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May 7, 2006 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Every Playboy centerfold, December 1953 - May 2006. [NSFW]
Every Playboy centerfold, 1960-1999. [NSFW, via]
posted by dirtynumbangelboy (123 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dear Mr. Haughey,

As you are the Designated Agent for Metafilter, I am sending you this formal takedown request regarding the linking thereon without permission to certain artistic photographs of ours which are protected by copyright. I am giving notice of these activities pursuant to Section 512 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code. I have a good faith belief that this use of the material is not authorized by the me, any agent of mine, or the law. Please act quickly to remove the materials described above until they comply with this law and the GFDL.

Please advise regarding what actions you take.

Yours sincerely,

Heff
posted by caddis at 8:21 AM on May 7, 2006


Yep. Asking for trouble.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:23 AM on May 7, 2006


Dear Jason Salavon,

If you would like to compare many data sets, probably just about the simplest thing you could do is just 'average' them when a variety of more interesting techniques can be used to extract features from the data (principal components come to mind).

Please distribute to me your digital archive of Playboy images so that I can do a proper analysis of your data.

Yours sincerely,

On A. Lark
posted by onalark at 8:26 AM on May 7, 2006


Lies! The internet showed me years ago that women don't have tan lines, hips, sunspots, hair colors other than bleach blonde or black, any body fat, or boobs that aren't oddly spherical.

These pictures must have been photoshopped.
posted by 517 at 8:28 AM on May 7, 2006


Yikes, what is this doing here?
posted by allen.spaulding at 8:30 AM on May 7, 2006


Boobies.
posted by jonmc at 8:38 AM on May 7, 2006


dear heff

the pictures take longer to load than debbie from dallas ... by the time the page is finished, i could have probably gotten one of these girls' phone numbers, dated her, married her, had a fine brood of kids and put them all through college

sincerely,
pt
posted by pyramid termite at 8:40 AM on May 7, 2006


*Comes back from perusing the boobies tag, tries to look innocent*

Hey jonmc MetaFilter isn't Fark! This post is degrading to women!
posted by onalark at 8:41 AM on May 7, 2006


I am forwarding this material to my chief investigator, Rosey Palm, to determine if said materials are, indeed, worthy of further investigation.
posted by AspectRatio at 8:52 AM on May 7, 2006


why no names? that IS degrading.
posted by yonation at 8:53 AM on May 7, 2006


why no names? that IS degrading.

It's in the caption, though I do find it funny how their last names all correspond to the months of the year in which they appear.
posted by The White Hat at 8:57 AM on May 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'd 'hit it', as they say.
posted by slimepuppy at 9:05 AM on May 7, 2006


Interesting from an historical context, so a little biographical information would have been nice. Who reads Playboy for just the pictures?
posted by mischief at 9:05 AM on May 7, 2006


Does anyone else look back on the girls of that era and just want to cry?

WHAT THE BLOODY HELL HAPPENED?!?!

When did society start telling us we're supposed to like girls who more closely resemble 12-year-old boys than women?

Or that the ideal of beauty today is one that is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to achieve without digitial manipulation?

I mean, it's just depressing. I've had arguments with people over on Fark who seem to really and truly believe that large boobies have their own self-contained anti-grav units. Or that the presence of lines from, say, bending to one side indicates the person is OMG T3H FAT.

I'm not one to say porn causes sexual dysfunction (far from it, says he as he eagerly browses the centerfolds) but I am one to argue that only having access to porn of women who are, for all intents and purposes, impossible most certainly does.

The solution, of course, is the manditory distribution of classic playboys to all children at age 12.

Who's with me?!!!!
posted by InnocentBystander at 9:07 AM on May 7, 2006


Why not look at them all at once?
posted by Zozo at 9:08 AM on May 7, 2006


Wait, that was the second link. How is that NSFW?
posted by Zozo at 9:10 AM on May 7, 2006


Did that last link remind anybody else of this ?
posted by fatbobsmith at 9:11 AM on May 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Zozo: Er, that's the second link in the post.
posted by mendel at 9:11 AM on May 7, 2006


"I've had arguments with people over on Fark"

well, there's your problem.
posted by Igor XA at 9:14 AM on May 7, 2006


Flagged InnocentBystander's comment as fantastic.
posted by greycap at 9:16 AM on May 7, 2006


I find it interesting that the current models look startlingly like the very earliest centerfolds - the excessive digital manipulation results in a "photograph" that looks very much like a painted pinup.

To my eye, the most attractive images are from the 70's and early 80's. The women are beautiful and naked, of course, but they also look like human beings. More current issues of Playboy seem stricken with a Jessica Rabbit fetish.
posted by aladfar at 9:16 AM on May 7, 2006


Those Jason Salavon pictures are actally quite neat looking. NNSFW or anything, but neat.
posted by quin at 9:24 AM on May 7, 2006


Or that the ideal of beauty today is one that is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE to achieve without digitial manipulation?

Judging from the online porn I have seen, if someone is digitally manipulating those videos, he is not doing a very good job.

