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The Battle in Every Man s Bed Playboy and the Fiery
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The Battlein EveryMan sBed,andthe FieryFeminists,CARRIE PITZULO. GraduateCenter City Universityof New York, I wasa feministbeforetherewas such a thing as feminism That sa partof. the historyveryfew peopleknow,Hugh Hefner founderof Playboymagazine. IT MAY SEEM OBVIOUS THAT Playboy and the women s movement. wouldcometo blowsby the early1970s Indeedthey did throughout. the previousdecade In 1962journalist andfuturefeministleaderGloria. Steinemwentundercover to workbrieflyatthePlayboyClubin Chicagoas. a bunny waitress 2 WritingforShowmagazine sheclaimedpoorworking. conditionsandsexualharassment ofwomen SixyearslaterinAtlanticCity. NewJersey feminists,radical denounced the Unbeatable Madonna Whore. Combination promotedbyPlayboy andtheMissAmerica pageantthatwas. held thereannually ManyfeministsdecriedPlayboy s use of centerfold. playmates andbunniesasobjectifying anddegrading, Despitethese oft citedcritiques Playboytook a progressivestanceon.
women srightsthroughoutthe 1960sand1970sandwasparticularly vo. calin supportof abortion Evidenceof thispositioncanbe foundin the. magazine s articlesandeditorialsaswellasin the charitabledonationsof. the PlayboyFoundation the philanthropic armof the magazine which. contributedthousands of dollars,to abortion beforeRoe. rightsorganizations, v Wade overturned antiabortionlawsin theUnitedStates In addition the. Playboy Foundation providedtheAmerican CivilLiberties. Union ACLU,1WilS June2002 100,Hylton HughHefner,2Thefirst Esquire. PlayboyClubwasfoundedin Chicagoin 1960asa restaurant andnightclub. The popularclubs in whichpatronswererequiredto be key holding members then. sprungupacrosstheUnitedStatesandoverseas Theclubswereparticularly. notedfortheir,bunny whoworetight revealing,waitresses costumesin themanner of one piece. suits bunnyears andwhitefurrytails,3 NoMoreMiss in Takin It to theStreets.
A SixtiesReader ed Alexander, BloomandWiniBreines NewYork OxfordUniversity Press 1995 483. JournaloftheHistoryof Sexuality Vol 17 No 2 May2008. c 2008 bythe Universityof TexasPress P O Box 7819 Austin TX 78713 7819. This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,260 CARRIEPITZULO. withfundsforitsworkonwomen srightsandhelpedfundday care centers. for workingmothers allindications thatPlayboy s genderpolitics while. complexandcontradictory weremuchmorewomanfriendly thanprevious. accountshaveacknowledged,historical, Mostfeministcritiquesof Playboyunderstandably tendto focuson the. centerfolds seem,scholars to agree thatthe playmates representthe. objectification degradation of women For instance historian Bill. OsgerbywritesthatPlayboy wasa pantheonto the sexualexploitation of. women whileMariaElenaBuszekaccusesPlayboy of casual. misogyny 4, Numerousotherobservers of the pastfiftyyears bothlayandacademic.
havealreadynotedthesexistnatureof themagazine Thepointis certainly. welltaken but PlayboyofferedAmericamorethanjustpicturesof naked. women The magazinehostedimportantdiscussions aboutwomen slib. eration Nonetheless therehasbeenverylittleconsideration of the ways. in which apartfromitscenterfolds Playboy swords and moneymayhave. contributedto the growthof feminism Indeed by the early1970s the. magazine servedasaregular progressive andmainstream forumfordiscus. sionsof women sexpanding rolesin society, The publicationneededactivelyto supportliberatedwomanhoodfor. thehedonismcentralto thePlayboy,severalreasons Ideologically lifestyle. wouldnot havebeenpossiblewithoutwomenfreeto liveandloveasthey. liked In earliergenerations,middle class menhadpatronized prostitutes. andworking class womenandthus protected thepurityofwomenof their. own class But accordingto the Playboyphilosophy the bachelorlifestyle. dependedupon the man ssexualdesirabilityto women of his own social. and economicrank If the bachelorhad to payfor sex then his image as a. playboywouldbecompromised if theVictorian,Similarly doublestandard. 4Bill inParadise YouthandLeisure Style,inModern America.
