October 18, 2015

"But even as I bridle at memories of being objectified, I recognize the artistry with which Playboy treated the centerfold in its early years."

"In those days, the women were photographed as genuine pinups, wholesome and lovely – not anatomical gynecological studies. Playmates were the women in the frayed gatefolds that GIs of the Korean and Vietnam wars lovingly placed inside their helmets as talismans, their inspiration during the worst of times, their tender memories of home and American values. GIs and Glamour Girls were always an indivisible partnership."

Writes Victoria Valentino, who feels that after fleeting celebrity as a Playboy centerfold in 1963, she was not taken seriously as an actress and "never got to play Shakespeare’s eloquent, brave lead female character, Portia, in 'The Merchant of Venice,' on the big stage" and "never got to sing and dance on Broadway or win a Tony."

That's at The Wasthington Post, where the top-rated comment is:
Oh, what a shame! If Miss September hadn't lowered herself to pose nude for Playboy, she could have played Portia and won a Tony! (Whispering now: On the other hand, it's more likely that no one would ever have heard of her if she hadn't shed her duds for Hugh.)

And one more reality: Having been a soldier in Vietnam, I can assure the good lady that the soldiers who cherished her centerfold didn't do it "to sustain themselves through the trauma of war, they would imagine coming home to me and telling me about their experiences." No, Sweetie, they had something entirely different in mind, and your photo was a great source of stimulation.

Sheesh.

28 comments:

rhhardin said...

She isn't objectified. She's not thought of or remembered at all.

What life she has on the side is entirely her own.

campy said...

She's not mad about being objectified, she's mad that she didn't profit enough from being objectified.

traditionalguy said...

Playboy invented the breast enlargement by using 5 foot and shorter women with full size tops. That was a select group.

mikee said...

Playboy pretended women were Barbie dolls below the waist, with nothing down there 'twixt the models' legs that should be, or could be, photographed in any detail. That exclusion of reality somehow was supposed to make the pictures of nekkid women somehow artistic instead of just stimulating.

The only thing that prudish policy accomplished was the niche success, so to speak, of Penthouse and Hustler and all the other skin mags, where anatomically detailed photography went places on the models that Playboy never dared.

Tim Allen's standup comedy bit on Playboy centerfolds is worth revisiting as a companion piece to the linked article. Seeing a decades-old centerfold pinned up on a wall somewhere, he feels like he's seeing an old familiar friend and reminisces to himself about the good times they had together.


MadisonMan said...

That top-rated comment is a excellent take-down.

Laslo Spatula said...

"And one more reality: Having been a soldier in Vietnam,..."

Am I wrong to wonder if the writer actually had been in Vietnam?

Something just didn't read right to me...

I am Laslo.



rhhardin said...

I'd bet that Playboy was dealing with the postal code of decency. The supreme court had to evolve.

rhhardin said...

Derbyshire says that the genitalia change was called "going pink" in the men's magazine business, in this week's podcast.

Michael said...

The top-ratedness of that comment shows nothing as clearly as the contempt the Progressive mind has for "oldthinkers," or anyone who doesn't see everything precisely the way they do.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

campy said...

She's not mad about being objectified, she's mad that she didn't profit enough from being objectified.

And, I suspect, mad about no longer being objectified.

Anonymous said...

An ex-centerfold was a teacher in my jhs. She wore suggestive clothing from her glory days at least which was at least a full decade out of date and called the boys up to give her back rubs. Other than that, she was alright. JHS is full of odd duck teachers.



JAORE said...

No one cares about real tragedy. Like Bob Denver being typecast for playing Gilligan. What he could have brought to the lead role in Cuckoos Nest. Sigh.

Anthony said...

Playboy never "went pink" - they showed whatever was the fashion in pubic hair grooming, but no more. Ms. Valentino is wrong about that.

I doubt she's completely forgotten - just as I have fond memories of a particular few young women who posed when I was a teenager and in my early 20s, there's probably someone about 20 years older than me who remembers Ms. Valentino particularly fondly. But she's not Marilyn Monroe nor Lena Söderberg.

walter said...

"mad about no longer being objectified."
See Geena Davis, Inc

Years ago I was receiving a media award in Ohio. "Miss Ohio" spoke at the event and was hanging around during cocktails. At some point in our conversation I asked about the competition for that position. She told me about the various scholastic and talent considerations.I asked whether there was a "beauty" component. Things ground to a halt when I asked what she thought about contestants being excluded from competing based on that component.
It's hard being a feminist.

Mike Sylwester said...

From the linked article:

It’s been no secret that the magazine is financially troubled, a lost leader in the now overgrown field of nude image publishing.

I like her expression lost leader more than loss leader.

walter said...

Yes..Talismans have become too ubiquitous and extreme for such weak tea as Playboy.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Wimmin (and women) are ok with being objectified - as long as the object is a beautiful one. Their problem though is that they never got around to understanding that beauty is a commodity. And it can be commoditized as easily as male labor (and its fruits) can be commoditized.

