Winter 2019: The Freedom of Expression Issue
Playboy launched in 1953 to a country booming with postwar prosperity and optimism. Our first issue hit newsstands on the heels of the Kinsey Reports. The sexual revolution of the 1960s was almost a decade away. Playboy was the platform for leading writers, artists and photographers to express themselves with total freedom, the place where sex was never taboo and where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were to be enjoyed by all.
But the world has changed in unimaginable ways in the 65 years since our first issue. Much that was taboo then is mainstream now. How can Playboy keep pushing boundaries and make a difference in 2019? By continuing to grow.
Consider this a new beginning—and a work in progress. Today, we strive to be more inclusive, stretching and redefining tired and frankly sexist definitions of beauty, arousal and eroticism. We’re committed to the democratization of pleasure, which means we’re steadfastly sex-positive, and we’ll fight abuse, harassment and discrimination in all its forms. Building awareness for gender equality and sexual health issues, advocating for civil rights and speaking out for the public good are not just complementary but intrinsic to Playboy’s purpose.
This issue represents our vision of the world, a place for everybody and every body to experience delight, surprise and joy. After all, freedom is meaningless if it’s enjoyed by only a privileged few.
With that vision in mind, we’re keeping what works—what’s truly in our DNA—and building from there. We’ll continue to introduce new voices throughout our pages, in front of the camera and behind it. Our pictorials will remain as bold and provocative as ever. This work will be produced by an editorial staff that today is more than 50 percent women.
In the pages of our first quarterly you’ll find neuroscientist-philosopher Sam Harris and cultural gadfly Roxane Gay. You’ll learn about punk rock in Myanmar and an entrepreneur using cryptocurrency to help sex workers get paid. You’ll see Stormy Daniels in a new light and visit the bars in America that have become unwitting sanctuaries of the alt-right. Adding their viewpoints to the issue are luminaries like Taraji P. Henson, Ezra Miller, Edwidge Danticat, Sloane Crosley, Marius Sperlich, Chuck Palahniuk, Blaise Cepis and Trevor Paglen.
Sixty-five years ago we started a conversation about sex, pleasure and freedom. The forces we fought against back then—repression, silence and fear—have not gone away. And as one of the most critical thought leaders in the room for well over half a century we believe that now is the perfect time to take the conversation further.