Osgerby Playboys Masculinity, Oxford Berg 2001 145 Maria ElenaBuszek Pin upGrrrls Feminism Sexuality Popular. Culture Durham N C DukeUniversity Press 2006 244 Scholarlystudieson Playboy. particularlyits treatment of masculinity do exist butmostarebriefconsiderations or are. includedaspartof broader studies Theseworks manyof whichinformthisessay taketheir. cuefromBarbara Ehrenreich TheHeartsofMen American Dreams andtheFlightfromCom. mitment Garden City N Y AnchorPress Doubleday 1983 inwhichshearguedthatthe. magazine offered acoherent program forthemalerebellion againstfamilial. commitment, andbreadwinning obligation in the 1950s 50 RecentstudiesincludeJamesGilbert Men. in theMiddle SearchingforMasculinity in the1950s Chicago Universityof ChicagoPress. 2005 JoanneMeyerowitz Women Cheesecake andBorderline Material Responses to. GirliePictures in theMid 20thCentury U S Journalof Women sHistory8 no 3 1996. 9 25 BeatrizPreciado Pornotopia in ColdWarHothouses InventingPostwar Culture. fromCockpit toPlayboy ed Annmarie Brennan BeatrizColomina andJeannieKim New. York Princeton Architectural Press 2004 216 85 Thereis littlerecentworkthatfocuses. on Playboy s treatment of womanhood apartfromthe centerfolds DavidAllyn however. includesa discussion of thistopicin hislargerworkon the era MakeLove Not War The. SexualRevolution an Unfettered History Boston Little Brown 2000 esp 21 22. 5 JohnD Emilioand EstelleB Freedman IntimateMatters A Historyof Sexuality in. America NewYork Harper Row 1988 133, This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,Battlein EveryMan sBed 261. continuedto constrainwomen ssexuality thenthe bachelorwouldlack. the ultimatevalidation of willingandablesexualpartners. Professionally Hefnerandhis editorsneededto addressthe feminist. movement becausetheysawtheirmagazine asaseriousjournalistic vehicle. Playboy covered other important cultural and political trends of the sixties. includingthecivilrightsmovement thewarinVietnam andtheemerging. drugculture If it hadfailedto discusswomen sliberation criticswould. haveaccusedthemagazine of nottakingtheneedsandconcernsofwomen. seriously Thisneglectwouldalsohavebolsteredfeministcriticism of Play. boyandfurtherdemonizedHefnerin the eyesof manyAmerican liberals. Lastly manyPlayboy readersdemandedthatthe magazinedealwiththe. question of feminism Menandwomenalikewrotelettersto Playboy airing. theirdiverseviewson thesubject andtheychallenged themagazine to do. A cynicmightsaythatprogressive genderpoliticsmerelyservedthe. needsof therandyplayboy forliberated womanhood wouldmeangreater. sexualsatisfaction for men andlegalizedabortionwouldfreemenfrom. the constraints of fatherhood In fact theseissueswereconsequences of. the broader sexualrevolutionandthewomen smovement Butin a 2006. interviewHefnercallsthe accusation pathetic and insiststhat Play. boy was there from the beginning before feminists evenhadtheirvoice. fighting for birthcontrol and abortion,rights theycouldn tbe more.
wrong 1 6 Longtime senior editor Nat Lehrman in a self congratulatory. echoof thesesentiments claimsthatPlayboy cameout on these impor. tantfeministissue s beforethefeminists hadfiguredoutwhattheirissues. were Hefner sandLehrman s commentsarean obviousexaggeration. particularly regarding history feministactivism,the of Theirdefensiveness. suggests they were stillunable to the,comprehend feministcriticism. of theirmagazine fortyyears afterthe factbutnonetheless sawthemselves. aswomen spoliticalally, HughM Hefner interview bytheauthor 3 November 2006 Playboy Mansion West. LosAngeles, 7Lehrman workedatPlayboyfrom1963to 1987invarious assenior. capacities,editorandpresidentof publishing,andhehelpedto foundandoperatethePlayboy Founda.
