4 Reasons Playboy’s No-Nudity Approach Is Bad News
As I scrolled through headlines a bit ago on the USA Today app, I came across a story that I believe is incredibly important. The headline, “Playboy to Stop Publishing Nude Photos“. This is an enormous statement about our where we are as a culture, and frankly, not a positive one. The story is still fresh, but off the top of my head, here are 4 reasons this is not a positive development.
1. Playboy CEO, Scott Flanders, offers the first:”That battle has been fought and won,” Flanders told the newspaper. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free.” So, there’s that. Playboy fired up its presses in 1953 with the intent of being a strong voice in ushering in new horizons of sexual freedom in the U.S. (and globally, as it grew). Done. That’s over. Sex is the cultural water we now swim in. Say what you want to about Playboy (and other strong voices in the sexual freedom movement), they get things done.
2. The Internet made Playboy obsolete. Yeah, I know, we blame the internet for every cultural sniffle that comes along, but this isn’t that. The simple fact of the matter is that by Flanders own admission, “The onslaught of Internet pornography has made the nude images in Playboy ‘passé'”. In some ways, the very freedom Playboy has been fighting for is now unseating them as a force in that battle. As one man tweeted in response to the USA Today article:
3. We are all carrying this Internet around in our pockets and purses. PARENTS, this includes your children. WOMEN, this includes the men you are dating or married to. MEN, this includes the women you are dating or married to (the days of porn being a man problem are also well behind us). I love my smartphone. I love that my wife and older son have smartphones. They are, in fact, rather smart. They make our lives easier and, in some very small ways, maybe even a little better. Still, the fact that we are all within easy reach of enough porn to make Playboy throw up its hands in surrender should raise an alarm bell in all of us. Technology, the smartphone being the current standard-bearer, is the most crucial area of intentional discipleship the 21st century church faces. Pornography is not the only discipleship issue involved, but it is certainly at the front of the queue. If you and the people you love are not already being very intentional about Internet exposure and content filtering, stop what you’re doing and go visit places like SafeEyes or XXXChurch right now. This is not a thing that conservative evangelical parents do for their sheltered homeschool kids. This is something that everyone concerned with guarding their hearts and minds has to take seriously at this point in history.
4. Playboy is setting its sights on recapturing Emerging Adults – and succeeding. According to the USA Today article, Playboy launched a nudity-free version of its website earlier in 2015. Since then, the median age of their viewer has dropped from 47 to 30. Their stated target audience is 18-30somethings. Why is this bad news? Understand, Playboy is not giving up its ethos of pushing the envelope of sexual freedom and expression. They are simply rebranding and reorganizing out of economic necessity. With the sense of urgency that only a corporate juggernaut that finds itself on the ropes can muster, they are attempting to get their written content, and sexy-though-not-naked images into the hands of every young person in the world via their site, app, and magazine. Their efforts are equally dangerous now, even though they are packaged as palatable for the home and workplace. Articles, humor, sex advice…these contribute to worldview and shape how we view every part of who we are, our place in God’s creation, and God himself.
Here again, the church (not just pastors, but all mature believers), need to come alongside young adults and walk with them.
To my Emerging Adult friends, I implore you to find a voice of Godly wisdom and truth in your life to help you filter the content that floods your tech and your mind.