BTW, my niece stands 5' 6" and is otherwise a perfect size 0.
posted by mischief at 9:26 AM on May 7, 2006


All I can say is "Thank god for the bikini wax". If we could take the body types of the 70s and 80's and get rid of the supa-muffs we would have perfection.
posted by HyperBlue at 9:31 AM on May 7, 2006


Yeah, the women from the mid 60's are so much hotter than what you see in girlie mags today. No silicone, no creepy femme fatale act, no shaved bush, just good old fashioned playful sexy fun. It's also cool to watch the styles change. It's like a mini history lesson in a way.
posted by jonmc at 9:33 AM on May 7, 2006


You know, and while I'm at it, another thing that I approve of:

The RANGE of body shapes and female types in these.

Look at the variance in chest size. Or the different hair. Or general fat distribution. There are women in those, at the voluptuous end, that would qualify as "plus size" today.

PS - The girls of the late 60s and early 70s. Period.

And on preview: Size 0? Thank you for proving my point. What the hell is "Size 0"? I can hardly think of anything more nonsensical. What next, "My daughter is size -3!" Hmm? How about just "my neice is lovely"? What does size REALLY have to do with it?
posted by InnocentBystander at 9:36 AM on May 7, 2006


In the second link, it's interesting how the average centerfold has gotten progressively blonder over the decades.
posted by chris24 at 9:39 AM on May 7, 2006


1954
1970
2006

I weep.

err... NSFW, but that's fairly obvious.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 9:45 AM on May 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Yeah chris24 - the 60's are kinda ruddy, the 70's got really tan, then progressively lighter and lighter.

Artifact of the film being used or more style/trend?
posted by porpoise at 9:48 AM on May 7, 2006


Recently, a coffee table book came out containing all of these and the New Yorker, in an odd effort to sell magazines I guess, reviewed it. The article is an interesting read, but the author notes that in fact there was essentially no variability because Hef knew what he liked and stuck to it:

Six hundred and thirteen women are represented, but there is one basic model. On top is the face of Shirley Temple; below is the body of Jayne Mansfield.

While I wholeheartedly agree that the current ideal of female beauty is as boring as it is unobtainable, Playboy has apparently remained one of the last bastions of curves, even if those curves are not airbrushed to the point where they no longer look like they belong on a human being.
posted by The Bellman at 9:48 AM on May 7, 2006


I knew I'd seen that Salavon link before.
posted by graventy at 9:50 AM on May 7, 2006


First, I doubt that in the 50s, ol' Hugh had a very wide range from which to choose of models willing to take their clothes off for a camera.

IB: you brought up the issue of size and beauty saying it was impossible to achieve without "digital manipulation". Well, you are wrong. My example is anecdotal, but if you want to verify for yourself, head to one of Atlanta's up-scale strip clubs.

Or more simply, just open your eyes and walk down the street.
posted by mischief at 9:51 AM on May 7, 2006


Well, Bettie Page is in there, so it can't be all bad.
posted by jca at 9:55 AM on May 7, 2006


Wow... the 80's... just... wow.
posted by jonson at 9:56 AM on May 7, 2006


"the current ideal of female beauty is as boring as it is unobtainable"

I wouldn't say 'unobtainable'. Men in general are afraid to talk to beautiful women. Beautiful women appreciate a man a) who has the balls to talk to them, and b) talks to them as a higher lifeform than just a set of T-and-A with a life-support system.
posted by mischief at 9:58 AM on May 7, 2006


Nov 72 is Lena
posted by pieoverdone at 9:59 AM on May 7, 2006


When did society start telling us we're supposed to like girls who more closely resemble 12-year-old boys than women?

You must have some REALLY strange-looking 12-year-old boys in your neck of the woods.
posted by melt away at 10:00 AM on May 7, 2006


Oh, and another place where one can easily find 'perfect beauties' is at a gym, which is where I am heading. G'day!
posted by mischief at 10:02 AM on May 7, 2006


I love these pants. And her hair. And her tits. I want to be this girl.
posted by pieoverdone at 10:11 AM on May 7, 2006


Speaking of which, has anyone seen the Bettie Page movie? Any good?

I'm still waiting for it to come out in my area.
posted by InnocentBystander at 10:13 AM on May 7, 2006


Mischeif: Not unobtainable for men, unobtainable for women. I don't mean that the women society considers beautiful are hard for men to talk to (I don't think that's the case, and even if it were it would be irrelevant); I believe that society creates an "ideal body" that is, to me, very boring and, for most women, simply impossible. Leaving aside the fact that airbrushing removes not only skin "imperfections" such as freckles and moles but also the basic folds and wrinkles that characterize actual human anatomy, the fact is that most women are not "Size 0" or even "Size 2" and couldn't be if they tried. It's a shame that so-called women's magazines (and the fashion industry) continue to perpetuate the myth that men are only attracted to such women.
posted by The Bellman at 10:14 AM on May 7, 2006


I'll take Who Cares ? and fries, thank you !

