It was just after turning twelve years old. Dad was gone, I was digging through his bathroom cabinets. Not sure why. I found one. It was cliche, predictable even. While online porn had not yet made it's way into the common US household, magazines had. Playboy, Hustler and more, they were famous at this point, and every young boy acted like he had seen one, even if he had not. They were talking about them, talking about the women in them and talking about what they thought. Barely middle school and there it was, a thing, a part of culture, to be expected I guess.
I actually didn't want to find it, I was not looking for it, but there it was, along with a stack of others. The impact was what we imagine, the beginning of a long struggle with attraction, secrecy, not so secret, shame and guilt. What was a commonplace cliche of "under the mattress" secrets became a spark, a spark that nearly ruined my life.
Wrong Kind of Fame:
Playboy was famous in middle school and high school. Not famous for its written content, as some have tried to declare. And, not famous for a certain face, name or personality. Rather, it was famous for being the not-so-hidden treasure under a father's mattress or sock drawer, just waiting to be found by the 12 year old son. What better marketing, no internet, no viral social media campaign, no cable show or shock radio commercial. Just the word of mouth fame of a hidden gem, waiting to be found in the average American home. And if my father failed to deliver, the neighbor or friend's home would not. Playboy became famous among the youngest male follower-ship in the history of nude entertainment. They were famous, with an army of evangelists ready and willing to convert others to their cause. Intentional strategy or not, it was a fact of life, they got free advertisement, worth millions, through the social network of middle schoolers.
Stills vs. Vids:
As the reports have shared, Playboy has moved away from nude ladies in their printed mags. No longer does a young boy stumble upon one or two magazines hidden in a home. Now, he can access thousands of pics and vids, some professional, many amateur, that easily compete with the limited inventory the chance encounters offered years ago. Now, videos rule the internet. Hollywood stars make sex videos that "leak" to the public. Those who would be models or actors, can take their clothes off for a day of sex and earn a sort of living. The very carefully taken and edited pics of the past have been replaces with live videos of every kind and... who can compete with that.
Implications & Reality:
The reality is, playboy has a business to run. Online access, 24/7, of pics and vids, have allowed playboy to move from a limited amount of print subscribers to an unlimited amount of visitors to their online content, along with online subscribers who never run the risk of leaving a mag behind for the kids to find. All over the world, guys and ladies satisfy their lust for flesh by accessing the content Playboy puts out. The implications are not quantifiable at this point. happens to a third generation who have grown up with unhindered, un-monitored-and unlimited access to Playboy, via the internet? I'm not sure I want to see it, honestly. All I do is estimate and use my experience. With that, I would say the implications are exactly what we would guess, most every young person, before the end of middle school, with be exposed to pornography, like Playboy, online, possibly while using a mobile device or laptop provided by their parents.
Not the Problem:
The playboy change has been a good news item. It has come and gone and is not being talked about anymore. One reason is, nude ladies in magazine is not issue.
The Real Problem:
The reason playboy went away from print, is for one reason and one reason only, money. They can make more money distributing through the internet. They are not taking a step away from exploiting ladies and frankly, the men and boys who have developed a diet for their content. They are moving to a channel of distribution where they can spread their content wider and more effectively.
THE REAL PROBLEM is the appetite of the consumers that become customers to Playboy. Over the years our hunger, urge and appetites for looking where we cannot touch have grown beyond our ability to even quantify. The vast amount of exploitation and so called "adult entertainment" weighs the internet down in ways no other content does. Should we have an appetite for sex and nudity, sure. Should it be shared with the entire world and made available on my cell phone any time of the day, no. I don't want it, I don't need it and frankly, it makes life very hard to raise kids, stay single minded and completely focused on your spouse or away from women/men who are not yours.
I am thankful that young boys will not find magazines under dads mattress anymore. But, now I pray that young boys not find dads phone, tablet, computer or cable tv. I pray that entire portions of the internet fail, if that is what it takes to protect our young people, friends and family from the lie of this world of entertainment.
Thanks but no thanks to Playboy.