Ageism In Playboy Essay Research Paper Ageism

Ageism In Playboy Essay, Research Paper

Ageism in Playboy


1) Content analysis is the process of picking apart and closely observing a subject matter.

2) Ageism is the discrimination of people based on their age.

Hypothesis: That I will find no women over the age 30 pictured in an issue of Playboy Magazine.

In this paper I plan to prove that the hypothesis stated above is true because in society youth is considered a both beautiful and desirable quality to posses. Because Playboy Magazine is a popular magazine aimed at male readers, and because this magazine uses both youth and beauty to sell itself, it could be concluded that men desire female images that manifest beauty in youth. I chose to look at Playboy because Playboy?s interest is to sell magazines that satisfy the desires of males. Why does Playboy satisfy the desires of males? It is because in their magazines women between the ages of 18 and 29 are featured nude displaying the youth that their bodies posses. I chose to test this hypothesis by looking at Playboy?s 1997 January issue and reading the descriptions of the models such as their height, weight, bust, hips, and most importantly age. This particular issue happened to have all models in the running for Playmate of the Year so I had 12 subjects to observe. If this hypothesis holds true, then the real underlying question will surface: What makes youth beautiful?

My hypothesis was proven true to a certain point. As I thumbed through the twelve models in the running for Playmate of the year, as I suspected, none of the models were over the age of 30. The oldest of the 12 models was age 26. However, my hypothesis stated that I would not find any women in an entire issue of Playboy, not just the models. On page 51 of the 1997 January issue was and interview featuring Whoopi Goldberg. There was not one, not two, but three photographs of the 41-year-old actress. In this entire issue of Playboy, there was a woman over the age of 30; thus my hypothesis was proven wrong. However, I still conclude that ageism still existed in this issue of Playboy Magazine. Why? The answer is because no models over the age of 30 had been chosen to appear nude in this issue. I believe it is because Playboy wants to portray youth as beautiful to its selected reader. The firm bodies and youthful smiles of women under the age of thirty is what Playboy?s editors consider beautiful. Therefore, since Playboy is one of the most widely purchased magazines among male readers, one could conclude that Playboy?s readers consider firm bodies and youthful smiles beautiful. Although Whoopi Goldberg was featured in this issue of Playboy one could bet that if Whoopi Goldberg wanted to pose nude for her photographs that were to accompany her interview, those photos would not be approved to appear in this issue. Why? The answer is because of the fact that such photographs would not be considered beautiful to look at. It could be a possibility that if this issue came out when Woopi Goldberg was in the ripe age of 18, nude photographs of her might be considered more appealing to readers, but this was not the case in this particular issue.

Why is Playboy one of the most popular magazines for male readers? It is because it features nude photographs of women who are young and fulfill the male fantasy of having a women who possesses the following qualities: women who are inexperienced sexually, women who are still moldable, and have the potential to be controlled, women who can be taught new things, women who have smooth skin, with pure, untainted, newly matured bodies possessing the ideal hour-glass figure. If these are the characteristics of the nude models displayed in Playboy Magazine, then what makes these attributes appealing to men? Why is it that these qualities are desirable to males? I did not understand why males were attracted to such qualities until after I watched a documentary on The Learning Channel called the Science of Sex. In the documentary the topic of fertility was discussed in reference to its subconscious affect on the male search for a perfect mate. Ultimately the purpose of sex is to procreate and pass on one?s genes to their offspring. It is argued among evolutionists that procreation is nothing more than an attempt to create an ever evolving, more perfect?and consequently impermeable?species. So when a male is searching for a mate he looks for a female who appears to be fertile so that procreation can occur. Evolutionists suggest that this is the very tenet from which human beings have flourished. The very same tenets of primordial desire still exist within us today. How does a male tell if one woman is more fertile than another? The answer lies within her figure. A man determines a woman?s fertility by her figure?be it a subconscious determination, or not. A woman with large breasts is desirable because she has the ability to feed many children. In addition a woman with a small waist and curvy hips is seen as having the ability to bare many children. Women with aged skin and small breasts and a torso that does not have a defined waist appears to a male as not having the capability of baring children. This all makes sense to me because it is a male?s prehistoric gene that drives them to find a mate that they can have many children with because that is there key to survival. If you ask a male why he likes women who have a small waist and curvy hips it is doubtful that he will answer this question with the explanation provided?that she appears to be fertile?rather he will just reply that it looks exceptional.

In conclusion, my hypothesis was proven wrong do to a technicality that I did not consider. Even though there was a single woman pictured in the issue of Playboy who was over the age of 30 I can still conclude that the issue of ageism exists in Playboy Magazines, because the ratio of women under the age of 30 to the women over the age of 30 was 12 to one (see table), thus making it very clear that Playboy discriminates against women over 30 because they are not young and desirable to men.


Name Age

Jami Ferrell 22

Lisa Winters 19

Jennifer Allan 22

Shauna Sand 23

Gillan Bonner 22

Victoria Fuller 23

Kona Carmack 20

Angel Boris 22

Nadine Chanz 24

Ulrika Ericsson 26

Karin Taylor 25

Priscilla Taylor22

Whoopi Goldberg 41


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