Sexuality in Playboy: Factors and Interpretations | Free Essay Example

Sexuality in Playboy: Factors and Interpretations

Words: 2225
Topic: Entertainment & Media
Updated:

Introduction

In contemporary society, the expression of sexuality is viewed by antagonistic feminists as the pinnacle of moral decay. However, irrespective of the stand, both the protagonists and antagonists share the same view that human beings have had a deep interest in pornographic material in the image of sex. Authors share a common definition of expression of sexuality as an erotic representation material that is solely designed for instigating sexual arousal.

Thus, this reflective treatise attempts to explicitly explore the magazine media in the expression of sexuality. Specifically, the paper reviews the topic of sexuality in the magazine, Playboy. The choice for magazine medium was formed by its wide coverage and almost platinum status in the US as a platform for expression sexuality. Besides, the magazine is very popular with the male gender, who is the major consumers of the sexuality expression displayed in the magazine.

Issues of representation scholars are typically interested in sexuality in Playboy

According to Van-Doorn (2010), sexual expression in print media can be traced to the early centuries of the Greek and Roman empires. In the early centuries, Romans and Greeks had frescos indicating threesomes, cunnilingus, and fellatio. Interestingly, as early as the second century, the Kama Sutra handbook of India was more of a sex manual than a relationship book. Despite the rapid development of this industry, anti-sexual expression feminists are vocal in the negative effects of sexuality in magazines on gender stereotyping of women (Van-Doorn 2010). This group opines that excessive expression of sexuality is the sole contributor to gender stereotyping, violence towards women, and dangerous sexual behavior among the male population.

The first verifiable incidence of sexual expression in print media was spotted in 1800. For instance, the book, Memoirs of a Woman Pleasure, was a sexual expression material that had an erotic description of sexual acts. As technology progressed, Louis Daguerre was accredited for the primitive daguerreotype photography that was adopted by producers of magazines with the sexual expression theme such as the Playboy (Van-Doorn 2010). The explosion occurred in the 1960s when doors were opened in sexual magazines for explicit sexual content. Reflectively, the fever pitch was reached following the launching of the Playboy. As a result, access to print sexual expression Playboy magazine transformed from private behind closed doors to the public (Russell, 2009).

Sexuality expression in Playboy and relation to academic research

Sexuality expression is the Playboy magazine is in the form of semi-nude and arousal pictures of beautiful and mature females as sexual objects of satisfying the male fantasy. The females in the pictures pose provocatively and display their sexuality in the form of pooping breasts, tights underpants, and exaggeration of their physique curves (Pitzulo, 2014). The Playboy magazine has exploited the long desire to provoke the imagination and fantasies of the male gender towards sexual appeal coming from the female gender. The topic of sexual expression is packaged in the magazine as the origin and focus of setting trends of what men consider as ideal sexual expression, which a woman should have and be willing to practice.

Van-Doorn (2010) identifies a myriad of factors as responsible for the widespread of sexual expression in print media in modern society. Van-Doorn (2010) carried out extensive study in feminist perception on sexual expression in the print media. The main three categories identified in his article are the gratification of the exploitative male culture, liberal, pro-sex positions. Under the male culture gratification model, the author established that the feminists argue that the exploitative male culture often engages the services of women in sexual expression materials as commodities that can be bought and used as sex pets.

Liberal view entertains the thought of given women the choice to either be in a sexual expression material or not since the subscribers of this thought believe in self-consciousness and independence in decision making among the womenfolk. In an interesting twist, the pro-sex feminists explore hidden advantages that sexual expression materials have on women. Among the identified benefits are self-actualization, economic gains, and self-identity (Pitzulo, 2014). Therefore, these divergent opinions make sexual expression arguments a thorny discussion of all times.

Arguments for and against sexual expression in print media among feminists became common in the 1980s as Anti-Pornography and Pro-Pornography feminists emerge in the society following the sudden surge in pornographic materials in the market. Van-Doorn (2010) states that the feminist movement was shaken as proponents and opponents of pornography among the women folks unfolded with the emergence of self-expression and proactive women hood.

