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
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.
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
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),
that belong to this documentary but all can only be accessed from within Australia. Luckily the main one is
posted on YouTube.
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.
Knickers: Article by lip-loving
Ell, telling how the censors in Australia are giving her the
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) showing her large labia in
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