In this next part, I will be examining one of the great symbols of 20th-century America. It was “great” in the sense that it affected massive, widespread change in society. Upheaval, even. Revolution. It was “great” due to it’s power and effectiveness, but it was not “great” in any sense of being positive. In fact, it was a great cause of negativity and destruction (as you will see).
Was this symbol truly so significant and important? I would argue yes – it was. In fact, I would classify this symbol as industrial-grade in it’s engineering and military-grade in it’s power. It’s such a perfect symbol because it not only appears innocuous (even weak) but it looks like a “fun” symbol. In fact, that’s what it promises: fun. As in “play”.
This iconic, powerful, and highly-effective symbol I am referring to is the Playboy symbol.
You may be asking, what’s so powerful about a simple picture of some rabbit ears and one word in simple lettering? “What did I miss“?
If you doubt the power of this “simple” symbol, you only need to inspect its fruit and see the results it caused. Simple symbols can be very powerful: if you’ve ever been angrily shown the middle-finger after a minor altercation, you know how well a symbol can communicate a message quickly and powerfully. The Playboy symbol is such a “power” symbol, in part because of its “weak” appearance.
Strength Through Weakness
What exactly is a “weak” appearance, and is what ways does the Playboy bunny have the appearance of weakness? This symbol presents innocence, delicateness, frailness, vulnerability, and even femininity. But by appearing to be weak, it’s actually strong.
The immediately obvious weakness and frailness of the bunny symbol is apparent: the rabbit is a “soft” animal. The rabbit isn’t aggressive. We don’t think of rabbits as threatening. If anything, the rabbit is something that feels threatened itself. It’s a small animal that quickly flees and hides in holes. That image – instantly invoked in our minds at a subconscious level – is not the entire message of the symbol, however.
What else is the rabbit associated with? Reproduction and fertility. The act of mating, specifically. (As you will see with so many other symbols, primal forces are invoked – often connected to sexuality.) Ah, yes – now we see the obvious intended association with this symbol’s use. In a magazine intended to arouse men with images of unattainable women presented in a sexual context, the Playboy rabbit logo is apt.
The reproductive act and the things associated with reproduction (i.e. nudity and sex) are primal. The rabbit itself (the literal animal) is primal and invokes nature, woods, forests, and animalistic roots of mankind. (It’s almost as if these feelings could…return a person to Eden – if they allow the subconscious feelings to carry them away within their spirit.) Because this symbol signals on a basic, primal level – even a caveman can understand it! And we are all “cavemen” in a fleshly, human, basic sense.
But this basic, caveman-like, almost primitive manipulation of your mind (and feelings) doesn’t happen within your conscious, verbalized, “out-loud” mind – it happens on a more subdued level. It appeals to our deeply-embedded, subconscious, natural self more than to our modern, cultivated, refined, conscious, thinking intellect. And it does so without any sort of language. This is how symbols – especially this one – wield a great deal of power!
The Power of a Name
But in this case, the picture-logo is only a piece of the whole. The name itself communicates a great deal, on a less-than-conscious level. Have you ever really thought about the name? Many people could define a “playboy”: it’s some kind of a man-about-town who likes to have fun, dresses well, and has a bit of money to throw around. He’s a classy party animal, a sharp-dressed man from a ZZ Top video. Do you get the picture? Sure you do – because it’s the obvious intended meaning.
But the secondary, “shadow meaning” of the Playboy name is what it tells you. As an imperative command, the title says: “Play, boy”. When the reader of the magazine looks at the cover, the bold word authoritatively says to him, “You can be a grown-up boy – and do nothing but play.” If you doubt this interpretation – and if you doubt that an innocuous symbol can be so multi-layered with meaning – refer to the rules of symbols in part 1.
I must reiterate: the Playboy symbol is a military-grade symbol that affected 20th-century America like no other.