I have to agree with myself and some others, the girls of the late 60s and all the 70s are the ones I like best. They communicate, they look like they are having fun because they probably are ! Also the porn from the same era is a far cry from today porn, which increasingly looks like olympics : Incredibily oversize dicks that look like a liability and confuse kids, ape-like bulk chests that make apes look good, a total lack of hair making everybody look prepubescent, wtf is that ? Also ALL females look exactly the same featureless insipid 18 years old ,give or take hairdo, all looking and treating a poor dick like it's furniture ! Indeed it's a fucking commodity, literally, in porn business.

It's dehumanized porn, its less then cartoonish.
posted by elpapacito at 10:14 AM on May 7, 2006


If we could take the body types of the 70s and 80's and get rid of the supa-muffs we would have perfection.

At what point was it decided that women had to engage in pubic depilation? The phenomenon of breast augmentation and hairless genitals is truly noxious. Oedipal and pedophiliac at the same time.

I weep with the Busy Old Fool.
posted by aladfar at 10:22 AM on May 7, 2006


I dunno, I don't really care one way or the other about shaved snatches, but back when I was sleeping with girls, I definitely appreciated a good trim. Pubic hair != dental floss.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:27 AM on May 7, 2006


quote: "The solution, of course, is the manditory distribution of classic playboys to all children at age 12."

I am absolutely with you, InnocentBystander. The mainstreaming of porn itself (whatever porn is, that's up for debate) doesn't bother me.

What is disturbing and harmful to both men and women is the constant barrage of the unrealistic and ever-narrowing definitions of female desirabilty, and therefore optimal reproductive potential, given most theories of attraction consider the potential partner's ability to produce healthy progeny.

Naked people? Eh. As an artist I've studied naked people all my life. Some people are more attractive than others, no argument there. Lots of men like to look at naked women they find attractive, and lots of women like to look at naked men they find attractive. No argument there either. Instead of limiting oneself to thumbing through old issues of Playboy, why not go back even further in time? A simple google search of nudes in art history brings up thousands of links that offer visual testimony as to the wide variations of what was once deemed desirable.

What is toubling is the ubiquitous and insidious redefining of reality- the denial of the physical variations, and, well, humanity and individuality in all women, at all levels of attractiveness. The women in today's mainstream porn and on the covers of magazines look like they've been churned out by comic book artists in concert with a few elite industrial design houses- their forms simplified and their edges and angles polished to a metallic sheen.

Porn, fashion, cosmetics, etc. are all huge industries. All of these industries depend on perpetuating dissatisfaction with reality, and they market products that are largely in demand because they fill a perceived need, one that wouldn't exist if what they offered wasn't artificially constructed.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that what we've ended up with, this fetishized version of female sexuality and beauty, has been driven less by a logical progression of biologically determined preferences, and more by marketing machinations.
posted by stagewhisper at 10:28 AM on May 7, 2006


I don't think HyperBlue intended to suggest the Hairless vs Supa-muff false dichotomy you're inferring, aladfar.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:30 AM on May 7, 2006


I was appreciating the natural (though airbrushed) bodies, then I noticed they were all white --- for many years. Then an asian woman, then a black woman, then public hair appears and a corset, then....anybody agree that Dec 74 looks like a man? Sorry, I hope she's not some mefite's mom. Or dad.
posted by tula at 10:34 AM on May 7, 2006


Some of these are begging for the Rasterbator treatment.
posted by sourwookie at 10:34 AM on May 7, 2006


aladfar, no one said anything about hairless genitals, just a simple trim or bikini wax is fine. In general women get haircuts and shave legs/pits. why hide the pussy behind a tangled jungle of hair? If I have to I'll bring the machete, but I'd really rather not. Pickin pubes out of my teeth is distracting. I'm not too fond of finding lint down there either. Pretty much of a bonerkill IMHO.
posted by HyperBlue at 10:39 AM on May 7, 2006


Now if you wanna braid, or otherwise style that supamuff....
posted by HyperBlue at 10:42 AM on May 7, 2006


why hide the pussy behind a tangled jungle of hair?

Big hairy bushes are sexy, if you ask me. It's very animalistic, I guess would be the word. The shaved-kitty thing to me makes it lose the quality of revelation by making the most intimate body part just another prepared groomed feature. YMMV.
posted by jonmc at 10:42 AM on May 7, 2006


So if there is such a consensus that late 60s/early 70s porn is best (and FWIW I agree), why is no one trying to create new porn that reflects the best of this period? I thought we were living in a capitalist society that markets to every need, and every discussion of this subject I see comes (heh) to the same conclusion as here - but, aside from niche specialty sites/mags like, say, "Perfect 10" for instance, I see no effort being made to tap into what is presumably a huge untapped market of frustrated porn viewers. Why?
posted by stinkycheese at 10:43 AM on May 7, 2006


Wow. I'd sure like to see that in a sweater.
posted by horsewithnoname at 10:54 AM on May 7, 2006


Candy Loving, January, 1979 (nsfw). Mmm lordy, I feel all near-pubescent again.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:59 AM on May 7, 2006


horsewithnoname, I think you just nailed one on the head. (uhh... no puns intended) Part of the reason the old Playboy centerfolds were interesting is that they weren't all buck bareass naked.

Like her or her. (aside: homina homina pant pant) Would they be HALF as hot if they were standing, splayed out, every inch of their body on display?