That's why the hippies had it completely right: Free love and a sharing economy. Those are the only ways to defeat the inevitable commoditization of women and men.

walter said...

What R&B? They would rather give it away if it's "beautiful"? Of course, "beautiful" is highly subjective.

Leslie Graves said...

I don't understand the hostility toward what she said. Is it not even possible that there is some truth to what she wrote about GIs? Not being a man, I don't know. But why is there this sort of celebratory/hostile tone toward dressing her down and saying, "Nah. You didn't matter. You thought there was some higher purpose toward taking your clothes off but there wasn't. You were nothing more than masturbation material. There is no way at all that a woman who does that should delude herself into thinking that she is giving any inspiration/hope to a guy in a dark place."

Is that really true? Again, not being a guy, I guess I don't know. But why are the men here insisting on that in what comes across as a harsh way?

By the way, she is one of the women who came forth to tell a particularly sad and disturbing Bill Cosby story.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/playboy-model-bill-cosby-sexually-751807

walter said...

Leslie,
If it was picture of someone they knew and cared about, there would be more to it...Talisman, yearn to return etc. But not being a man, you probably have no idea how important physical release is to man. Without it, it can become a major distraction. In a military endeavor, I'm betting a guy needs the best stimulation possible to shut all that out for the required time. Oh..I suppose there is a component of sexual stimulation making one feel a bit more alive when death is all around.
It's actually interesting (and a bit disturbing) how many articles and commentaries by women regarding male sexuality seem to have no recognition of basic male needs.

For a humorous take, watch the City Slickers scene with the porno mag.

Rhythm and Balls said...

There is no way at all that a woman who does that should delude herself into thinking that she is giving any inspiration/hope to a guy in a dark place."

Is that really true?


Lol. This is kind of funny. Did you really think detached nude/sexual displays in themselves are inspiring? What's inspiring is the promise of pleasure! That's inspiring. A glorified display without any access to it (even if access were just a public view) is self-aggrandizing, not inspiring. It's more self-aggrandizing and less inspiring than parading an empire's queen in full regal display.

If you're hoping to inspire with your body, at least do it in public. Be a nudist. Show some courage and subject yourself to other people's immediate reactions - whatever they are, unfiltered by layers of cameramen, editors, production staff and other capitalist nonsense! Anything else is just playing it safe with more American female bullshit about some imagined "right" to be glorified without being judged. Sorry, Your Highness, it doesn't work that way.

JAORE said...

"I don't understand the hostility toward what she said. Is it not even possible that there is some truth to what she wrote about GIs?"

I suppose there were some GI's that looked at her picture and said, "I'm going to look her up when I get home and marry that gal". Just as there were girls in my youth who thought Paul would make eye contact at a Beatles concert and fall instantly in love.

I would note that, if fond memories of home a talisman as it were was the true feeling, a head shot (No, Laslo, not one of those) would suffice. Even the very tame Betty Grable shot of WWII included less than innocent features predominately displayed.

So, "some truth"? Sure, why not? There is one in every crowd. But most men, IMO, do not look at bare breasts and think, "Reminds me of the wheat fields of Kansas".

Rhythm and Balls said...

For men, sex is an appetite like hunger.

For women, sex is if anything the way to achieve ego fulfillment.

There is some overlap, but that's the basic distinction.

Sex for women in America is almost entirely a political act. Who they did it with, what are the consequences, what will come of it, etc. Enjoyment is the least of their concerns - which is why those who do manage to find a way to just enjoy it are so much happier than those who don't.

Leslie Graves said...

Well, I think it would at least be fair to say that when she took her clothes off to be a Playmate, she thought that she was doing something other than making herself available as an entirely utilitarian masturbation object.

Now, maybe she was just deluded and wrong. But I don't get why folks would make fun of her for having that delusion. It doesn't seem like a harmful delusion, but maybe I'm missing something.

MadisonMan said...

I don't understand the hostility toward what she said.

People making fun of her for being all pretentious. That's not hostility.

You make fun of delusions when the deluded go public and write column inches of text describing their oh-so-preciousness that was foiled by their own life choices.

Rhythm and Balls said...

Well, I think it would at least be fair to say that when she took her clothes off to be a Playmate, she thought that she was doing something other than making herself available as an entirely utilitarian masturbation object.

I love it! For men, masturbation is utilitarian. For women, any engagement with their sexuality (even just being an exhibitionist) is spiritual, enlightening, and glorifying!

Yep. America will never figure out why its women face the predicament they're in. Never. But then neither gender has a monopoly on stupidity.

Joe said...

"...as I bridle at memories of being objectified,..."

Bullshit. She has no such memories.

Regardless, what's dumb about this is that we're all objectified all the time. Few people have the time to get to know you extremely well. In reality, this is either post hoc justification, a complaint that you aren't being admired for what you want to be admired or jealousy.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I like women.