In The Secret of Wealth and Happiness, Hu Humpher, under the pen name Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy magazine, explains what led to his success: the Playboy Playmate.
For anyone who may be visiting from another planet, a Playboy Playmate is a full-color, glossy, airbrushed photograph of a nude woman with a staple through at least one portion (and usually two) of her anatomy. She is also sometimes known as a centerfold because her image appears in the middle, or center, of the magazine, as its centerpiece, and a fold runs down its center.
Some critics of Playmates, such as the hairy-legged feminists at the Natural Orifices of Women (NOW), contend that, when the airbrushing of the model's body is taken into account, one may rightly say that the Playmate has been "spindled, folded, and mutilated, adding a sadomasochistic element to her portrayal."
Although there may be other, lesser nudes (known as "Bunnies") between the covers, so to speak, of the magazine (and its publisher's sheets), there is one, and only one, Playmate per issue. The criteria and process for selecting which model will appear as an issue's Playmate are shrouded in secrecy, but insiders claim that such considerations as the following are part of the procedure:
- I. Q. (low)
- Breast size (large)
- An appealing name like "Bambi," "Shannon," or "Pussy Galore"
- Photogenic quality (good, depending on "touch-up artist's" airbrush skills).
Playmates, besides having their naked bodies bared to millions of unattractive men whose minds, such as they are, are occupied with impure thoughts, receive much exposure that could make them attractive to porn producers, Hollywood moviemakers, and thong bikini modeling agencies.
They also receive thousands of dollars in Playboy Funny Munny, a cruise along the St. Lawrence River to Chicago, Illinois, a one-night stand with the magazine's executive staff, a month's mandatory service as a maid at the Playboy Mansion, a key to the Playboy Enterprises executive washroom, a massage, and the automobile of their choice or a college education.
In addition, Playmates of the Month may compete against one another for the title of being named Playmate of the Year, which is equivalent to being crowned as the queen of the universe. Playmates, according to the magazine's publisher, are like Marines: "Once a Playmate, always a Playmate."
In the long history of the magazine's degradation and exploitation of women, a couple Playmates have actually benefited, possibly, from their exposures as the Meat of the Month, as critics of the centerfolds call Playmates.
The first Playboy Playmate was Marilyn Monroe, whose appearance in the magazine brought her to the attention of President John F. Kennedy, who read the periodical to keep abreast of current events, including the future actress' untimely death by suppository at the hands of either Kennedy himself, his brother Bobby, the Mafia, or aliens from Uranus.
Pamela Anderson started out as a beer salesperson, modeling wet T-shirts that featured such slogans as "Beer Bash," "Queer For Beer," "Guzzle Me," and "Drunk & Disorderly." She was picked out by a voyeuristic cameraman at a Canadian football game, wearing Labatt's T-shirt, and the company, smitten with her beauty (and the fact that she was nearly mobbed by the football fans after being brought onto the playing field for the crowd's worship and adoration), offered her a contract. Subsequently, she modeled for Playboy, becoming the magazine's first and only Playmate of All Time in 1989.
Her appearance as a centerfold launched her acting career, such as it is, and she starred in Babe Watch, Home Wrecker, The Fanny, Boobs For Hire, Stacked, Pamela Anderson's Honeymoon with Tommy Lee, and Blonde on Blonde.
She has since become a stapled staple of Playboy magazine, having made over 7,000 "appearances" between its covers since her initial photo shoot. As a result of her fame, Anderson was able to share an intimate kiss with wrestler Tushie Stratus, which made the Playmate feel as if she were "on Cloud 9."
Blondie (Deborah Harry) also became famous as a result of exposing herself to the world as a Playboy Playmate. As a result of her appearance in the magazine and because of her large breasts, she was offered the position as "frontwoman" for her rock and roll group. She later parlayed her Playboy and Blondie notoriety into an acting career in which portions of her anatomy were featured in bit parts in such movies as Video Queen, Sweet To Eat, Tails From the Darkside, Cop A Feel, and Going Down in Strawberry Fields.
Laura Hutton became a model and an actress as a result of baring it all before Playboy photographers' cameras, landing roles in such films as Just A Little Oral Sex, written by transsexual Marti Noxon; Looser Love; From Here to Maternity; and American Gigolo.
Many women, famous, infamous, and unknown, claim to have been Playmates, just as many veterans claim to have won the Congressional Medal of Honor. Bogus Playmates include:
* Ruth Buzzi of Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In
* Nancy Kulp (The Beverly Hillbillies' Jane Hathaway)
* Hillary Clinton
* Former First Lady Barbara Bush
* Former Attorney General Janet Reno
* Twiggy, The Skeletal Model
* Phyllis Diller, the comedienne with the "killer" face
* Rosie O'Donnell, lesbian has-been
* Anne Heche, has been lesbian
* Ellen Degeneres, Ellen.