No.

It's all about instant gratification. Nowadays porn is so prevailant that there's no art or mystery to it. You've got tits and bush in every shot because no one's going to take time to think about the women, or imagine what they'd look like TOTALLY naked. You look, you fap, you move on to the next girl. These girls had to last you for a month at least. There had to be SUBSTANCE there. They had to support multiple viewings.

And, of course, looking at them TODAY, you basically get a concentrated blast of pure sexiness (in the true sense) that modern porn just can't match.
posted by InnocentBystander at 11:04 AM on May 7, 2006


There had to be SUBSTANCE there. They had to support multiple viewings.

Oh god that's why playboy paper is so resilient ! Guess your theory explains that nicely !
posted by elpapacito at 11:13 AM on May 7, 2006


@melt away:

You must have some REALLY strange-looking 12-year-old boys in your neck of the woods.

InnocentBystander is probably referring to their backsides, and I concur. Check out the average Playboy model these days: huge tits, small waist, small hips and absolutely no ass to speak of. My Pez dispenser has more ass than most recent Playboy models. It's sad that so many of the chicks who wear the low-slung jeans these days have no hips to hold them up. I mean ferchrissakes go eat a steak or something, Kate.
posted by illiad at 11:16 AM on May 7, 2006


I don't know, illiad, I've seen some pretty curvacious pics in playboy lately.... er, a friend of mine has been describing them to me.
posted by tomplus2 at 11:24 AM on May 7, 2006


stinkycheese-

The possibilities of "why"?

Honestly, I think it has to do with a few things, one of which is that such a magazine already does exist, as you pointed out, and it doesn't have a huge following. Our capitalist society does try to market to every need, but creating needs that aren't easily filled in real life and then marketing to those creates a captive audience.

The women in Perfect 10 are more beautiful and naturally human than in most girlie mags, while still being unattainable for most men. It's not enough. The problem is, we are being being pummelled with images and messages telling us we need to deserve to consume things (not just porn) that are not only better than average, better than normal, but *the very best*, the hottest ever, the most perfect, etc.

These digitally and surgically altered bodies and faces have become so commonplace that they are what now reads as normal. A naturally lit picture of a beautiful woman with normal human flaws (?), someone who is possible to find in reality, appears oddly dated and jarring, or even ugly to people who feed themselves a diet heavy in the imagery of modern porn and advertising.

Also, in response to mischief- I see those same "hawt" women you describe from your gym in locker rooms all of the time. They are stunning, they have healthy, attractive bodies, but they still look *nothing* at all like the airbrushed images you're assuming they do.

Yup, we are all made of flesh that puckers, jiggles, bruises, breaks out, develops hair in odd places, moles, wrinkles etc. etc. I hate to be the one to have to break this to you and ruin the fantasy, but someone has got to do it. There is no Santa Claus.
posted by stagewhisper at 11:27 AM on May 7, 2006


I think people romanticize the era of Playboy that corresponds to the first Playboy they got to see.
posted by 23skidoo at 11:27 AM on May 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


I don't think they'll see a letter from Hef. They know this is the kind of thing that acts as advertising.
posted by tomplus2 at 11:28 AM on May 7, 2006


The solution, of course, is the mandatory distribution of classic playboys to all children at age 12.

Fantastic idea, but why're you leaving it so late? More like ... about eight/nine, I'd say. That's when I first spotted a nudie mag :)
posted by kaemaril at 11:32 AM on May 7, 2006


tomplus: Yeah, I'm just speaking from what I heard myself. ;-)

But seriously. Candice Michelle (Ms. GoDaddy herself), for example, is considered muy curvaceous. Check out her booty [NSFW]. Compare that booty to someone like Vida Guerra [NSFW]. There is no comparison; despite Ms. Michelle's obvious charms, her caboose rates a dismal "mediocre" compared to real junk in the trunk.
posted by illiad at 11:35 AM on May 7, 2006


Whoa...I looked at Busy Old Fool's post...

Clicked on the first link...nice, good. Second link, very attractive, yes. Third link OH MY GOD WHAT IS THAT.

I don't read Playboy or watch commercial porn...but even if I did this comparison would probably shock me. Those three pictures are an education in how screwed up our norms are.

If this is what men really want, we deserve this kind of marketing.
posted by pinespree at 11:46 AM on May 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


Wow. Someone has apparently spent a lot of time in the woods.
posted by sourwookie at 11:47 AM on May 7, 2006


I hate to be the one to have to break this to you and ruin the fantasy, but someone has got to do it.

That dosen't ruin it. Makes it better, oddly. Least for me.
posted by jonmc at 11:51 AM on May 7, 2006


What pinespree said. Oddly, because there is just one basic Playboy model type, these make a great way to plot the departure of media from relative normalcy to images and processing techniques that have nothing to do with anything you'd ever encounter in RL.
posted by localroger at 12:11 PM on May 7, 2006


Wow - Busy Old Fool's post is scary. Lopsided plastic surgery ahoy!

