‘Playboy’ will get you naked — whether you like it or not

I highly suggest reading this piece from The Sexist, which details the pressure and coercion that went on at Olivia Munn’s Playboy photo shoot. Munn, an actress/model who most recently was in the news for her gig as a correspondent on The Daily Show, was asked to be on the cover of Playboy. She said no, because they wanted her to be nude. They said she could do it non-nude, so then she said yes.

Then she showed up to set and was berated and pressured into going nude the entire time, despite the legal contract between herself and Playboy that outlined what poses she would do, what she would wear, and how much she would show:

When Munn insisted that this was a “non-nude shoot,” the stylist told her that in Playboy, “you show everything!” Munn says she felt “woozy” explaining her contract and “tried to understand what the hell was happening.” The stylist then told her that the photographer “says all nude today for Playboy. It’s Playboy!

This immediately reminded me of Kim Kardashian’s Playboy shoot, which was documented on Keeping Up With the Kardashians. She agreed to the Playboy photo shoot with the condition that it not be nude and was also pressured to show more skin than she was comfortable showing.

“I’m sorry I did Playboy. I was uncomfortable,” Kim told Harper’s Bazaar. At the urging of both the Playboy crew and her mother, she revealed more than she wanted and later regretted doing it completely. Do some people not see the big difference between side boob and full on topless, or is it that when you agree to be in Playboy there’s a silent understanding that you’ll give up any and all rights to make decisions about your body?

Playboy uses both its power as a brand and its stereotype as a magazine with nude pictures to get women to go nude regardless of their preference. The crew makes these women feel dumb for even suggesting not taking their clothes off — you came to a Playboy set, how cute that you thought you wouldn’t be naked!

And these aren’t unknown women who are trying to catch their big break — these are women with established careers. These are women who had already been introduced to Hollywood and had publicists on their side — yet they still both were shaken and hurt by the intense coercion that happened on set. Neither buckled and went fully nude, but Playboy was obviously banking that, despite the contracts that were signed, they could convince the women to go nude once they arrived on set.

It shows both that A) Playboy is even sleezier than people give it credit for, as it disregards the wishes of the women being photographed and tries to pressure them to go further than they want to, a la Girls Gone Wild; and B) no women are immune from this, as women with their own entourage and publicists and people to back them (unlike an unknown who can more easily be tricked and confused by the powerful company) are eyed as prey, likely because getting them nude means more magazine sales.

I’m sure Playboy will say that posing nude is a very uncomfortable thing to do in the first place, so the encouragement is necessary so the women move past their fears, insecurities, or nerves. Except, when you sign a contract and acknowledge the photo shoot will be non-nude, that “encouragement” shouldn’t happen. Either these men think they know what’s best for these women — obviously they can’t think for themselves, I mean who wouldn’t want to be naked in Playboy?! These ladies are just being coy — or they are on power trips, convinced they can get the nude picture and unwilling to stop at any cost.

What a business model — agree to whatever the woman is comfortable with, then bombard her with pressure, anger, and mocking in hopes she will crumble and you can exploit her emotional distress.

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