Playmate of the Year Redux

PlayboyPlayboy has unveiled Nina Daniele as their latest Playmate of the Year. Why is this such a big deal? Nina is the first woman to be bestowed this an honor since the magazine’s founder, Hugh Hefner died, last year. She also appears on the cover of Playboy as the magazine sports a brand new logo. Instead of the usual, ‘Entertainment for Men,’ the seminal men’s magazine will now sport the ‘Entertainment for All’ motto.

In an 11-page retro-style pictorial, fashion photographer Jennifer Stenglein has shot Daniele as the infamous “Femlin” pinup character. This cartoon was created by Hefner and illustrated by Playboy favorite Leroy Neiman, appearing first in the magazine in 1963. Femlin has as much been featured in the magazine’s pages as on lots of Playboy product. She was a sure totem of an age when the magazine was not only the forerunner of its kind but when the nude centerfold was indeed the ‘center’ of the magazine’s appeal, along with its fiction, “The Playboy Interview” and reviews of music and film. In 2015 nudes were banished from the Playboy, but Hefner’s son Cooper, who runs the brand now-and recently changed the motto-also re-introduced nudity to the magazine last year. That March/April 2017 release was the issue that Nina first appeared.

In an era of #MeToo and the consistent attention on women’s rights, the argument of Playboy’s relevance, even its possible propagation of negative stereotypes, especially in light on the nude now reinstated (and the press that a new Playmate Of The Year is already getting) is a weighty concern for many. But as Connor wrote in a press release he sent to Fox News:

“Playboy’s content has always been and always will be created with the male point-of-view and our take of masculinity in mind. But the truth is the Playboy brand now appeals to a hugely diverse group of fans, including a very substantive way, women who intersect with Playboy at our events, clubs and through our products and fashion collaborations.”