(Worryingly, on preview I mistyped that as Busty Old Fool. I had better stop looking at this thread and go and do something productive - like a cold shower, maybe).
posted by greycap at 12:25 PM on May 7, 2006


I'd sure like to see that in a sweater.
Heavens, talk about "the grass is always greener".
posted by Wolfdog at 12:46 PM on May 7, 2006


The newer ones aren't as sexy because you can tell by the bleached hair and implants that getting naked is their job. Workplace photos aren't all that sexy.
posted by jrossi4r at 12:54 PM on May 7, 2006


This has to be the hippest centerfold of all time. It looks like she has been lying around the house all day getting drunk on brandy and listening to jazz. And that "oh your finally home smile," I'm in love with somebody's grandmother.
posted by afu at 1:09 PM on May 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


and here are all the playboy covers.

curiouser and curiouser...
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:10 PM on May 7, 2006


"I mean ferchrissakes go eat a steak or something, Kate."

Yeah, that's good for the arteries. heheh
Some people just have a higher standard for fitness.
posted by mischief at 1:46 PM on May 7, 2006


1991 and 1992. Yes.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 1:47 PM on May 7, 2006


I remember studying these in mythology.

Uhhh... no tan lines?

Willie Tyler's Lester.

The 1980s

Let's ...Get ...Physical
posted by Frank Grimes at 1:52 PM on May 7, 2006


Some people just have a higher standard for fitness.

Mischef I hate to break it to you, but fit and healthy (and sexy!) women come in all sorts of body shapes and sizes. Tall, short, long legs, wide hips, narrow hips, large breasts and small ... Mostly truly fit and healthy women are not a size 0. Instead, they have sturdy legs and rear ends because they are using those muscles to do something.

You're not going to see women who look like Brandi in Playboy, but they're much more representative of how real, fit women look than those awful airbrushed plastic women.

(and Kate's not fit, she's skinny -- learn the difference!)
posted by anastasiav at 2:12 PM on May 7, 2006


Frank Grimes's physical link is almost as horrifying as February 2006, but that may be partially because she looks kind of like this guy...
posted by pinespree at 2:27 PM on May 7, 2006


You're not going to see women who look like Brandi in Playboy, but they're much more representative of how real, fit women look than those awful airbrushed plastic women.

I just LOVE Brandi Chastain. Thanks for the pic of a real woman. Those playboy centerfolds with tits the size of a basketball are ridiculous.
posted by bim at 2:31 PM on May 7, 2006


I just want to state that Breakfast Club made promises that reality didn't deliver.
posted by 517 at 2:34 PM on May 7, 2006


You all talk like no 10s exist outside of Playboy's centerfold. That is absolutely untrue. I know many 10s, and I see them every day in public. They do not require digital enhancement, and although a few have gone the surgery route, many more are natural, albeit with careful diets, strenuous exercise and a cosmetologist's knowledge of makeup. Further, a good many of them are intelligent, informed and successful (outside the sex industry).

Unless of course many of you really do live in The Matrix, the real world is not digitally enhanced.

As for fitness, ask a cardiologist about body fat levels. Then get back to me on the difference between fit and clogged arteries.

] I didn't say size 0 is the perfect size either, fitness comes in all heights and skeletal structures. I referenced my niece only as an example of someone who is a natural size 0. [
posted by mischief at 2:36 PM on May 7, 2006


There's a joke in here somewhere about beauty standards, TubGirl and that the ridiculous song about wishing your actual girlfriend was as smoking as the singer believes herself to be, but I looked and looked and just couldn't find it. Oh, well, back to the boobies.
posted by Sparx at 2:37 PM on May 7, 2006


Readers of this thread may find the Jeff Krulik documentary "King Of Porn" amusing. Or something.
posted by zoinks at 2:49 PM on May 7, 2006


I think this shows very clearly that all the good things in the world died with the 1960s.
posted by blacklite at 2:54 PM on May 7, 2006


mischief writes "'I mean ferchrissakes go eat a steak or something, Kate.'

"Yeah, that's good for the arteries. heheh
"Some people just have a higher standard for fitness."


You're being deliberately obtuse. There is an enormous difference between thin people who are healthy and fit--athletes, for example, whether professional or just average gym-goers--and those who are anorexic--most supermodels.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:22 PM on May 7, 2006


As has been said before, all the playboy centrefolds across all years are all the same look - Hugh's fetish. I don't share Hugh's fetish, but I suspect his magazine has noticeably shaped society to share it.

Fer' example, the idea in society that bigger breasts = better, with no upper limit, no matter how far out of whack the proportions get, was that as widespread and so vitally important to "sexy" before Hugh came along? I suspect it wasn't, (ie it was, but to a much lesser extent) but I'll generously allow someone else to do the research :-)
posted by -harlequin- at 3:51 PM on May 7, 2006


You're not going to see women who look like Brandi in Playboy, but they're much more representative of how real, fit women look than those awful airbrushed plastic women.

Well, to be fair, Playboy rather famously DID ask Brandi to pose but she declined.

