The decline of natural beauty and art in the media.

Every so often, I make a post about other subjects if there's a certain thought burning a hole in my head. Here's one of them. As most everyone is aware, Playboy came out in the supposedly innocent '50s. Their first centrefold was Marilyn Monroe. Last December, Playboy celebrated its 55th anniversary. I stumbled upon this, every centrefold from 1953-2004, which I believe Playboy made publicly available at some point or another. The difference in half a century is striking. The models were initially quite charming, cheerful, and naturally at ease. But then, you slowly see the decline around the '70s and '80s. The poses start becoming very contrived and the models are trying a little too hard to be "sexy." In the '90s and '00s, it apexes with models who are severely airbrushed, made up, and often have cosmetic surgery of some sort. The content of the magazine is a whole other story. It's funny how the yearly progression of these centrefolds are a direct metaphor to the things that have happened over the decades. While there's a lot to be grateful for today, there's also a good deal that may be lost. There's rarely any hand-drawn art in advertisements anymore. A lot of the interesting logos that used to be have been cleaned up and made more minimalist -- more sanitised. Buildings look like imposing science fiction fortresses rather than architectural works of art. People wear less nice clothes because they can't be bothered as if their life of laptops, mobile phones, and reliable transport is actually tiring. Similarly, nude photos seem to be more direct and more fake. I won't claim that the '50s and '60s were a better time than today like some period clothing enthusiasts (who seem to forget that there was also rampant sexism and racism), but at least there was more art to shooting nudes in general. The non-sexualised nude. One website that has kept that sort of early Playboy aesthetic is DOMAI, which not only has wonderful artistic nudes but a newsletter and articles espousing the great things about natural female beauty. I think everyone should give it a look, male or female. The ironic thing is that Playboy themselves give DOMAI high marks!

Comments

  1. Are you familiar with the art work of Alberto Vargas? He did pinup illustrations for Esquire magazine in the 40s. Very evocative of that era.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_Vargas

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  2. I am very aware of him. :) His work features in many of the vintage Playboy magazines my stepfather still has from his college days.

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  3. I agree with you all the way here.
    there are those of us who are doing our darnedest to change this approach but is a very steep uphill battle.

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  4. Glad you agree. Ironic that women are now on equal ground with men yet the nudes in Playboy don't focus on the woman's personality whatsoever anymore. Things that make you go, "We've come so far yet regressed so far back?"

    DOMAI is great because there's so much personality to the models that is missing today in mags like Maxim, Hustler, etc. Those are the domain of lowest-common-denominator frat boys.

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