It took America from this:
It took American men from this: …to this:
It took American women from this:
The symbolism really was telling the American man that he didn’t need to grow up, that he deserved to have libertine fun, and that women like the ones pictured within the pages of the magazine were out there waiting for him. He just had to chase after the Playboy lifestyle – of course without knowing or realizing that the “rabbit” lifestyle symbolized on the cover was always just out of reach. The fruit of his efforts was more likely to be frustration and arrested development – not a facsimile of Hugh Hefner’s seemingly-eternal bachelor pad lifestyle, teeming with models, parties, and fun. Symbolism, in the case of the Playboy bunny, sells illusions – unattainable illusions to be longed after.
The “man who reads Playboy” was destined to be a loser, sapped of his energies by an alluring fantasy.
At the same time in American popular culture, women were being spoken to and subverted through other powerful means. The fruit of these (and other) efforts was the so-called “sexual revolution” of the 1960s, the undermining of the bedrock institution of society known as the “family”, the perversion of accepted morality, pollution of free speech, and ultimately the broken culture we have today. [The various well-engineered methods by which American culture was destroyed is another very complex story, but for now I’ll just acknowledge that foundations of American society finally “broke” right around the turn of the 21st century.]
You may be wondering if all those things could really be connected to Playboy. All that – just from a “harmless” rabbit symbol?
You wouldn’t be wrong to doubt me. (After all, the symbol is just a cuddly, fun, harmless rabbit – and that’s one of the symbol’s intended effects.) The direct effects seem to be negligible…until you actually do a bit of thinking. Hmm…what are the effects of viewing the pictures in magazines (or on websites) like Playboy? And what did Playboy give rise to? Did other magazines come after Playboy? Were the other magazines different in any way, such as the nature of their content?
You have to systematically think these things through and consider that this symbol has a dark side. Once you realize that the internet porn and even AI sexbots of today have a connection to Playboy magazine (which came out in 1953), you’ll wonder what else is connected and importantly why – and who could have planned all of this? Because it certain is a tangled, very intricate web of warrens.
To answer that last question – you need to think much, much bigger than even Hugh Hefner and his secret “blackmail” vault Even with his alleged CIA connections. But that is certainly an interesting “rabbit trail” – so let’s look at a quick video showing what Playboy hath wrought (you can play it at 2x and still get the gist):
After the string of contemplated suicides, actual suicides, drug addictions, tell-alls using words like “nightmare” and “creepy”, mental breakdowns, and other tragedies – a normal person would say, “Something’s wrong with this picture”. The rabbit trail of destroyed lives should make us consider that behind the seeming wonderland represented by Playboy symbol there was actually a rabbit hole that led to a pool of tears.
We know that Hugh Hefner manipulated his Playmate bunny “girlfriends” as well as everyone else he surrounded himself with. Why should we assume that his readers were no less manipulated? Let’s not forget that not only was Hugh Hefner a psychologist with some training in sociology – but he was a professional creative writer. And he was servant to high priest of perversion propaganda – Alfred Kinsey. From a purely human aspect, how well does he qualify as someone who might know how to use symbolism for control purposes? (He qualifies fairly well, and perfected his craft.)
Far from the image we’ve been presented, Playboy is not and was not “classy” or refined in any way. It was far removed from the soft, harmless innocence suggested by its symbolism. Instead, it was a slyly-marketed Trojan Horse – intended to subvert generations of men (and women!) toward brokenness.
Presently, Playboy has very little social relevance. But for fully half a century, Playboy played its role – and the plan worked.
It all started with a symbol. And symbolism can accomplish much – for good or evil. Symbols do have power.
For Further Research
Images of Children, Crime and Violence in Playboy, Penthouse, and Hustler – Summary (1989, US Department of Justice, Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention) by Judith A. Reisman, PhD
New Information About Dead Playboy Playmate Reveal Life as a Beta Kitten Slave – does reading this in light of recent verified info make it more believable?