This Friday, Playboy hits the stands with none other than Marge Simpson on its cover. CNN reports (I have no idea why) that in an effort to rejuvenate the magazine’s dismal sales, the blue-haired babe will be featured to hopefully garner attention among younger readers. The spread will include a “scantily-clad Marge in cartoon lingerie,” in a way that creators hope will be “hip, cool and unusual.”
The cover’s design is also a throwback to their October 1971 cover that featured the breathtaking Darine Stern, the first Black woman to grace Playboy’s cover. Editorial director Jimmy Jellinek decided to recreate Stern’s cover because it was one of their “most iconic covers” and Marge’s blue beehive reminded him of Stern’s “beautiful, voluminous hairdo.”
I find it quite peculiar that he’s comparing the first Black woman on Playboy to the first cartoon woman on their cover. I’m not supporting or denouncing them when it comes to evaluating whether it was revolutionary for a black woman to be on the cover in terms of changing our standards of beauty or instead extending the scope of demographics of women to objectify, but it seems rather insulting to me.
In any case, despite CEO Scott Flanders made the (I wonder if he’s Ned Flanders’s cousin; Ned would flip out if he knew what his cousin did for a living) comment that this type of thing has “never been done,” he’s wrong: Maxim magazine ran a cover featuring the same “girl next door” Mrs. Simpson in 2004, whose implications really made my feminist blood boil (let me wash your dirty floors for you while you ogle my cleavage drenched in dishwater).
I’m not a big fan of Playboy, but won’t judge anyone for being a fan of the ladies it features or for “reading the articles.” However, I am a fan of originality and wittiness, both of which I’m afraid the recycled Marge cover lacks.