With the debut of NBC's primetime series The Playboy Club this week, the network and parent company, Comcast, is celebrating the boorish and misogynistic behavior so prevalent in Playboy Clubs and the Playboy magazine from their beginnings.
Indeed, the October 2011 issue of Playboy, as noted on its cover, provides a guide for the sexual exploitation of women in an article titled, "Gentleman's Guide to Having an Affair." I predict that The Playboy Club will be as exploitive as the magazine and will ultimately fail.
Too many women have had their marriages destroyed because their men have been more married to porn than to them. They won't watch. Too many parents have seen firsthand the devastation that porn has inflicted on their children. They won't be entertained. Playboy and porn have taken their toll on society, and NBC/Comcast is late to the party. The celebration is over.
Playboy has always sold the notion that porn, and its corollary, freewheeling sex, are fun and without consequence—it's what the sophisticated gentleman wants and deserves. The Playboy Club picks up on this theme. But this isn't the '60s anymore. We know too much about the personal and public health costs of multiple sexual partners; and we also know far more about the societal costs of pornography as men, women, children and communities across the country contend with the devastation of this so-called "victimless" pastime.
The website PornHarms.com has assembled a large database of peer-reviewed research on the harm from pornography. From the research, we know that regular consumption of pornography causes profound negative brain changes. Regular consumption of pornography is addicting for adults and even children. Increased domestic turmoil, violence and divorce are byproducts of porn. The dramatic rise of child pornography and child pornographers is yet another consequence of adult porn consumption. Regular consumers of porn find they need harder and more deviant genres of porn to be aroused, and many move to child porn.
The Playboy philosophy, that females are mere sex objects to be used, abused and discarded, and an "if it feels good do it" attitude toward sex may have succeeded in dominating our culture for a time, but now a growing and vocal public is warring against it.
In choosing to air The Playboy Club, NBC/Comcast is betting on the prurient for profits; they may have an audience, but any commercial sponsor will be boycotted. An army—ranging from family-focused organizations to feminists—has assembled against it. Large grass-roots groups like the Parents Television Council, American Family Association and Morality in Media have rallied to make the sexual exploitation of The Playboy Club unprofitable for NBC/Comcast. Feminists such as Gloria Steinem, who speaks for millions, have condemned the show.
Morality in Media launched a special website for the effort against the show, www.CloseTheClubOnNBC.com. There, readers will find the tools to join a great and growing army to fight against the "The Playboy Club."
Patrick A. Trueman is president of Morality in Media. He served as chief of the United States Department of Justice, Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Criminal Division, Washington, from 1987 to 1993.
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