Also, I LOVE the 50s and 60s centerfolds.
posted by LeeJay at 4:03 PM on May 7, 2006


mischief, you live in Las Vegas -- I'm willing to bet you're seriously underestimating the amount of surgery on view. In NYC, cosmetic work (botox, lipo, implants, eyelifts, various permutations of facelifts) has become more or less routine among a surprisingly wide range of people. I'm talking about lawyers, editors, managers -- people who, unlike Vegas showgirls, don't literally make a living off their looks. As others have pointed out, today's Playmate body -- large breasts, narrow hips, long legs -- is extremely rare in nature. As for your niece: of course some people are naturally very fine-boned and slim, as I'm assuming she is. Most people aren't. As the changes in the Playboy models show, that fact used to matter much less than it currently does.

That's all anyone's saying here: the range of female beauty (or even desirability) has narrowed, and that's led to increased surgical manipulations. Sure, it's possible to have a Barbie-esque body, perfect features, and flawless skin via nothing more than diet, exercise, and the right parents. But there are far fewer of these genetic paragons than you seem to think. Nowhere near enough to fill up all the lad mags, chorus lines, big-budget movies, tabloid TV shows, etc.

By all means, enjoy the view. But it's not the Seven Sisters off the coast of County Kerry as much as the Tuileries in Paris -- pristine nature v. skillful intervention.
posted by vetiver at 4:03 PM on May 7, 2006


vetiver:

the range of female beauty (or even desirability) has narrowed, and that's led to increased surgical manipulations.

I would have thought it's also (if not moreso) the other way around - that it's the increase in surgical capibality that drove the narrowing in the range of beauty. Surgically-assisted beauty raises the bar and the norm.

Teeth whitening and boob jobs, formally exotic things, have become accessible to the masses now. Likewise, whatever exotic proceedures the showgirls and movie stars are doing today will be mainstream and affordable 20 years from now, and the "entry level" for beautiful will rise with that.

It's been happening for hundreds of years.
posted by -harlequin- at 4:12 PM on May 7, 2006


I am totally turned off by the Playmate/porn star airbrushed fake blond blond enormous breast impant thing. Never did anything for me.

That said, the late 60s/early 70s have a lot of sexy centerfolds. These women actually look natural, healthy, and human.

You can see it starting to go bad by '74, and progressively worse all the way up until today, with these cartoon-titted shaved, pierced beasts that so many guys today seem to lust after. You can have 'em.
posted by banishedimmortal at 4:19 PM on May 7, 2006



Does anyone else look back on the girls of that era and just want to cry?

WHAT THE BLOODY HELL HAPPENED?!?!


Um, nothing? The pictures look pretty much the same to me, other then the photographic style and over-use of makeup. They certanly don't look anything like "12 year old boys"
posted by delmoi at 5:21 PM on May 7, 2006


Man, the guys at playboy really never had any taste in women. From the very beginning, plain jane humdrum women. I guess if you're going to turn women into products you've got to go for the mass appeal, but still it's sort of creepy how Playboy has so effectively institutionalized tastelessness.
posted by nixerman at 5:28 PM on May 7, 2006


So if there is such a consensus that late 60s/early 70s porn is best (and FWIW I agree), why is no one trying to create new porn that reflects the best of this period?

I think part of the problem is that mainstream porn of the time had much higher production values (shot on film) and the barrier to entry was higher because of it. Nowadays, it's all shot on video and anyone can do it. But the vast majority of people doing it aren't artists.

And of course, there will always be more money in the 'legitimate' industry for any filmmakers good enough to make good 'art'.

But yeah, I 'grew up' on my dad's old Betamax and VHS porn from that time period, way better then the crap we have today.
posted by delmoi at 5:33 PM on May 7, 2006


I don't get the fake tit thing at all, personally. They're a huge turnoff.
posted by delmoi at 5:34 PM on May 7, 2006


Delmoi... if you honestly don't see a difference between the 60s girls and the 90s girls... I.... uh...

I don't know. Fuck it. You clearly are just trolling. That's like saying you don't see a difference between Anna Kournikova and Venus Williams.
posted by InnocentBystander at 6:07 PM on May 7, 2006


Anna Kournikova has bigger tits, right?

*ducks*
posted by graventy at 6:42 PM on May 7, 2006


InnocentBystander:

It's not so much that there isn't a difference, than that the difference is more or less rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic of Hugh's ideal of what women should be. If you don't care for Hugh's boat in the first place, changes in Hugh's deckchair arrangement are of little significance - you're still looking at the same damn boat, whether she's posed differently, shaved differently, surgically altered, wearing leg warmers, or whatever.

Ok. I think I've stretched that metaphor far enough. :)
posted by -harlequin- at 6:43 PM on May 7, 2006


Alan: Idea for a programme, ladyshapes with Alan Partridge. I look at the changing shape of ladies
through the ages, from fat, chubby ladies of the Renaissance, to hard-faced Cromwellian sourpusses,
right up to twentieth-century well-toned women like [picks up picture of Jet] Sharon Davies and Jet
from Gladiators.

Girls who look like boy children with tits and shaven parts. What does this say about society?

Then again, in Japan they have a penchant for schoolgirls with dicks and vaginas. And huge breasticles.
posted by asok at 6:52 PM on May 7, 2006


'Girls who look like boy children with tits and shaven parts'

Generic millenium models, not Jet and Sharon obviously.
posted by asok at 6:54 PM on May 7, 2006


You clearly are just trolling.

