Playboy and the Making of the Good Life in Modern America

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Oxford University Press, Nov 5, 2009 - History - 308 pages
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Playboy was more than a magazine filled with pictures of nude women and advice on how to mix the perfect martini. Indeed, the magazine's vision of sexual liberation, high living, and "the good life" came to define mainstream images of postwar life. In exploring the history of America's most widely read and influential men's magazine, Elizabeth Fraterrigo hones in on the values, style, and gender formulations put forth in its pages and how they gained widespread currency in American culture. She shows that for Hugh Hefner, the "good life" meant the freedom to choose a lifestyle, and the one he promoted was the "playboy life," in which expensive goods and sexually available women were plentiful, obligations were few, and if one worked hard enough, one could enjoy abundant leisure and consumption. In support of this view, Playboy attacked early marriage, traditional gender arrangements, and sanctions against premarital sex, challenging the conservatism of family-centered postwar society. And despite the magazine's ups and downs, significant features of this "playboy life" have become engrained in American society.

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User Review  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

Fraterrigo writes, “Exploring the world created in the pages of Playboy, this book looks at transformations in postwar middle-class society. It begins by examining changing modes in gender roles and ... Read full review


Sex Gender and the Family Ideal in Postwar America
Modern Living and the Morality of the Playboy Life
Playboys Urban Answer to Suburbanization
Gender the Workplace and the Single Girl
The Ascendant Playboy Life
Playboy the Permissive Society and Womens Liberation
Americas Playboy Culture
Selected Bibliography

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About the author (2009)

Elizabeth Fraterrigo is Assistant Professor of History at Loyola University Chicago.

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