Playboy as a ‘Soft Power’: the Impact of Magazine Content on the Westernization of the Developing Countries
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“Playboy” adult magazines erotica soft power developing countries Americanization cultural politics

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Yakushenkov, S. (2021). Playboy as a ‘Soft Power’: the Impact of Magazine Content on the Westernization of the Developing Countries. Corpus Mundi, 2(1), 139-176.


Playboy magazine, from its very beginning, was one of the clearest examples of the cultural changes that took place in the United States in the second half of the 20th century. Analyzing the importance of the Magazine, the author shows how a seemingly trivial idea of a magazine with pictures of naked beauties turned into a very successful commercial and cultural project, which had a huge impact on American society, and on many countries of the world. In fact, Playboy became a “soft power” capable of generating new values and transmitting them not only to American society, but also to the cultural landscape of other countries. As an illustration of this influence, international franchises of Playboy magazine published in other countries were taken. Two versions of the magazine were chosen to illustrate this point: in Brazil and in the Philippines. The analysis of the content of these franchise versions shows that they have surprisingly combined the traditions established by the founder of Playboy, Hugh Hefner, and national stereotypes. At the same time, American patterns prevailed in this symbiosis. This was especially evident in the choice of racial type of models, their skin color, etc. In addition, the magazine also brought new systems of gender relations to these countries. All this was possible because the magazine's editors created a unique product that became one of the indispensable symbols of the 20th century.
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