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Playboy buttons up

It’s official. The famous magazine — known for racy and nude photos of women since its first issue in 1953 — is now concealing itself.
Playboy will “continue to publish its sexy, seductive pictorials of the world’s most beautiful women, including its iconic Playmates, all shot by some of today’s most renowned photographers,” the publication said in a statement to E! News. “The magazine will also remain committed to its award-winning mix of long- form journalism, interviews and fiction.”
CEO Scott Flanders has claimed that it is now time to make the necessary change. “That battle has been fought and won,” Flanders told The New York Times. “You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free, and so, it’s just passé at this juncture.”
The magazine has been the epitome of American culture. Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Madonna, Sharon Stone and Kim Kardashian, have posed as cover girls for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, while interviews with major
American figures such as President Jimmy Carter and Martin Luther King Jr. have been featured in its pages.
The publication has been credited with playing an important role in America’s sexual revolution and was a controversial element of the 1960s and 1970s feminist movement.
In 1953, it was a surprising sight and equally secret pleasure to open the first issue and see Marilyn Monroe sprawled out completely naked on a bed of red velvet. Now, that appeal has been stripped away for the single-click satisfaction of the Internet age.
The sudden change in audience demands has hurt not only the magazine’s reputation but also its sales. Currently, there are 800,000 magazines in circulation, a small number in comparison to the 5.6 million that were sold in the United States in the 1970s at the prime of its fame.
“The political and sexual climate of 1953, the year Hugh Hefner introduced Playboy to the world, bares almost no resemblance to today,” Flanders said. “We are more free to express ourselves politically, sexually and culturally today, and that’s
in large part thanks to Hef’s heroic mission to expand those freedoms. We will stay true to those core values with this new vision of ‘Playboy’s’ future.”
Other than the change in wardrobe, the redesign will feature a “cleaner, more modern style,” said Cory Jones, the chief content officer at the magazine, who initially suggested the change and redesigning last year. The highly coveted Playmate of the Month centerfold honor will remain intact but will be modified.
Jones said the magazine’s sex columnist will be a “sex- positive female, writing enthusiastically about sex.” The target audience, Flanders said, is young men who live in cities.
“A little more accessible, a little more intimate,” Jones told The New York Times of what is in store for future photo shoots. The magazine said it is undecided whether the centerfold position will also continue.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Jones said of the decision to button up. “Twelve-year-old me is very disappointed in current me, but, it’s the right thing to do.”

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