Well, that didn’t take long. After making a big show of stripping (pun intended) all the naked women away in the long ago Beforetime of October 2015, Playboy is going back to the drawing board and bringing nude photography back. But don’t misunderstand — they’re enlightened about their nudity. It’s gonna be classy this time, okay?
“I’ll be the first to admit that the way in which the magazine portrayed nudity was dated, but removing it entirely was a mistake,” 24-year-old Chief Creative Officer Cooper Hefner said in a statement (which is a fancy term for a quote overlaid on a nice photograph of himself that he tweeted out earlier today). “Nudity was never the problem because nudity isn’t a problem. Today we’re taking our identity back and reclaiming who we are.”
It’s worth pointing out that Hefner never agreed with CEO Scott Flanders’ decision to lose the nudes, telling Business Insider in February last year that “the issue was the way in which the nudity and the girls were portrayed.” Now that he’s regained control over the brand as the new CCO, that vaguely body positive-sounding concern of his has become the magazine’s new aesthetic; the March/April cover appears to feature an exploration of the Free The Nipple campaign (featuring Hefner’s fiancé Scarlett Bryne, what a coincidence), and the cover reveal was accompanied by a #NakedIsNormal hashtag on Twitter.
Hey, you know what? Junior Heff’s got a point — nudity shouldn’t be a problem, and that fact that female nudity is often treated as a sexual commodity (you know, what Playboy is known for) rather than a natural state of being is particularly unfair. But why stop at tasteful, softly lit photoshoots of young, classically beautiful white women, buddy? If you really wanna put your money where your mouth is and celebrate the normality of nudity in all its forms, consider hiring one or more of these gorgeous people to bare their souls for you:
1. Gabourey Sidibe
Don’t even try to play like her Empire sex scene wasn’t amazing.
2. Model Naomi Watanabe
Watanabe is the face of Japan’s body positivity movement, so if you wanna take this whole #NakedIsNormal thing international, Playboy, then here’s a good place to start.
3. Muy Thai Boxer Fatima Pinto
Side note: remember when One Million Moms got pissed at this H&M ad that featured Pinto because they thought she was transgender, completely missing the actual transgender model who also appeared in the ad? That was fun. Sorry, I’m using a definition of “fun” here which means “patently ridiculous.”
4. Model Paola Antonini
This past summer, Vogue got in trouble for photoshopping a bunch of models into amputees for the Rio Paralympics. Just think of the shade you could throw at Vogue if you hired Paola, who is an actual Brazilian amputee model.
5. Model Rain Dove
Definitive proof that gender is a social construct, but hotness isn’t. (No, that’s a lie, hotness is too. Expand your horizons, people!)
6. Model Winnie Harlow
If she’s good enough for Beyoncé, she’s good enough for me.
7. Helen Mirren
This is practically cheating. Helen Mirren is the go-to acceptable answer for “if you had to have sex with someone over 70, who would it be?” For a certain type of irony-minded bro, she is to older women what Die Hard is to Christmas movies. She deserves to run Playboy.
8. Model Anjali Lama
Lama was the first transgender model at Lakmé Fashion Week in India, just to harp on that international thing a little bit more. Because nudity is not just for white people, as it turns out!
And last but not least, 9. Idris Elba
Some Playboys like other boys! Besides, Idris is practically cheating, too, because it’s impossible to ascertain someone’s sexual orientation by their attraction to Idris Elba. He is an Adonis among mortals.