Elan Vital Media | Playboy has a transgender playmate
Playboy has a transgender playmate
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Playboy’s Direction

Playboy – the American version, decides to publish a transgender as a playmate

Hype, True Support, or Publicity Stunt?

Now that it’s been a few days and we’ve seen the backlash, support, mixed emotions, and other reactions from the decision that Playboy decided to move with publishing a transgender as a playmate in the American edition, I feel that I should make an opinionated statement.

This sentiment is not completely shared by the entire staff, and while I am for activism and acceptance of people doing what they want to do and being themselves….I can only partially support Playboy‘s decision in full – I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I am ecstatic that the LGBT+ community is receiving a lot more fanfare, as it reflects a time of change within our society, but on the other hand, I ultimately feel that Playboy only did this is as a publicity and marketing stunt, and not actually as a way to move society forward, but merely as a way to up their sales with the new generation of consumers in today’s society.

In my personal, and humble opinion, the American version of Playboy was the epitome and end-all-be-all glamour magazine for female models to aspire to be published in – to be published in it proved the effort of dedication in the industry, hard work and perseverance, and incorporates quite a bit more than just classy nude women, as it promoted men’s interest articles for business, health, entertainment, the creative and tech industry’s, and provided a publication that models and photographers alike aspired to be featured in. It was one of the publications that motivated me as a budding photographer, the comics, the articles and advertisements of awesome cars I’ll never be able to afford. But I feel in a way, Playboy, in this decision, has lost complete touch with probably 80%, probably more, of their dedicated readership.

While I’m sure this decision didn’t come lightly, I do find it ironic that the man himself graces the cover of an issue he probably would never allowed to happen while he was alive and the decision comes mere weeks after his death. I find it a slap in the face to him as the founder of such a powerful and inspirational brand that they would do that before the dirt has even settled.

There are a lot of articles promoting it and saying it isn’t the first time that Playboy has published a transgender playmate, but let me be clear: The American version of Playboy, of which Mr. Hefner was in direct control of, never published a transgender playmate. All the versions of Playboy that did were outside his direct control – meaning he didn’t have rights to determine content of those. They were not published on American soil. While the nations of Europe, and other nations elsewhere, are ahead of us on social acceptance to a degree (let’s not forget about how limited a lot of places are towards gender and religion), this is still America and we have a long way to go before it’s a standard everywhere. And like I stated before, while I applaud Playboy for making that leap and I think it’s an absolute win for the transgender community, I think it was only out of the need to make their brand prevalent in the upcoming readership generation and not out of actual genuine support.

Everything above is an outside perspective from a marketing standpoint and while I personally don’t feel Playboy is making a smart decision, Elan Vital does not base our features on gender, race, religion, etc., as stated in our guidelines, so if you’re a transgender model – and good at it, we encourage you to submit to our publication. We’re not out to make it a publicity stunt and will be genuine in supporting your efforts of furthering acceptance within societal norms. We base our selections for features on quality of photography and modeling within the constraints of our guidelines. We are body positive. We are activists for charity. We are founded by a variety of artists from across the divide, ranging from fantasy focused photographers to fashion models to glamour and urban explorers.

We are a magazine that is strengthening the and encouraging the industry to get along with each other, promote each other, and help the community thrive in a day where digital accessibility makes it a much harder struggle than ever before for artists to find their way. We want to impact society in such a profound manner that we strive to promote musicians, photographers, models, writers, and other creatives.

Don’t fall for Playboy‘s stunt. Join Elan Vital. Help re-imagine your vision for a better world through art.

Am I wrong in thinking this was a huge political and public relation’s stunt? Is it a way to increase brand awareness or is it Playboy‘s new policy for their primarily straight male readers and viewers to admire transgender models?

I understand this is a completely controversial topic, and many people have many different opinions on it, I would like to hear your feedback! Should we continue to support evil mainstream media because all they want is your money and views, or should we start supporting the little people more, the independent labels and publications. This isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, that mainstream media has used political movements to raise their brand awareness. This article is technically doing it as I write it and as you read it. But at least Elan Vital is passionate and genuine about it. My personal opinion is that Playboy should have made a separate issue to run side by side the main American version. It would have allowed for Playboy to keep their brand the same while also showing the same support, and it would have not disavowed millions of their readers and supporters.

My advice: stop supporting mainstream as they try to twist political movements into their hands and pull you from what matters. Support the independent publishers that their only agenda is to provide quality artwork, informative articles, and genuine support for the communities, and not just making a profit. While we love profit, as it allows us to pay our artists and fund projects to make our brand better, it is not our end goal. And that is something shared by every single person on our staff.

Let us know what you think by commenting on the thread on our social media where this article appears! I would love to hear your feedback and openly welcome civil discussions.

Phoenix is a legend. He is dedicated to creating scenes that are devised from his imagination, which depending on the day may or may not be NSFW. His passions are Star Wars, paintball, journalism, photography (right?!), jeeps, being from the South, and his dog Trooper Duke. He is fluent in American sarcasm, bacon, and donuts. He's probably eating bacon or donuts as you read this.

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