Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy

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University of Chicago Press, May 1, 2011 - History - 240 pages
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For a lot of people, thoughts about the sexual politics of Playboy run along the lines of what Gloria Steinem reportedly once told Hugh Hefner: “A woman reading Playboy feels a little like a Jew reading a Nazi manual.” Hefner’s magazine celebrates men as swinging bachelors and women as objects of desire; ergo, it’s sexist.


Not so fast, says Carrie Pitzulo. With Bachelors and Bunnies, she delves into the history of the magazine to reveal its surprisingly strong record of support for women’s rights and the modernization of sexual and gender roles. Taking readers behind the scenes of Playboy’s heyday, Pitzulo shows how Hefner’s own complicated but thoughtful perspective on modern manhood, sexual liberation, and feminism played into debates—both in the editorial offices and on the magazine’s pages—about how Playboy’s trademark “girl next door” appeal could accommodate, acknowledge, and even honor the changing roles and new aspirations of women in postwar America. Revealing interviews with Hugh Hefner and his daughter (and later Playboy CEO) Christie Hefner, as well as with a number of editors and even Playmates, show that even as the magazine continued to present a romanticized notion of gender difference, it again and again demonstrated a commitment to equality and expanded opportunities for women.


Offering a surprising new take on a twentieth-century icon, Bachelors and Bunnies goes beyond the smoking jacket and the centerfold to uncover an unlikely ally for the feminist cause.

  

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Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy

User Review  - Donna Marie Smith - Book Verdict

Despite demeaning women and its stance against marriage early on, Playboy, founded in 1953 and famous for its Playmate centerfolds and focus on consumer-oriented bachelorhood, evolved into a ... Read full review

Contents

The Sassy Newcomer
1
Chapter 1 The Womanization of Playboy
13
The Pulchritudinous Playmates
35
Playboy and the Masculine Consumer
71
Playboy and Romantic Values
104
Playboy and the Fiery Feminists
127
Chapter 6 Feminism The Playboy Foundation and Political Activism
150
Conclusion
168
Notes
181
Works Cited
221
Index
233
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Carrie Pitzulo is assistant professor of history at the University of West Georgia.

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