01/19/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Madre Mia! Playboy Does Virgin Mother Guadalupe

Those crazzzzy Mexicans, putting the sacred Virgen on the cover! 'Ol Lupe made Miss December -- now there's a novel way to say Feliz Navidad!


If you hadn't heard, there's an international incident afoot: Mexican Playboy put on its December cover a busty naked woman shrouded in a white habit-type thing in front of a stained-glass window with the headline "Te adoramos, Maria," or "we adore you, Maria" in what is clearly a nod to the Mexican icon of the Virgen de Guadalupe.

So what's the big deal?

Well, to me it's not that Playboy used a hyper-sexualized image of a revered religious icon to peddle mags -- hey, business is bad these days and let's face it, proud Mary's lookin' good. The whole feminist thing ... I'm sooooo not going there.


And it's not that the revered religious icon has such intense meaning to Mexicans ... wait let me recap for those who don't know the story: from December 1st through 12th Mexicans all over the world commemorate the miraculous appearance of the Virgin of Guadalupe to a peasant named Juan Diego in Mexico, ending with a big celebration of the Festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

So as I was saying, it's not that the revered religious icon has such a respectful meaning to Mexicans -- I can go down to 26th street in Chicago and get myself some Virgen Guadalupe playing cards, purses, bandannas, thongs, and window decals. Hey, Mexicans are known for their tackiness -- fuzzy ball curtains hanging from the windows of the family conversion van, need I say more?

Now, why am I mad at Playboy? Because they're LIARS!

According to a Reuters news report, Chicago-based Playboy Enterprises, Inc. "apologized" for any implied heresy in a statement, by saying the Mexican edition of the magazine is published by a licensee, and that the company did not approve or endorse the cover. "While Playboy Mexico never meant for the cover or images to offend anyone, we recognize that it has created offense, and we as well as Playboy Mexico offer our sincerest apologies."

But wait, that's not the lie part, keep reading. Their statement quoted Raul Sayrols, publisher of Playboy Mexico, thusly: "The image is not and never was intended to portray the Virgin of Guadalupe or any other religious figure. The intent was to reflect a Renaissance-like mood on the cover."

Give. Me. A. Break.

Dude, you put a heavenly hottie on the cover to generate buzz and you got it -- don't act like it's all some cosmic coincidence that the puritans among us took it to mean that if you buy the magazine you can pretend you're Juan Diego sneeking a peek at what's under the Virgen madre's hood. Ay dios mio!

Playboy: ignore the naysayers and save us from the ridiculous excuses. If you're going to give the Mexican people an alternative to getting their religious miracle on, just own it.

Esther J. Cepeda owns -- and frequently wears -- a set of tacky "Virgin" bracelets. Get your miracle on at