I started off analyzing the Photoshop jobs, and in particular looking for mistakes and inconsistencies. I found a couple of big ones-- one was a model whose arm had clearly been thinned, but they'd missed a spot and left a bulge. Another was a model who had very pale nipples in some photos and very dark ones in others. Mostly the models just looked freakish and abnormal.
And then I started reading. Playboy Advisor had a fascinating letter. I paraphrase heavily:
"My six-year-old son is starting to show an interest in Playboy. I think this will give him a distorted perception of women. Can you recommend something that has a wider variety of body types?"
"Almost all publications show a stylized version of beauty. However, you might want to check out the book (I don't remember the title) which ... By the way, are you sure your son is ready for this?"
I thought this exchange was fascinating exchange, especially their very straightforward acknowledgment that their photos are "stylized". I think the phrase "grossly distorted" would be more accurate, but "stylized" certainly fits.
The next interesting letter had to do with something from an earlier issue-- "Help! I'm attracted to a she-male." The letter went something like this:
"That's disgusting. I don't ever want to see that filth again. Aren't there enough publications for faggots?"
"'Faggots' aren't usually attracted to men who look like women."
I found that last one particularly ironic, since the salon I was sitting in currently hosts a drag show. (The hairdryer in the photo is the one I was sitting under while reading that letter.)