Gloria Steinem, feminist, thinks that NBC’s upcoming show, “The Playboy Club,” should be boycotted.
In case you didn’t know, Steinem is known (in small part) for writing an exposé of the real Playboy Club, where she worked briefly as an undercover waitress in 1963. According to Yahoo, Steinem has a sneaking suspicion that the TV show will not portray what she saw as the misogynistic reality of the clubs:
“Clearly ‘The Playboy Club’ is not going to be accurate. It was the tackiest place on earth. It was not glamorous at all,” Steinem told Reuters in an interview…”When I was working there and writing the expose, one of the things they had to change because of my expose was that they required all the Bunnies, who were just waitresses, to have an internal exam and a test for venereal disease.”
Yes…yes. That’s awful. Nevertheless, I admit that I’ll still probably tune into the show. Not because I believe that waitresses should be tested for venereal disease, and not because I want to deliberately defy Gloria Steinem, but because…well, if it’s a good show, I’ll watch it. Does it help that I’ll pay attention to how it portrays life for the women?
Anyway, I also think it’s worth noting, in this context, that an in-depth look at the Playboy lifestyle is hardly new to television. Documentaries about the subject abound, and “The Girls Next Door” gave us, the viewers, as good of access to the mansion as we’re likely to get while Hef is still alive. (Of course, like all television, that show didn’t exactly tell the whole truth either — for instance, I don’t think it was ever mentioned that the girls had curfews and weren’t allowed to have outside boyfriends. But that’s kind of what television does. Show me a TV show that portrays life as it actually is and I will show you someone who has been snowed by good writing, acting or editing.)
Anyway, apparently Steinem isn’t just offended by what she claims is a misrepresentation of what women working at the Playboy Club went through, but by positive depictions of Hef himself. As part of what seems to be a bit of a publicity tour, she tells the LA Times:
“Hefner is always trying to make himself and the clubs seem glamorous instead of tacky…[but] by now, it’s hard to work up any anger about Hefner — he’s a pathetic self-parody. Imagine if I’d made him up — no one would believe it!”