tion Aseditor Lehrman wasin chargeof allarticlesthatdealtwithhumansexuality The. quotationis fromNat Lehrman takenfrompersonal notesandrecollections thathe had. drawnupforanautobiography of HughHefnerthatwasnevercompleted Thenoteswere. givento theauthorin ane maildated19 June2006 Lehrman repeated thisstatementin an. interviewwiththeauthoron 23 June2006, 8 Formoreonthehistoryoftwentieth centuryfeminism seeNancyF Cott TheGrounding. ofModern Feminism NewHaven Conn YaleUniversity Press 1987 JoanneMeyerowitz. Not June Cleaver Womenand Genderin PostwarAmerica 1945 1960 Philadelphia Temple. University Press 1994 Ruth Rosen The WorldSplit Open How the Modern Women sMove. ment Changed America New York Penguin 2001 Leila J Rupp and Verta A Taylor. Survival in the Doldrums TheAmerican Women sRights Movement 1945 to the 1960s New. York OxfordUniversity,Press 1987, This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,262 CARRIEPITZULO. Indeed Playboy employeeswho workedat the magazineduringthe. sixtiesinsistthatthedominantpoliticalphilosophy of theeditors writers. andstaffwasliberalandin somecasesradical 9 Hefner spoliticalviews. spelledout in editorials in the period showa mancommittedto liberal. ism Hefnersupportedcivilrightsandthe separation of churchandstate. andwasopposedto the warin Vietnam Fromhis perspective andthe. perspective of most of his editors supportfor women s liberation was. a naturaloutgrowthof his otherpoliticalpositions By 1970 however. Hefnerperceived twoversionsof feminism Onewasa supposedly rational. andmainstream factionthatpromotedliberalgoalslikeantidiscrimination. laws andthe otherwasan extremeandmilitantversionthat allegedly. wantedto overturnheterosexuality Hefner ssimpledichotomyfailed. to comprehend the diversityof the feministmovement whichincluded. not onlythesetwopolesbutalsoa widerangeof activismthatcombined. varyinggoals agendas andpriorities 10,In spiteof a generally. progressive inclination,though Playboy published, numerousarticleswitha definitively misogynisttone particularly in the.
1950sandearly1960s Someof the mostnotablewerea seriesof articles. bythe antifeminist authorPhilipWylie Wylieis bestknownforhis 1942. book Generation of Vipers in whichhe coinedthe term momism the. supposedlypervasive brand of domineering womanhood that crushed. malestrengthand autonomy The historianJamesGilbertdocuments. a closeprofessional associationbetweenPlayboy s editorialdirector A. C Spectorsky and Wylie Gilbert swork highlightsboth Hefner s and. Spectorsky seffortsto encourageWylieto contributeantiwomandiatribes. forthe magazine evengoadinghimwithpotentialtopics Wylieperformed. on cue three times between 1956 and 1963 Throughhim Playboyread. erswereintroducedto the theoryof womanization 12 Likemomism. womanization wasthe beliefthatnagging parasitic,womenweresapping. the virilityof Americanmen The notionwaspredicated not only on a. interviewswithlongtime editorsJimPetersen 2 February. Playboy 2006 Evanston,Nellis 4 May2006 Chicago, Ill Barbara Ill ArleneBouras 22 June2006 NewYorkCity. andNatLehrman 23 June2006 NewYorkCity, 10Thewomen smovement to includeactivists andorganizations thathadvarious. andoftencompeting thepoliticsof race sexualorientation. agendas class mother, hood etc RuthRosenhasprovided oneof thenewesthistories of second wavefeminismin. The WorldSplit Open,A C washiredatPlayboy,in 1956andworkedthereuntilhisdeathin 1972.
Spectorsky, He originally madea nameforhimselfwitha best selling book TheExurbanites thatwas. a critiqueof postwar, American suburbanlife Spectorsky is oftencreditedwithbringinga. senseof refinement,particularly its literary,regarding style to Playboy. SeeGilbert Menin,the Middle 189 214,12 articles,forPlayboy. were TheAbdicating,MaleandHowtheGrayFlannel,PhilipWylie s.
MindExploitsHimthroughHisWomen intheNovember1956issue TheWomanization. in September,of America 1958 and TheCareer,Woman in January. This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,Battlein EveryMan sBed 263. supposedrampant riseof femalesocialdominationbutalsoon a danger. ous swappingof genderidentity 13, Hefnerwasfixatedon womanization In a 1964editorialhe arguedthat. a breakdown of genderdistinction in Americahadresultedin an asexual. society whichwascertainly notawelcomeoutcomefora manlikeHefner. whoseempiredependedon anembrace of sexualdifference Thus Hefner. couldsupportfeminismonlyup to the pointwhereit critiquedfeminine. beautyorheterosexuality He wantedwomento looklikewomen accord. ing to the playmatestandard andhe wantedmen to continueto have. the traditionalthrillof thesexualchase Ascompetingvisionsof feminism. emergedduringthe latesixties Playboy balanced betweenle. precariously, gitimatesupport for liberal feminism and hysteriaoverthe challenge. by more militant feminists, Hefnernow sees the earlyfeministcritiqueof his magazinenot as a.
