Former Playgirl editor Colleen Kane's solemnly salacious goodbye to her former editorial home does a lot more than make me want to surf the internet for pictures from the back issues (though, it does that too, as this picture shows). But once I got done making my way through my Google search results (David Duchovny! Bert Reynolds! Brad Pitt! John Travolta! Scott motherfucking Bakula!), my re-ordered thoughts turned to the big question raised by Kane's piece — when did Playgirl stop catering to actual women?Kane attributes the problem to a magazine that had its resources slowly taken away a publisher on high. Gone were the days of interviews with Keanu Reeves or the ability to get anyone remotely famous to pose. After the "notorious experimental year without willies" in the eighties and a few rounds of using gay models and gay photographers whose sensual sensibilities were slightly different than the female readership that Playgirl was supposed to be attracting (think: spread ass-cheek pictures), the magazine began to be thought of as a periodical closet case. Kane puts it this way:
I disagree that only gay men would ever want to look at pictures of naked men. This was a half-baked conjecture I heard over and over when I met new people and the subject of my job came up. To me it came off as a careless denial of women's sexuality; it was equivalent to saying that women don't fantasize.
In Kane's analysis, the magazine succeeded when it successfully projected the image of catering to women and what at least some of us want to look at (hot naked dudes) and read about, rather than a magazine in which a woman is wondering why she's staring at some naked guy's asshole and flipping through ads of dudes blowing each other. It succeeded because some women wanted to buy it, and the kinds of famous people that could get women to buy it could tell themselves they were appearing in it for their female fans and put out of their minds the legions of gay men pleasuring themselves to the same pictures. But those days are long since gone, and so Playgirl withered on the vine as porn for not-women rather than a magazine for women that happened to have naked people in it — the tune Playboy has been singing for a while now. And all Kane's got to show for it is a bunch of naked pictures of hot naked guys. Well, I mean, that actually doesn't sound so terrible. Being unemployed with a huge stash of porn isn't the worst trade-off. Normally I just end up with some extra pens. Goodnight, Sweet Hunks [Radar] Related: Playgirl Comes to the End of Its Road (Sorta NSFW) [Best Week Ever]