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Playboy is an American men's magazine, founded in Chicago, Illinois by Hugh Hefner and his associates, which has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., reaching into every form of media. Playboy is one of the world's best known brands. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.

The magazine is published monthly and features photographs of nude women, along with various articles on fashion, sports, consumer goods, and public figures. It also has short fiction by top literary writers, such as Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, and Margaret Atwood. The magazine has been known to express liberal opinions on most major political issues. Playboy's use of "tasteful" nude photos is classified as "softcore" in contrast to the more "hardcore" pornographic magazines that started to appear in the 1970s in response to the success of Playboy's more explicit rival, Penthouse.

History

Playboy's original title was to be Stag Party, but an unrelated outdoor magazine, Stag, contacted Hefner and informed him that they would legally protect their trademark if he were to launch his magazine with that name. Hefner and co-founder and executive vice president Eldon Sellers met to discuss the problem and to seek a new name. Sellers' mother suggested the name "The gentlemen's club", but it was Alexx Mills, who had worked for the short-lived Playboy Automobile Company, in Chicago, who suggested the name "Playboy".

The first issue, published in December 1953, was undated, as Hefner was unsure whether or not there would be a second issue. He produced it in his Hyde Park kitchen. The first centerfold was Marilyn Monroe, although the picture used originally was taken for a calendar, rather than for Playboy. The first issue was an immediate sensation; it sold out in weeks. Known circulation was 53,991. The cover price was 50¢. Copies of the first issue in mint to near mint condition sold for over $5,000 in 2002.

The famous logo, depicting the stylized profile of a rabbit wearing a tuxedo bow tie, was designed by art designer Art Paul for the magazine's second issue and has appeared on every issue since. A running joke in the magazine involves hiding the logo somewhere in the cover art or photograph. Hefner said that he chose the rabbit as a mascot for its "humorous sexual connotation," and because the image was "frisky and playful."

An urban legend started about Hefner and the Playmate of the Month because of markings on the front covers of the magazine. From 1955 to 1979 (except for a six month gap in 1976), the "P" in Playboy had a number of stars printed in or around the letter. The legend stated that this was either a rating that Hefner gave to the Playmate according to how attractive she was, the number of times that Hefner had slept with her, or how good she was in bed. The stars, which ranged in number between zero and twelve, actually indicated the domestic or international advertising region for that particular printing.

Since reaching its peak in the 1970s, Playboy has seen a decline in circulation and cultural relevance because of increased competition in the field it founded — first from Penthouse, Oui, and Gallery in the 1970s; later from pornographic videos; and more recently from lad mags such as Maxim, FHM, and Stuff. In response, Playboy has attempted to re-assert its hold on the 18–35 male demographic it once controlled through slight changes to its content and focusing on issues and personalities more appropriate to its audience — such as hip-hop artists being featured in the "Playboy Interview".

The magazine celebrated its fiftieth anniversary with the January 2004 issue. Celebrations were held at Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, and Moscow during the year to commemorate this event.

Circulation

The best-selling Playboy edition was the November 1972 edition, which sold 7,161,561 copies. One-quarter of all American college men were buying the magazine every month. On the cover was model Pam Rawlings, photographed by Rowland Scherman.

Perhaps coincidentally, a cropped image of the issue's centerfold (which featured Lena Soderberg) became a de facto standard image for testing image processing algorithms. It is known simply as the "Lenna" (also "Lena") image in that field.

Today, Playboy is still the largest selling men's magazine, selling about three million copies a month in the U.S.

Bans on the sale of Playboy

In many parts of Asia, including India, mainland China, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, and Brunei, the sale and distribution of Playboy is banned. In addition, its sale and distribution is banned in almost all Muslim countries in Asia and Africa, such as Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. However, it is sold in Hong Kong. In Japan, where the genitals of models cannot be shown, a separate edition of Playboy is published under license by Shueisha.

An Indonesian edition of Playboy launched in April 2006, but the controversy started before the first issue was published. Even the publisher said that the content of the Indonesian edition will be different from the original edition but the government was trying hard to ban it by using anti-pornography rules, since the Indonesian government cannot ban any medium. A local Muslim organization, the Islamic Defenders Front (IDF), also opposed to Playboy being published on the grounds that it is pornography. On April 12 a group of about 150 IDF members clashed with police and stoned the editorial offices of the magazine. Despite this controversy, the edition quickly sold out. On 6 April 2007 the chief judge of the case dismissed the charges because they had been incorrectly filed.

In 1986, the American convenience store chain 7-Eleven removed the magazine from its stores. The store returned Playboy to its shelves in late 2003. 7-Eleven stores had also been selling Penthouse and other, more extreme, magazines before the ban.

In bookstores throughout the world, it is common for Playboy, as well as other adult publications, to be put on a higher shelf than other magazines, thus keeping them out of the reach of most children. They are also often wrapped in opaque plastic bags so as to not reveal the cover.