validgrievance but asan antisexual elementwithinthe women smove. ment He insiststhatthe radicalviewof him isconfused is reallytruly. not thoughtout but also that this confusionis forunderstandable. reasons notbecausehe believesthatthe playmates mayhavereason. ably been interpreted as sexistor degrading but he says because. the feministswho targetedhismagazinesharedin the repressive Puritan. heritage of America Claiming the moral high ground Hefner saw. himselfas a championof sexualliberationfor all andnot as a purveyor. of patriarchalism He interprets the feministcritiqueof hismagazineasa. critique sexuality itself, Hefnerand manyof his editorssawno contradiction betweentheir. personalstanceon feminismandPlayboy s nudecenterfolds One senior. editor Murray Fisher putit bluntly Themagazine is anintelligent. magazine It is alsointerested in titsandass So aremen Playboydidn t. thinkonemoreimportant thantheother norseeanycontradiction between. them Hefnersays Thesuggestion thatsomehowyoucanhaveasociety. thatcelebrates sexuality and then feelsdemeanedbyimagesof sexuality is. bizarre 17Hefnerrefusesto considerthe dilemmathatso manyfeminists. haveseen thatwhentheimagesareonlyofwomen thesupposed celebra. tionof sexuality is reallya privileging of heterosexual maledesire. 13 a roundtable,discussion in 1962 SeeGilbert,onwomanization Men. in theMiddle 211 12 andAllyn MakeLove Not War 21 22. 14The installment in December,PlayboyPhilosophy 19 originally. published 1964 quota,tiontakenfroma boundcollection. of theeditorials,donebyPlayboymagazinestaff Chicago.
HMHPublishing 1963 64 166,Hefner interview,16 in 1960afterworking. FisherbeganatPlayboy inpublicrelations,atNBCtelevi. sionstudiosin NewYorkCity Thequotation is fromThomasWeyr Reaching forParadise. ThePlayboy Vision,ofAmerica NewYork TimesBooks 1978 173. 17Hefner interview, This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,264 CARRIEPITZULO.
Long timeeditorBarbara Nellis a self identified,feministandcivilrights. activistin thesixties nowtakesa different anddecidedly morelighthearted. viewof thecenterfolds thanHefneror forthatmatter manyof hiscritics. To theextentthatthepicturesmayhavebeeninconsistent withfeminism. Nellissaysthatsheneverconsidered themanythingmorethan silly and. she feelsthatHefnerwasnot worthyof feminist demonization Nellis. suggeststhattheplaymates mightbeviewedfromavarietyof perspectives. Whilemostfeministsconsideredthemdegrading forwomenlikeNellis. thecenterfolds weremerelyplayfulif immature expressions of commercial. sexuality At theheightof thewomen smovement however Nellisrecalls. thatmanyof herliberalfriendscriticized herforworkingatPlayboy though. sheneverthoughtof the magazineas sexist Nellissimplyviewedherjob. asa greatopportunity to meetimportant people including aswewillsee. feministleaderslikeBettyFriedan, Themodernfeministmovement commonlyknownas second wave. feminismasopposedto the firstwave of thenineteenthandearlytwen. tieth centuries hadits popularrootsin partin the 1963 publicationof. BettyFriedan s TheFeminine Mystique Thebest selling bookpointedto a. malaisethatgrippedsuburban womenwho trappedbythe limitations of. traditional and,marriage motherhood were unableto fulfill. their intellectual, andcreative potential Thebook aswellasa 1963U S government report. on the statusof women inspiredthefoundingof theU S basedNational. Organization forWomen NOW in 1966 Inthemid 1960s however the. women smovementwasstillin itsinfancy withactivists workingforlegal. reformthroughNOWandcollegewomenin activistorganizations likethe. Studentsfora Democratic Society SDS developing a feministconscious. nessandchallenging maleleadership Theyear1968 markeda changein. the movement Thepushforwomen srightstookon a nationalcharacter. andgainedincreasing attentionin the popularculture At the sametime. manyactivistsbeganto embracea moreradicalagendafocusedon libera. tion inwhichthe goal wasto revolutionize consciousness andculture. not to reformlawandpublicpolicy 19 Eventually the movement would. embracea widerangeof ideals includingthepoliticsof orgasm self help. gynecology andwomen only communes 20, Fromthe earlyyearsof women sliberation Playboy wasa consistent.
