sexy large labia

Why Playboy Rarely Shows
Women with Large Inner Labia

(I wrote this article in response to a letter from a guest, which can be found here.)

Playboy Magazine as the Norm for Female Beauty

Playboy publishes two types of magazines. There is the regular monthly magazine and there are the lesser known Special Editions (see further below). Undeniably, all models are very attractive and to many they have become the norm for female beauty.

The fact that the regular magazine hardly shows models with protruding labia minora has caused women to believe that large labia are considered unattractive. Hey, if it's not in Playboy then it must be because men don't like it, right?  However, it's not that simple.

Playboy's Miss April 2005

Part of a scan of the Centerfold in Playboy, April 2005
Playboy is not porn, it's a booby magazine. To comply with the rule of discreet genital detail it will only show full frontal nudity if the model has a vulva with small or tucked in labia minora. Showing protruding labia is considered too explicit.

Besides having great articles, Playboy is a booby magazine, not a porn magazine. It has hardly any pictures that show naked vulvas. Instead, it wants to tease and tickle your senses by displaying female curves and by being suggestive about women's genital areas.

For instance, the current Playboy (April 2005) has about 40 pictures of nude women. Only six of these show the girl's vulva, like the image above. The rest of the pictures show their naked boobs, or a combination of boobs and glutes or concealed pussy.

There is no question that the people at Playboy also handle some set of "beauty-criteria" that must be met before a girl is accepted as a photo model. General appearance, skin complexion, body fat, hip-to-waist ratio, breast size, facial features, body proportions, etc. are for sure some of them.

And yes, it seems that for their regular magazine they do consider labia size and prefer girls with small or invisible inner labia. If a girl has long labia then she is portrayed in a pose that hides them. But is it because they believe they're ugly? Not at all! They do it because showing labia minora that extend beyond the outer lips is considered too sexually explicit, in other words too sexy!

There Are Rules About the Display of Genital Detail:
Long Inner Labia are Too Explicit!

There are unwritten rules in the world of publication that specify what is allowed in magazines (or on TV) and what is not. A major one is about the display of genitals. No doubt they vary some from country to country. But in general it seems that for a publication to be classified as mild eroticism, penises can only be shown flaccid or in very light state of arousal and inner labia shouldn't be exposed. In terms of sexual explicitness long inner labia are the equivalent of an erected penis.

Those countries with a long history of Victorian prudishness have been among the most conservative in this regard. Until recently British broadcasters had to follow the ILOOLI rule — inner labia are out (not allowed), outer labia are in (allowed). In Australia a magazine is deemed porn if it shows an image of a woman with protruding inner labia. The size and shape of her labia is a decisive factor in their rule of "discreet genital detail."

Labia Censorship in Australia

Censorship of publications in Australia: Irene Graham, Director of EFA (efa.org.au) explains how magazines like Penthouse and Playboy need to digitally remove ("airbrush") any visible inner labia from their photos. If they don't, the censors classify it as Category 1 Restricted and it can only be sold when wrapped in plastic.

Still more about Australia's puritanical censorship rules: Kirsten Drysdale made a TV documentary for ABC Network in which she investigates the link between the government's censorship and the rising demand for labia surgery in Australia.
There are three more videos (1), (2), (3) that belong to this documentary but all can only be accessed from within Australia. Luckily the main one is posted on YouTube.
(thank you Jessica for the link!)

Interview with Helen Vnuk: She talks about how she had to airbrush out women's labia while working as editor for a magazine. Helen is the author of Snatched: Sex and Censorship in Australia.

Twisted Knickers: Article by lip-loving Ell, telling how the censors in Australia are giving her the wedgies. 

Penthouse versus Playboy

Penthouse Magazine, which considers itself hard-core porn, shows women's protruding inner labia all the time and so do numerous other sex magazines. Labia size doesn't matter to them since they are not restricted by rules about sexual explicitness.

For instance, the big lipped Victoria Knight, one of the internet's most popular porn stars, was Penthouse's cover-girl a few years ago (under the name Leah Maree Willis). Inside she was posing spread-eagle with her large hanging labia shown in all their glory. If anything, she got the job because of her big pussy lips!

Victoria Knight (aka Leah Maree Willis) in Penthouse Magazine

Victoria Knight (aka Leah Maree Willis) showing her large labia in Penthouse Magazine

Playboy on the other hand can't display women's protruding labia so clearly. Although it wants to appeal to the sexual senses of horny men, it also wants to be tame enough for the mainstream population. (It is one of the few erotic publications women will allow their husband to come home with!) So, for the time being, they censor inner labia and compensate by maximizing the exposure of that other big eye-catcher: large breasts.

Read part 2: The Playboy Special Editions DO Show Labia

 

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