When I bring up Playboy, what comes to mind? Surprisingly well written articles? The rattling, sour breath of dementor Hugh Hefner? Whatever it is that kids jerked off to in the 1960s? One thing is for certain — you most definitely think of naked ladies. Ladies so naked that you you can see their naked boobs and their naked vaginas. What you probably don't think of is sexual conservatism (though, let's face it, in our generation of internet porn, Playboy is pretty quaint), which is why it's downright strange that a Playboy Club is planning to open in India, a country so conservative that the government can issue arrest warrants for kissing in public (this guy knows what I'm talking about) and Playboy magazine has been banned entirely.
India's first Playboy Club is set to launch in Candolim Beach of Goa, India in December of this year. Like McDonalds, however, the Playboy Club is planning to make concessions to fit local cultural norms, which, in this case, means cutting back on the T & A and repurposing themselves as an "an aspirational lifestyle brand for the growing Indian middle class." Says the club's chief executive Sanjay Gupta, "We will dissociate from nudity completely. We are positioning it around lifestyle, aspiration and glamour." He also promises a place that wives will feel comfortable visiting.
Does that mean they're getting rid of the iconic Playboy Bunny? Hell to the no. Gupta says, "Bunnies are an integral part of Playboy culture. We will have bunnies but keeping in mind Indian sensibilities, we are toning down the costume...We are working very closely with Playboy to design a bunny outfit for India." Well, this ought to be good. How will the Playboy brand manage to continue to clownishly sexualize women's bodies if they're not able to fully display them? And how will an Indian entrepreneur manage to appease über-conservative cultural mores while still selling the cheap sexual fantasy that's also an integral part of Playboy culture? It's a clash of ideologies and everyone's a loser!
Of course, there's a pretty big chance that all this talk is for naught. Despite Playboy's plans, the Goan government is not pleased with the club's presence and plans to shut it down ASAP. Goa tourism minister Dilip Parulekar has said that they "will not entertain anyone who is here to spread obscenity and nudity." Still, plans continue. A second Playboy Club is already in talks to open in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad in early 2013. Congratulations, India/Sorry, India.
Playboy finally arrives in India [Daily Mail]