Playboy Magazine

Launched by publisher Hugh Hefner in 1953, Playboy magazine became a huge commercial success by combining soft-core pornography and up-market lifestyle features for men in one magazine. Between the 1950s and the 1970s, its soaring circulation became the basis for an international business empire embracing publishing, movie production, and a chain of nightclubs, casinos, and hotels. Playboy's success marked not only a transformation in American sexual morals and a greater legitimacy of pornography within mainstream culture, but also the ascendance in U.S. society of masculine identities that eschewed moderation and the work ethic in favor of hedonistic consumption, recreation, and personal gratification. Its mascot, a white rabbit sporting a bowtie, symbolized this model of masculinity by connoting affluence, sophistication, lighthearted leisure, and sexual license.

Playboy was ...

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