As Playboy ditches Playmate Of The Year to celebrate ‘diversity’, we ask if it marks the end of an era – The Sun

IT’S been a highlight for 60 years but Playboy has axed its Playmate Of The Year award for top pin-up – in the interests of inclusivity.

Instead, the men’s mag will celebrate all 12 of its monthly Playmates, and a spokesman said: “The point of this change was to not exclude anyone.”

Here, two writers pay tribute to the lasting appeal of Playboy’s Playmates.

Playboy Playmates brighten up the world

By Colin Robertson, Playboy enthusiast

FIRST they came for the school egg and spoon race . . . now Playboy’s Playmate Of The Year has been stripped of its competitive edge.

There will be no more top of the top shelf, no more best of the breast, no more gold for the centrefold.

Chief Bunny has spoken — no longer will the mag decide which of the year’s Playmate Of The Month models was the best, earning them the accolade Playmate Of The Year.

Now, every Playmate is a winner.

Cue Playmates Of The Year.

A Playboy spokesman declared the change was to honour “all 12 diverse Playmates Of The Year for each of their unique contributions to the brand”.

So the last impossibly beautiful (amen to that!) “unique contributor” to receive the honour   —   the bookend to 1960’s first winner, Ellen Stratton — is dazzling Jordan Emanuel.

Rumours of a change of tack were a heart-in-the-mouth moment for fans of the annual contest, of which I count myself as one.

Because when Playboy starts making noises that it is “freshening up” its brand, “moving with the times”, you fear the worst.

Has the perpetually offended Twitter mob finally got the bunny by the ears?

Will the magazine that probably taught men more about fast cars and great writing than it ever did about sex (Roald Dahl, John Steinbeck, Margaret Atwood all wrote for it) now be covering up its models so some women’s group in Croydon can justify the money they spent on those #boilthebunny T-shirts?

Mercifully not. They’re just giving us more. Playboy Playmates brighten up the world.

Just look at the last few Playmates Of The Year, as I, plus the now quarterly mag’s half a million subscribers, have done at leisure.

They are usually women you have never heard of — no naff celebrities pumped full of fillers.

Dani Mathers, 2015 winner, a vision of blonde sunshine and only 5ft 1in.

Likewise Sara Jean Underwood, another perfect petite Playmate (2007) at 5ft 3in.

Hope Dworaczyk. No, I can’t pronounce 2010’s Playmate Of The Year’s name either but I know how to spell it — H O T.

And what about the ones you have heard of?

The Playmates who weren’t Playmate Of The Year, mainly because they didn’t need the honour?

Marilyn Monroe was on the cover of the first issue in 1953, while Daisy Lowe was September 2011’s cover star.

Kate Moss’s now iconic shoot in 2014 is the Playboy Bunny to end them all.

Yeah, she’d gone nude before, but as a Playmate she had a raw sex appeal that only her string of rock star exes had ever seen.

These women have been picked to peel off because they look amazing.

And we human beings like to look at amazing things.

Oh, and they also happen to BE amazing too.

Take Jordan Emanuel, the first black Playboy bunny to be made a Playmate of the Year.

When she isn’t showing us her incredible figure, she is fronting Women With Voices, “a platform of support, guidance and resources for all women from all walks of life”.

And let’s look at Nina Daniele, 2018’s winner, a breathtakingly beautiful brunette who also runs a boxing gym with classes for kids to learn motivation and confidence.

The list goes on — but I won’t.

Because it’s patronising, isn’t it? Having to justify that when a beautiful woman chooses to take her clothes off and show off her body it’s not the sum total of her being.

So thanks for the clarification, Playboy. Play on!

Nudes had to look like shop workers

By Carrie Pitzulo, author and history professor

IN 1955, Playboy’s subscription manager Charlaine Karalus posed topless for its founder Hugh Hefner’s newly conceived Playmate Of The Month feature under the pseudonym Janet Pilgrim – and became the first ever Playboy Playmate.

Rather than look like professional pin-ups, Heff wanted the girls who posed nude in his magazine to look like they could easily work in an office or shop.

Lengthy written profiles accompanied the girls’ photographs and sometimes they were even photographed sitting eating dinner with their parents.

Society judged women by harsh sexual standards and the idea of sexualising the “good girl” was highly controversial.

But I don’t think Playboy has been given enough credit for opening up the idea that average women enjoy sex too.

The period after World War Two was a very conservative time in America.

Then in 1948, US sexologist Alfred Kinsey published a massive study of sexuality.

It showed that American men and women had a lot more sexual experiences than most were willing to admit to – affairs, same-sex experiences, multiple partners – and it made headline news.

Hefner was captivated by the exposé of sexual hypocrisy and wrote supportive editorials about Kinsey’s work in the student magazine that he edited at the time.

When he launched Playboy in 1953 there were naked women in its pages but they made up less than 15 per cent of the magazine.

In those early days, Hefner was this nerdy guy and the rest of the magazine reflected his more highbrow interests, such as jazz, politics, travel, clothes, food and literature.

Throughout the 1970s the magazine featured writers such as Germaine Greer and took a progressive view on issues like the Pill and abortion.

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