In the past 24 hours, much has been said and written about publication. On Thursday, founder Hugh Hefner passed away peacefully at persons under the age of 91. While it’s always sad when someone dies, I find it interesting that so many men and women herald Mr. Hefner as a legend. To me, he always seemed as a male profiteer of women’s bodies and a emblem of female subjugation; the “iconic” Playboy bunny suit garb a manifestation of scratchy, tightly-zipped persecution. And according to undercover reports by feminist trailblazer Gloria Steinem, wearing the original Playboy bunny suit wasn’t such a hoppy experience, after all.
In 1963, Steinem went undercover at a midtown Manhattan Playboy club to write an “expose for intelligent people” in publication. She called herself “Marie Catherine Ochs” and her essay “A Bunny’s Tale, ” and just as her body was on display in the club, her humour and resolve are apparent in every word of the three-piece story.
In order to qualify for the waitressing posture, the former Phi Beta Kappa sorority member was required to undergo a physical examination for sexually transmitted infections, as well as supplying her dimensions. In short, long and slender legs were an essential prerequisite. Steinem’s fit figure enabled her to snag the role, which she would come to realize was an impossible balancing act.
“We don’t like our girls to have any background, ” said the Bunny Mother, “We merely want you to fit the bunny image.”
Beauty-obsessed readers might be surprised to learn a little-known makeup fact from Steinem’s story. In 1963, you couldn’t simply hit up Duane Reade for some Ardell, you actually had to go to a 24 -hour beauty supply store to get personally fitted for false lashes. That portion actually does sound glamorous.
Not so flattering, however, was how white Playmate referred to women of coloring as “chocolate bunnies, ” who Steinem classified as “negro girls.” Truly cringeworthy, which in the end, is how Steinem characterized the entire experience. “I believe Hefner himself wants to go down in history as a person of sophistication and glamour. But the last person I would want to go down in history as is Hugh Hefner, ” she reportedly stated.
The exacting specifications of Mr. Hefner were largely reductive, prescriptive, and unrepresentative of the diverse pond of female pulchritude. Perhaps you grew up in epoch, and witnessed Holly, Bridget, and Kendra acquiesce to their boss’s bedtime, travel, and beauty and way regulations. The females were white, with long, white-platinum hair and surgically enhanced figures, matching the overarching aesthetic Hef pushed on the pages of.
With that said, Hef’s 26 year-old son Cooper Hefner took over the reigns at Playboy in July 2016 as Chief Creative Officer, and in that time, has expanded the fighting periodical’s definition of beauty. Most recently, a bald, small-chested Halsey graced the cover, loud and spunky in a sheer pink top. The younger Mr. Hefner, currently under a long-term relationship with British actress Scarlett Bryne( who portrayed Pansy Parkinson in ), even expressed regret for having Donald J. Trump as a encompas star.
Notwithstanding his role in the sexual revolution, the legacy of Hugh Hefner is muddled at best. But with Cooper at the helm, the happen of the guard for Playboy might just mean a better experience for Playmates, and women everywhere who look up to who Steinem described as “the most envied daughters in America.”
All I know is, I’m not running undercover to find out.