Members of this school of thought dismissed excessive sexual expression in print media as a contributor to sexism, hideous devilish acts, and results in unending visual influenced violence on women folks. For instance, the ardent Anti-Pornographic feminist Mackinnon is very assertive in criticizing pornography. In her arguments, she re-conceptualizes the display of women as sexual objects as a violation of women’s civil rights. Mackinnon further claims that coercion is a common phenomenon in the sexual expression in the print media industry as men seek to transform women into sex object receptacles (Van-Doom, 2010).

Factors that may have influenced Playboy sexuality representation

The use of print media as a production factor in Playboy magazine is ideal since this traditional medium has formed an integral part of expressing sexuality in the magazine. Dynamics in the use and consumption of print Playboy magazines remain significant since they possess numerous domineering factors. The most eminent factor is the popularity of print media. Cope and Phillips (2011) assert that “most individuals find reading a printed book to be easier on paper than via a computer screen, or watching a television program on a television set or a movie on a theatrical screen” (p. 56). With this preferred aspect, familiarization to the printed Playboy magazine has increased with the unique membership and delivery alternatives. Since consumers want the product to remain discrete, print media is ideal as customers can be mobile while consuming the sexual expression material.

How others have interpreted the representation of sexuality in Playboy

Several views have been expressed on sexual representation in Playboy magazine as responsible for basic moral standards degradation, manipulation, and finally skewering the sexuality subject towards a permanent imbalance between principles and control of environment pressure on women’s sexuality. From the online review of the magazine, more than 60% of the confessed feminist supporters recommended complete illumination of the visual expression of women as sexual objections through the nude pictures since most actors are sexually abused, disparate and poor women who are forced by circumstance to participate in the demoralizing erotic demeanors to satisfy the blotted male ego (Burr, 2015).

Reflectively, antagonists of sexual expression in playboy are mainly feminists with sensible arguments on why the erotic images of naked women are immoral. These feminists argue that pornography displays women as loose and immoral members of society. These critics resonate that constant competition among sexual expression magazines such as Playboy is responsible for verbal abuse and dominance by males over the female members of the society (Goldhill, 2015). Therefore, the resultant degradation and soaring aggression levels created make feminists uncomfortable. Moreover, many antagonists of Playboy sexual expression magazine are certain that the sex life of people is greatly affected by aggressive images since negative stereotyping is bounded in the women folks who cannot express their sexuality as the actors in the magazine (Van-Doorn 2010).

Audience theories in explaining the debate on sexual expression in playboy

Many people have had heated debate on the negative effects of sexual expression in Playboy as responsible for the distortion of sexual expression among the male and female gender in real life. These controversial debates confirm a direct relationship between aggression and actual nonconsent sex among the male population. Sexism and misogyny culture is inclined towards misogynistic attitudes (Pitts, 2015). As a result, the effect may be seen in self-esteem, happiness, security, and relationship to women folks.

Therefore, the protagonists and antagonists are in constant conflict with the antagonists asserting that dissemination, consumption, and production of pornographic material enslaves womenfolk into a cubical of stereotyping from the insensitive male population. In the process, the basic moral standards are degraded, manipulated and finally skewed towards a permanent imbalance between principles and control of environment pressure on women’s sexuality (Burr, 2015).

In direct contrast, Pro-Pornography feminists present divergent opinions on the position of sexual expression towards females. Being part of the few but vocal Pro-Pornographic feminists, some debaters explain their stand on sexual expression in print media as a free will art which men and women engage in a likee basis of participating in an erotic display of sexuality in Playboy has little to do with coercion, but self-consciousness and need to curve a unique culture among the characters who explore their sexuality (Pitts, 2015).

This group argues that men and women are equal partners in the sexual display art since the body of a woman is in itself her right, as long as, self-consciousness forms part of the right (Van-Doorn, 2010). Therefore, women are free beings in the society with an equal space as males to discover, experience and willingly participate in erotic sexual image display in the Playboy magazine. Besides, numerous personal and political benefits women get from acting pornography include financial gains, popularity, and recognition.

