Playboy, Feminism and Being a Gay Girl

9 Oct

I have been pondering a question that came to mind the other day. How can you reconcile feminism and lesbianism with an interest in Playboy Magazine? I had been watching a documentary on Hugh Hefner and I was thinking about what really attracted me to the magazine (other than the glaringly obvious). And how could I reconcile this with my feminist ideals around the depiction of women in the erotic and porn industries, and being a woman attracted to other women reading a men’s magazine?

To put it simply I love photography and artwork (particularly Pin-up art from the 1940’s – 1960’s) that pays homage to the female form, that focuses on the female subject, that depicts women in all their beauty. And with this there must be a sense of respect from the lens or the paintbrush or airbrush. In my opinion most of the photography and artwork in Playboy subscribes to this. And there is sometimes an ‘old school’ vibe to the images in that they are shot in the style of the 1940’s and 1950’s. Also, there appears to be no exploitation, little or no pornography (as in sexual acts) and these artistic pieces are for the purposes of showing the female form in all its glory. Yes, in many ways these photographs and artwork are purely erotic and for the purpose of arousing a primarily male audience. But I think it goes beyond that. There is a ‘worshipping’ of the female form.

As a lesbian I can view these images, with a sense of admiration of the female form. As a feminist I can view these images with a sense that the women depicted are not being exploited, they have chosen to be photographed nude or semi-nude, and they are open minded.

There is also an element of admiration for the positive role that Playboy Magazine played in the sexual revolution of the 1960’s. It was magazines such as this that bought the discussion of sex and depiction of public hair out of the shadows, from the land of the taboo and bohemian, to everyday society. And thanks to this we can discuss such things openly and we are much more aware of our sexual selves, which is natural to us human beings.

I’m not saying I like all aspects of the magazine. Most articles are of little interest to me. Certain styles of photos depicted,such as the one with a more men’s magazine aesthetic, don’t always appeal to me. I don’t really like the whole playmate presence beyond the photo shoot in the magazine. This could be where I have a flawed like of the magazine.

But all said and done, I just like to look at beautiful photography and artwork depicting women.

Note – these are my own personal views and opinions. I realise others will have views differing to mine, and I respect those ideas too.

20131009-181156.jpg (July/August 2013 issue of Playboy Magazine)

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