Allow for the possibility that people who disagree with you have intelligent reasons for doing so.

If you think that the pinups from the 50s and 60s era Playboy totally pwn the ones from the 90s and beyond, then more power to you. But if you think there's some complete paradigm shift in what Playboy is all about, well that's just malarkey.

Modern playboy centerfolds exist that leave plenty to the imagination, with the ladies posing in what are essentially a recycling of what are poses from years gone by. Not every model has her shit all splayed out in the open. Playboy has not become Hustler, not by a longshot. It's still a bunch of wholesome young thin women who are naked (or very nearly naked) but without touching themselves or making nasty faces.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:07 PM on May 7, 2006


Girls who look like boy children with tits and shaven parts. What does this say about society?

Could you (or anyone) making this claim actually point out girls you think look like '12 year old boys'.

Just seems like people are making this claim without even looking at any of the pictures at all.
posted by delmoi at 7:55 PM on May 7, 2006


Actual sexiness in the playboy centerfolds over the years could be said to follow a logarithmic decay. Which makes it difficult to notice a change month to month or even year to year, but the change is obvious when models decades apart are compared.
posted by telstar at 8:14 PM on May 7, 2006


Ahh, the evolution of the landing strip.
posted by knave at 8:28 PM on May 7, 2006


Naked women are fun to look at.
Thanks for the post.

I really like the 80's the best. Something about them all seem so much more kinky then how sex is portrayed today. But I grew up in the 90's for whatever it is worth.
posted by nickerbocker at 9:59 PM on May 7, 2006


Some centerfolds went on to stardom.
posted by Kibbutz at 10:04 PM on May 7, 2006


Metafilter: I read it for the articles.
posted by chemoboy at 11:02 PM on May 7, 2006


And at least one got fired from her job for posing.

From wikipedia: "The 1989–1990 [Growing Pains] season was retconned out of existence as a dream of Mike Seaver's after Kirk Cameron insisted that new castmate Julie McCullough be fired for posing for Playboy magazine."

Of course she had posed three years before getting the role on Growing Pains.
posted by Tenuki at 11:14 PM on May 7, 2006


Yeah, that was Christian of Kirk.
posted by NortonDC at 11:23 PM on May 7, 2006


That said, the late 60s/early 70s have a lot of sexy centerfolds. These women actually look natural, healthy, and human.

No doubt. My only complaint is that they need more Latin girls. Hottest girls on the planet.
posted by j-urb at 11:39 PM on May 7, 2006


Whoever did thier photo retouching in the early 90s had a hell of a heavy hand. It looks like s/he painted the model's faces on.
posted by moonbiter at 1:24 AM on May 8, 2006


On a lot of the later pictures it seems like they’re shining a spotlight on the models faces. Sure it hides blemishes but it doesn’t match the lighting for the rest of the body and makes it look like the face doesn’t belong.
posted by Tenuki at 2:22 AM on May 8, 2006


Could you (or anyone) making this claim actually point out girls you think look like '12 year old boys'.

Just seems like people are making this claim without even looking at any of the pictures at all.
posted by delmoi at 7:55 PM PST on May 7 [!]


Well, the 2006 example linked above does have narrower hips than my husband, while having larger breasts than my well-rounded mother. She doesn't look exactly like a boy - she looks like a boy who has had very large and incongrous breasts attached to him, and then way too much makeup plastered on.

Or, if you prefer, "Picture a baseball bat with two canteloupes taped to it."

There is something which has changed in the playboy centrefolds, and not for the better. (I am not being in the least nostalgic - I am bi, but I'm also only 28, so there is no way I would have ever seen the pre-1977 centrefolds, since I wasn't alive.) The earlier centrefolds are all very beautiful women, certainly not average in the least, but also many (not all) are more real looking. Their skin had a mottled quality that makes it look soft, rather than polished. It's more touchable. They are most of the time more modest, but also much sexier, because they look like they have personality. People are much sexier than maniquins.

Not all were like this, and maybe fake looking but with more showing has always been more popular. Apparently, the centrefold with the most fan mail ever is a horrible picture [NSFW] of a girl with a very bad wig, and large breasts (August 1967). And yet this very pretty image [NSFW] (a much better photograph as well as a very beautiful girl) was the most disliked (November 1960). (According to the New Yorker article linked above.)

This image [NSFW], from February 1958, is just stunning - her face is wonderful. And yes, the photograph does make you focus on her face.
posted by jb at 4:45 AM on May 8, 2006


I know some people will laugh, but I think there is material for a couple of academic articles in this. The obvious would be on the changing fantasy presented in the pages - how the playboy centrefold has changed over the years, both to reflect the changing culture, but also perhaps become less mainstream to it? (It seems to me that the earlier centrefolds look more like the mainstream notions of beauty than the later - the later are certainly one ideal, but not the one we see in movies, for instance.) I could also see a photography article in there, on the changing composition and situations. There are some excellent photographs among some of the earlier (the famous Lena image is very well composed), and more variety in general.
posted by jb at 4:54 AM on May 8, 2006


the 2006 example linked above

Which month is that?
posted by 23skidoo at 6:17 AM on May 8, 2006


I am not sure that soccer player is not a man. I will just assume that it was a very unflattering picture.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 7:45 AM on May 8, 2006


Like our taste in food, our taste in sexual partners is largely imprinted by early experience. What Gen Y thinks is the sexual norm was selected by Gen X photographers and magazine editors as edgy, risque content to capture attention and market share.

