Troubles
It's more about an outdated fantasy lifestyle, writes essayist
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2015 11:59 AM CDT
This cover image released by "Playboy" shows the October 2015 college issue.   (Playboy via AP)

(Newser) – In announcing that it would no longer run nude photos in print or online, Playboy explained that the pervasiveness of online porn forced its hand. But at the New Republic, Jeet Heer makes the case that more is at play here regarding that remarkable decision—perhaps the end of an era in which mostly rich white men had more time and money than their counterparts today to pursue a fantasy world of bachelorhood, consumerism, and bunnies. The magazine, after all, first appeared "in the early days of the great post-war economic boom," with a goal of teaching "millions of upwardly mobile men" how to spend their money.

"What happens to a consumer magazine during an age of economic stagnation, where those who do have high-paying jobs have little time to indulge in the gleeful hedonism of the Playboy Man?" asks Heer. Readership plunges, he answers, from 5.6 million in 1975 to today's 800,000. This move will allow Playboy to pursue a bigger audience, especially online, where it will no longer be censored on sites such as Facebook. But don't pin the blame for these troubles on adult websites. "The shrinkage of readership is surely due not just to competition from the bolder porn found online, but also to the fact that the lifestyle celebrated by the magazine is no longer even a plausible fantasy." Click to read his full post.