Playboy was not sold in the state of Queensland, Australia during 2004 and 2005 but has returned as of 2006. Furthermore, due to declining sales, the last edition of the Australian edition of Playboy published was the January 2000 issue.

Litigation

On the January 14, 2004, the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that Playboy Enterprises Inc.'s (PEI) trademark terms "Playboy" and "Playmate" should be protected even in Internet searches that prompt pop-up advertisements. The suit originally started on April 15, 1999, when Playboy sued Excite Inc. and Netscape for trademark infringement. Attorneys Barry Felder, Catherine McGrath and Matthew Moren represented Playboy.

Photographers

Many notable photographers have contributed work to Playboy, including Richard Fegley, William Figge, Arny Freytag, Ron Harris, David Mecey, Russ Meyer, Pompeo Posar, Suze Randall, Herb Ritts, Stephen Wayda, Sam Wu, R Scott Hooper, Mario Casilli, and Bunny Yeager.

Modeling pay
This section needs additional citations for verification.
Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2007)
Playmate of the Month Modeling Payouts
Year Amount
1959-1960 $500
1961-1965 $1,000
1966-1967 $2,500
1968-1969 $3,000
1970-1977 $5,000
1978-1983 $10,000
1984-1989 $15,000
1990-1999 $20,000
2000-2006 $25,000
Playmate of the Year Modeling Payouts Year Amount
1960-1963 $500 plus $250 bonus
1982-today $140,000, an automobile, and a motorbike.

During the 1960s and 1970s all PMOY's received pink automobiles, the hue of pink used was known as "Playmate Pink", the same shade as awarded to Mary Kay's independent sales force, a frequent source of confusion.

Photo editing

There is some controversy over airbrushing (or, in recent times, image editing) that is done on the photos featured in the magazine. Some readers say that this kind of photo-editing takes away from authenticity and makes photographs look unnatural.

One example was the case of Pamela Anderson and the "disappearing labia". In Pamela's original Playboy appearance in the issue of February 1990, there was a rear-view photo with her legs slightly apart and her labia minora plainly visible. In reprints in later "Newsstand Specials" as well as a poster-sized print, Pamela had been "defeminized," this area having been painted over in the color of the object in front of which she was standing.

Similarly, in Rena Mero's ("Sable") first Playboy shoot, one photo of Mero lying on her back was edited to add extra pubic hair over her genitalia. However, in the "50th Anniversary" issue, this picture was printed in its original, unedited state.

Rival adult magazine Hustler and owner Larry Flynt has often been critical of Playboy and their airbrushing. This has often led Hustler to promote the fact that their nude pictorials are never airbrushed and are completely natural. This is a separate issue from whether the models are completely natural: that is, free of silicone breast implants.

Firsts

* First issue with two-page centerfold: February 1954 (Margaret Scott)
* First issue with Leroy Neiman's Femlin: August 1955
* First issue with a Playmate showing pubic hair: February 1956 (Marguerite Empey)
* First issue with a three-page centerfold: March 1956 (Marian Stafford)
* First issue with a Vargas girl: March 1957
* First issue with two Playmates for Playmate of the Month: October 1958 (Pat Sheehan and Mara Corday)
* First issue with Ian Fleming story: March 1960
* First issue with Playboy Advisor column: September 1960
* First issue with Playboy Interview: September 1962 (with Miles Davis)
* First issue with an African-American centerfold: March 1965 (Jennifer Jackson)
* First issue with Playboy 20Q: Cheryl Tiegs in October 1978[5]
* First issue with a man on the cover: April 1964 (Peter Sellers)
* First issue to show a celebrity or non-Playmate's pubic hair: August 1969 (dancer Paula Kelly)[6]
* First issue with centerfold showing pubic hair: December 1969 (Gloria Root)
* First issue with identical twins in centerfold: October 1970 - (Mary and Madeleine Collinson)
* First full frontal nude centerfold: January 1971 (Liv Lindeland).
* First issue with a double sided centerfold (the reverse side was a rear view). January 1974 (Nancy Cameron)
* First issue with signed centerfold: October 1975 (Jill De Vries)
* First issue with Playmate data sheet: July 1977 (Sondra Theodore)
* First issue without staple in the centerfold: October 1985
* First national magazine with Web site: August 1994[citation needed]
* First issue with identical triplets in the centerfold, The Dahm Triplets: December 1998
* First issue with www.playboy.com explicit on cover: February 1999
* First issue with a Playmate without any pubic hair: September 2001 (Dalene Kurtis)[citation needed]
* First issue with female video game characters (most notably Bloodrayne): October 2004

Celebrities

For a full listing, please see List of people in Playboy 1953-1959, 1960-1969, 1970-1979, 1980-1989, 1990-1999, 2000-present.

