Full Text


Kim Mac Innis

Subject Sociology of Culture and Media » Sociology of Popular Culture

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Playboy is a magazine founded by Hugh Hefner in 1953 when Hefner was 26 years old. The magazine was initially created under the company name HMH Publishing Co., Inc., and then went public under the name Playboy Enterprises, Inc. in 1971. Playboy 's original name was to be “Stag Party,” but an outdoor magazine called Stag contacted Hefner and informed him of their trademark name. Hefner's co-founder and executive vice president Eldon Seller suggested the name Playboy , based on a Playboy Automobile Company in Chicago. The first issue of Playboy was published in December 1953. The issue sold for $0.50 and was an immediate success, selling out in a few weeks. Known circulation was 53,991. According to Hefner, Playboy was influenced by the Jazz Age, his strict Midwestern Methodist upbringing, and a response to the post-war period, which was described as socially and politically repressive. Additionally, the magazine was inspired by the Kinsey Reports, which focused on the study of sexuality in the United States in 1948. These reports revealed that many Americans were not as conventional as society believed concerning sexual behavior. The Kinsey Reports helped to promote sexual openness. Many scholars such as Kenon Breazeale and Barbara Ehrenreich contend that Playboy was inspired by male sociosexual identity crises. Ehrenreich argues that in the 1950s American men revolted ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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