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“Almost exactly 56 years ago, Gloria Steinem published an investigative tell-all in Show magazine titled “A Bunny’s Tale.” She had applied for a job as a Playboy Bunny under the name Marie Catherine Ochs, chosen because it was “too square to be phony.” Whether it was the name that did it, or the fact that Gloria Steinem was hot as hell, she breezed through her job interview. Bunny Marie discovered the working conditions to be tedious, uncomfortable, insulting, and at times dangerous. Steinem’s article later went into her essay collection, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983), which sold half a million copies and canonized “A Bunny’s Tale” as a historic event—the day a Bunny spoke back.
I’m no Bunny. But there’s a lot of good advice in “A Bunny’s Tale” about how to conduct an investigation. When I learned late last year that the Playboy Club was reopening (the original New York outpost closed in 1986), it seemed a delicious opportunity to assess, by way of juxtaposition, the world we live in now. Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died in 2017—may he rest in a heaven of baby oil and Viagra—and the version of femininity he espoused to such success (body meeting certain specifications, character docile) has taken a tumble down the stock market of cultural capital. The Playmate was this strange man’s invention, a girl, he said, with “no lace, no underwear, she is naked, well-washed with soap and water, and she is happy.”
Playboy still merchandises its iconic rabbit logo to clothing companies and other branding outlets, but the larger Playboy culture machine has ground to a halt. The mansion in Los Angeles has been sold off; the bunnies’ leporine reign is over. The company has switched direction, and the revamped print magazine—a thick, glossy dossier with tasteful nudity, an inclusive ethos, and no advertising—is no longer Playboy Enterprise’s best-known product.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"The likely successor to British Prime Minister Theresa May, Boris Johnson, has plans to subsume the government department overseeing development aid into the foreign office, effectively eliminating it. That will destroy a post-Brexit United..."
"Gerard Baker, editor-at-large at the Wall Street Journal (no reflexively anti-Trump publication) recently wrote a piece decrying Donald Trump and his foreign policy as a fount of erratic unpredictability. This essay will give the counter view...."
"On Wednesday, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar announced that she will be visiting Israel and the Palestinian territories in the coming weeks. Omar will be accompanied by Rep. Rashida Tlaib. The two freshman congresswomen have become a focal point of..."
"Netflix may have lost US subscribers for the first time since it began making its own shows, but that didn't stop the streaming giant from dropping new figures about how many people are sucked into its Adam Sandler vortex. (Spoiler: More than..."
"A few years ago, Amy Balliett, CEO of a Seattle-based design and marketing firm, noticed that as the work week slogged on, her employees’ energy and productivity wilted. “That would slump to such an extent that the same task on Monday would..."
"Over the last few days the #faceappchallenge has taken over social media. This “challenge” involves downloading a selfie-editing tool called FaceApp and using one of its filters to digitally age your face. You then post the photo of your wizened..."
"Although there are plenty of irrational aspects to life in modern America, few rival the odd fixation on lawns. Fertilizing, mowing, watering — these are all-American activities that, on their face, seem reasonable enough. But to spend hundreds..."
"Can a book change the way we think? I don’t mean that in the sense of a reader’s opinion or ideology shifting—of course the right literary work can do that. But can a book rewire the brain itself, literally changing the way one particular mind..."
"It’s our job to let kids know we see and hear them, but we’re not necessarily going to solve siblings’ conflicts for them (or else they never get the practice). When squabbles start, imagine you’re a sportscaster and describe what you see in..."
"Magali Trejo-Martinez, a 22-year-old living in Salem, Oregon, recently went on a date that was rather uninspiring. “I had dinner, had a couple margaritas, and then went home,” is how she recapped the evening. This outcome wasn’t entirely..."
"The first lunar landing was many things — a D-Day-like feat of planning and logistics, a testament to the power of man's will, an ostensible propaganda coup for NATO. It was also, I think, one of the most misunderstood events in the history of..."
"THE FIRST TIME Bernie Sanders ran for president, he didn’t talk much about being Jewish. In fact, he didn’t talk much about himself at all. His 2016 primary campaign, like his whole political career, was relentlessly focused on one topic: income..."