Personally my taste tends towards an unmodified, unshaven body, but ultimately there's no greater turn on than a smiling face and an open, welcoming posture.

When Playboy stopped showing smiles on their centerfolds, I lost interest entirely.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:56 AM on May 8, 2006


I am totally with afu, this one is one extremely hot picture. And, the thing is, it is barely nude at all, but totally sexy and wonderful. The decline of playboy for sexiness is sad. Perfect 10 is much better, but all in all, the nudies are shot for a while I think.
posted by Bovine Love at 11:05 AM on May 8, 2006


I am too lazy to go find her CF on that link, but Heather Carolin (April 2002 according to google) is mindblowingly hot. I could name other more recent centerfolds that could compete with anyone the 60s and 70s had to offer, but she is enough. Wow. And Corinna Harney (PMOY 1991) was THE girl of my teenage fantasies. I think I still have the 1991 Playmate Review in my closet somewhere. I was too young to buy it so I paid some college guy five bucks to buy it for me in the mall bookstore. =P

And actually bothering to look at some of the other recent centerfolds at the link, PB does do so much editing to the pictures that most of the girls are far more beautiful if you find non-PB pictures of them online than they are in the centerfolds, which is amusing. Even in the late ninties and early 2000s it was nowhere near as bad as it is now.

And the unnatural "I'm naked and angry!" expressions don't help either. Smiles are good, people. I thought PB was supposed to show us our fantasy girl, at some point they have forgotten that. A beautiful girl smiling at you makes you want to throw your coat on a mud puddle for her, a lot of these girls have expressions that would make me want to give her a shrink's buisness card instead.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 11:21 AM on May 8, 2006


A little more than NSFW - Traci Lords (yes, it's a rotten.com link, NSFW but nothing terrible) was 15 in September 1984 when she was the centerfold. Her pic is in there, so caveat jerker and stuff.
posted by Ryvar at 2:34 PM on May 8, 2006


Great post. Playboy always had classy pictures, tasteful, artsy photos of beautiful women. I agree with many of you, that the '60s and '70s were some of the best. And I remember glancing through my ex's magazines from the '90s and seeing some gorgeous women in great poses (from my artistic point of view ;) ) And I agree with weretable-smile please!!! They need to look like they WANT to have sex, or at least they've been thinking about it. Even us "less than perfect" women know that the best sex starts in the head....and travels.
posted by annieb at 5:13 PM on May 8, 2006


Anyone see where you can grab them all at once?
posted by Mr_Zero at 5:46 PM on May 8, 2006


Ryvar, that was the September 1984 issue of Penthouse, not Playboy.
posted by Tenuki at 5:48 PM on May 8, 2006


Oh. Well . . . shit.

I'LL GET YOU NEXT TIME, GADGET!
posted by Ryvar at 10:39 PM on May 8, 2006


Like our taste in food, our taste in sexual partners is largely imprinted by early experience. What Gen Y thinks is the sexual norm was selected by Gen X photographers and magazine editors as edgy, risque content to capture attention and market share.

Personally my taste tends towards an unmodified, unshaven body


How do you explain all the younger people who have said that they think the older photographs are the most beautiful? Both my husband and I, who can of age in the 90s, think the women from the 1950s and 60s are the best photographs.

That's not saying culture doesn't matter. I live in Britain now, and I find both men and women here are much more likely to be anti-body hair on women and pro heavy make-up, though maybe that's just Channel 5 and the local night clubs. (I was watching a makeover/dating show last night - channel 4 even - where three men were telling a really cool looking pixieish girl with great hair and funky clothes that she looked "messy" and "didn't take care of herself" and wasn't "glam" enough for them to date her. That was just so so disturbing, especially as none of them were lookers or even well-groomed.) Where I was in Toronto - the types of people I hung out with, places I went - body hair was fine, and tomboyish looks were in.

But I also question whether current Playboys really do express the beauty ideals of the mainstream culture. I think they have become a form of extreme culture. The earlier centrefolds look like movie stars, television beauties and models from their own time;the first model was, after all, Marilyn Monroe. (I think that centrefold was from an agency).

But the 1980s and 1990s centrefolds do not fit in the ideals of beauty of their own time. The 1980s models don't look like Phobe Cates or Ally Sheedy or the girl who was in Flashdance, all of whom were slender and not especially well-endowed, but thought to be great beauties (and Phoebe Cates certainly still is). Some of the recent ones might look vaguely like Britney Spears (after a canteloup insertion), but none look like Uma Thurman or even Julia Roberts (who was the image of beauty when I was 13).
posted by jb at 3:22 AM on May 12, 2006


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