First Playboy magazine cover, Marilyn Monroe, Dec. 1953

How Playboy’s Literary Editor Made Me Rethink Playboy

If yesterday you asked me what I thought about Playboy magazine I would gladly tell you that I am completely ignorant toward the subject (hoping you wouldn’t hear my underlying biased tone). But boy am I glad that I don’t genuinely enjoy knowingly being ignorant toward things.


Did you know that Playboy published fiction by some of the biggest names in literature?


Amy Grace Loyd

Image Via The Rumpus


In her editorial for The Guardian, Amy Grace Loyd, literary editor for Playboy magazine for six years, gives us an interesting look into her literary career working for a magazine that is known more for male entertainment than it is for its editorials.


Loyd writes about her controversial first assignment- commissioning a series of essays on Nabokov’s Lolita, and about how working for a sexist magazine didn’t distract her from making the literary aspect of the publication credible. She also touches on how she views Playboy magazine’s original ideals reflecting upon readers today. I personally have never picked up a Playboy magazine, and a part of me wouldn’t want to pick one up for my own personal beliefs, but I’m glad I like to keep an open mind because Loyd’s experience certainly helped me ease into the magazine’s existence.


Did you know that Playboy magazine published editorials written by Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, and Margaret Atwood? If you did, you’re cool, but if you didn’t, welcome to the club. What struck me the most about this piece was Loyd’s overall understanding of her position as an editor and a woman within this awkward and controversial crossover between naked women and Esquire-esque articles. Apparently, the naked women were actually a way to lure readers into the editorials, a reality that Loyd needed to understand and explain to others in order to basically continue making a living. She just couldn’t possibly afford to let the commodifying of a woman’s body get in the way of her job. (Pun intended)


A part of me wonders if the pressures of earning an income swayed Loyd into this perception of the women in the magazine, but nonetheless, she seemed to have thoroughly enjoyed fighting the battle against social norms and stigmas. Unfortunately for her, she doesn’t see much fighting needing to be done in 2017 since we’ve already fallen so deep into the acceptance of social deviances, i.e. Trump. Loyd’s nostalgia for Hugh Hefner’s dedication to a consistent structure of Playboy magazine leaves me to believe that maybe the magazine is actually worth a look-see.


Feature Image Via The Australian