Many celebrities (singers, actresses, models, etc.) have posed for Playboy over the years. This list is only a small portion of those who have posed. Some of them are:

FILM:

* Marilyn Monroe (December 1953)
* Jayne Mansfield (February 1955)
* Mara Corday (October 1958)
* Ursula Andress (June 1965)
* Carol Lynley (March 1965)
* Kim Basinger (February 1983)
* Janet Jones (March 1987)
* Drew Barrymore (January 1995)
* Daryl Hannah (November 2003)
* Denise Richards (December 2004)

MUSIC:

* LaToya Jackson (March 1989/Nov 1991)
* Fem2fem (December 1993)
* Nancy Sinatra (May 1995)
* Samantha Fox (October 1996)
* Linda Brava (April 1998)
* Belinda Carlisle (August 2001)
* Tiffany (April 2002)
* Carnie Wilson (August 2003)
* Deborah Gibson (March 2005)
* Willa Ford (March 2006)

SPORT:

* Katarina Witt (December 1998)
* Tanja Szewczenko (April 1999 German Edition)
* Mia St. John (November 1999)
* Joanie Laurer (November 2000 and January 2002)
* Gabrielle Reece (January 2001)
* Kiana Tom (May 2002)
* Torrie Wilson (May 2003 and March 2004 (the latter with Sable))
* Amy Acuff (September 2004)
* Christy Hemme (April 2005)
* Amanda Beard (July 2007)

TELEVISION:

* Linda Evans (July 1971)
* Shannen Doherty (March 1994 and December 2003)
* Farrah Fawcett (December 1995 and July 1997)
* Women of Baywatch (June 1998)
* Claudia Christian (October 1999)
* Shari Belafonte (September 2000)
* Brooke Burke (May 2001 and November 2004)
* Gena Lee Nolin (December 2001)
* Rachel Hunter (April 2004)
* Charisma Carpenter (June 2004)

Other editions

The success of Playboy magazine has led PEI to market other versions of the magazine, the Special Editions (formerly called News Stand Specials), such as Playboy's College Girls and Playboy's Book of Lingerie, as well as the Playboy video collection.

The growth of the Internet prompted the magazine to develop an official web presence called Playboy Online or Playboy.com, which is the official website for Playboy Enterprises, and an online companion to Playboy magazine. The site has been available online since 1994. As part of the online presence, Playboy developed a pay web site called the Playboy Cyber Club in 1995 which features online chats, additional pictorials & videos of Playmates and Playboy Cyber Girls that are not featured in the magazine, as well as archives of past Playboy articles and interviews. Playboy Cyber Club has opened up a new door for girls interested in posing. It is much easier to access, because it is online. It attracts just about as many as the magazine, and brought a whole new line of girls. Some Playmates start in Cyber Club and work their way to the magazine. In September 2005, Playboy launched the online edition of the magazine Playboy Digital.

The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has published a Braille edition of Playboy since 1970. The Braille version includes all the written words in the non-Braille magazine, but no pictorial representations. Congress cut off funding for the Braille magazine translation in 1985, but U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Hogan reversed the decision on First Amendment grounds. (Credit: Wikipedia).

 

WWE Divas

Playboy

Since 2003, a WWE Diva has posed nude and appeared on the cover every year:

* 1999: Sable
* 2000: Chyna
* 2003: Torrie Wilson
* 2004: Torrie Wilson and Sable
* 2005: Christy Hemme
* 2006: Candice Michelle
* 2007: Ashley Massaro

Playboy playmates, such as Carmella DeCesare and Karen McDougal have also appeared in Diva Search in 2004. Trish Stratus, Lita, Maria Kanellis, Debra, Sharmell Huffman, Stacy Keibler and Melina Perez have all actively refused to pose nude for Playboy magazine. Stratus has appeared on sports talk show Off The Record and said that she didn't pose because she wanted to be known as "multiple time Women's Champion Trish Stratus" rather than "the girl who posed in Playboy." Stratus also claims that she refused the shoot because she says she can still be sexy without taking her clothes off. Dumas has said that she didn't pose because she felt it was wrong for her character (who was known as a role model for young girls at the time) to pose for the magazine. Stacy refused to pose as she believes it would be better if she "left something for the imagination." Maria has said that she does not wish to embarrass her sister, who is still in high school.

Tammy Lynn Sytch (Sunny) claimed to have refused an offer by Playboy to pose for the magazine. However, Rena Mero (Sable) later claimed that Playboy had actually never approached Sytch, and that Sytch had fabricated the whole story. (Credit: Wikipedia).

 

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Articles

Babes, breasts and bunny ears, by Peter Carlson - 8th September 2003

Models, Modelling, Brands and Fashion and The Media, by Greg Tingle

R-rated... but is it grown-up?, by Jason Hill - 3rd June 2004

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