Despite a series of bills and laws that have been passed to censure sexual expression materials, the print media industry has devised successful ways of fighting censorship that is threatening their survival. For instance, private membership delivery of the Playboy materials has proven successful since the target population is assumed to be mature enough (Goldhill, 2015). Also, the production of educative sexual expression content in the Playboy is slowly but steadily gaining ground in the homes of America. However, the general perception of the mass on sexual expression in Playboy is negative. This view can be accredited to acculturation and idealistic social influences (Ogas and Gaddam, 2012).

Low self-esteem, maladaptive coping skills, disturbed self-identity, poor interpersonal skills, lack of social support, and increased vulnerability to stress have all been found in higher prevalence in an adult who spends more time with sexual expression materials than adults who regulate their consumption of such materials. Stress is a holistic phenomenon with emotional, biological, cognitive, and coping aspects. A review of the pathophysiology of the stress response and its impact on immunity provides a foundation for consideration of reviewing the impacts of stress on the frequency of consumption of sexual display print materials such as the Playboy magazine (Ogas and Gaddam, 2012).

Theories of stress, connections between stress and health, perception of stress, coping, cognitive appraisals, and stress management efficacy are presented. This sets the stage for the exploration of mindfulness approaches to understanding the increased dependency on sexual expression materials to relieve stress (Russell, 2009). As behaviors are repeated and become more practiced, they become automatic. Non-attention, automatic behavior, and preconceived expectations interfere with learning and limit options for response. Being mindful of new creative and effective coping allows continued learning and growth. Recognizing automatic behaviors and emotions provides an opportunity to detach from negative emotions and free up cognition (Ogas and Gaddam, 2012).

Cognitive restructuring is appropriate when the cognitive appraisal is faulty. The purpose of cognitive restructuring is to widen consciousness through first awareness than through changing faulty perceptions to minimize excessive dependence on pornography. Successful management of pornographic addiction involves reevaluating irrational beliefs that cause and sustain behavior through cognitive, behavioral, and emotive approaches. Rational beliefs and emotions help to better achieve goals and avoid self-defeating behavior (Russell, 2009). These issues have resulted in the continuous debate on sexual expression in the Playboy magazine.

Impact of Playboy sexuality expression in society

From the above discussion, Playboy’s sexual expression harms society. The exaggerated, perfectly placed, and erotic images on naked women on the cover of the Playboy magazine have resulted in the misconception of sexual expression in the real life, as most people want to emulate what they read and see in the magazine. Since the Playboy magazine is created with business intentions, the authors have exploited business in creating the ideal sexual expression in women.

For instance, the Playboy issues in the market have always expressed sexual expression with a sinister motive to misrepresent the ideal sexuality through the perfect image of very beautiful women. The female gender in the magazine is displayed as simple an object of fantasy, desire, and fulfillment of the imagination of the male gender in terms of the ideal sexual expression. When such an image is permanently placed in the mind of the consumer after reading several series of the Playboy, the victim might internalize the negative perception and declare women as lacking any agency apart from being sexual objects.

Conclusion

In summary, Playboy magazine has attracted heated debate on its sexuality expression. The protagonists argue that it empowers men and women to express their sexuality while the antagonists opine that exaggeration and erotic nature of female images in the magazine have negative effects on the sexual behavior of the male gender, especially when the consumption of the material is prolonged. Irrespective of the two sides of the debate, the protagonist and antagonist feminists share a belief that sexual display in Playboy magazine cannot be used as a scale for measuring the ideal sexuality of the female gender due to the biases in the magazine’s erratic expression.

References

Burr, T. (2015). The naked truth about Playboy and modern sexuality. Web.

Cope, B., & Phillips, A. (2006). The future of the book in the digital age. London, UK: Chandos Pub.

Goldhill, O. (2015). RIP the Playboy era of American sexuality. Web.

Ogas, O., & Gaddam, S. (2012). A billion wicked thoughts: What the internet tells us about sexual relationships. New York, NY: PLUME.

Pitts, L. (2015). Playboy overtaken by sexual revolution. Web.

Pitzulo, C. (2014). Bachelors and bunnies: The sexual politics of Playboy. Web.

Russell, D. (2009). Against pornography: The evidence of harm. Berkeley, CA: Russell Publications.

Van-Doorn, N. (2010). Keeping it real: User-generated pornography, gender reification, and visual pleasure. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies. 16(4), 411-430.