targetof protestsandpicketers forits perpetuation of degrading stereo. typesof women 21 Hefnerbiographer RussellMillerwrites Feminists. infiltrated the PlayboyMansionin Chicagoandplastered thepaintingsin. Nellis interview,19Ellen Carol DuBois and, Lynn Dumenil Through Women sEyes An American History. Boston Bedford St Martin s 2005 635, Rosen TheWorldSplitOpen 148 50 on orgasm 176 77 on self helpgynecology. 249 on communes,21DuBoisand,Dumenil ThroughWomen s Eyes 636. This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,Battlein EveryMan sBed 265. theballroom withanti Playboy stickers Demonstrations tookplaceoutside. PlayboyClubsandat GrinnellCollegein Iowa where halfa dozenmale. andfemalestudentsstrippedduringa visitby a Playboy representative 22. One Grinnellwomandeclared WeprotestPlayboy s imagesof lapdog. femaleplaythings withidealizedproportions ThePlayboy. bunniesare, an affrontto humansexualdignity 23 Despite Hefner sperceptionthat.
militantfeminismwasthe thornin his side activistsfromvariouspoints. on the feministspectrumtargetedPlayboy, Bytheendof thesixties women sliberation hadbecomeavast diverse. movementdemandingthe attentionof the nationand also of Playboy. An earlyacknowledgment of the emancipated womanappeared in The. New Girl a playfulessayby BeatpoetandwriterJohnClellonHolmes. publishedin January1968 Describedas anappreciative appraisalof. the emergentmodernfemale self emancipated unabashedly sexy. charmingly individualistic,anda joy to the menin herlife Holmesfa. vorablycontrasted thenewwomanhood withthe masculinized women. of first wavefeminismand calledthis new movement postfeminism. As the countrysaton the cuspof the explodingwomen smovement he. pronounced that feminism is dead Indeed he wrote theAmerican. womanhadalready enteredintoanequalitywithmen psychicaswellas. legal in whichshe canat lastdiscover and a,24 develop uniquely. individual,anda uniquelyfemininepersonality, Theemancipated womanconceivedby Holmeswasnot hisinvention. In fact shehadappeared in Playboy someyearsearlierin theformof Helen. GurleyBrown Themagazine embraced theversionof liberatedfemininity. thatBrownarticulated in her 1962 book Sexand theSingleGirl which. celebratedthe traditionaldanceof heterosexualseductionbut also called. for women seconomicindependence,andtheirsexualandreproductive.
freedom 25,Toutingherbookas theunmarriedwoman sguideto men. Miller Bunny TheRealStoryof Playboy NewYork PlumeBooks 1984. Rosen TheWorld Open 163,24JohnClellon Split The NewGirl Playboy. Holmes January 1968 178 81 182 186, Love Not WarAllynseesPlayboy s inclusionof Wylie swritings particularly. TheCareer Woman asanindication thatPlayboyandthusHefnerdidnotsupport Helen. GurleyBrown s versionof financially,independent womanhood Reflectingthe magazine s. oftencontradictory approach to femininity,however thereis alsoevidenceto thecontrary.
Forexample Playboyfeaturedanarticleonwomenandemployment byBrown Sexandthe. Office inJuly1964 WhileJamesGilbertshowsa literary friendship betweenSpectorsky. andWylie archival evidencesuggestsa similar betweenSpectorsky. relationship andBrown, lettersfromBrownto Spectorsky datedfrom1963to 1972 froma collection of lettersthat. wereauctioned byChristie s December 2003 copyinpossession ofPlayboyEnterprises Inc. Chicago Ill no boxorotheridentifying number In supportof BrownandCosmopolitan. Spectorsky sharedPlayboy sprizedlistof profile,writers andfeeswithherin 1967 someof. thehighestin theindustry Brownto Spectorsky 31 January 1967 ibid Hefnerconfirms. analliance withBrown Hefner interview, This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,266 CARRIEPITZULO. careers the apartment diet fashion moneyandmen Brownin a sense. repackaged the Playboy lifestylefor women 26 Hefnersaysthatafterher. bookwaspublished Browncameto himandoffered tostarta magazine. thatwouldbe the femaleversionof Playboy Becausehis companywas. putting allits money into the Playboy Clubs thatwerespringing up across. thecountry however andstruggling to keephisownnewmagazine Show. Biz Illustrated afloat he wasunableto begina new project 27 Instead. Brownwenton to becomeeditorof Cosmopolitan wheresheremadethe. magazinein theimageof Playboy, ThroughherbookandlaterthroughCosmopolitan Browninsistedupon.
women seconomicindependence andreproductive choice Sherejected. the sexualdoublestandard yet shestillembraced heterosexual seduction. andfemininity A yearbeforeBettyFriedanpublishedherfeministcallto. arms Brownchallenged thetraditional notionsof femininesexualpassiv. ity and financial dependence When it hit the marketin 1962 Sexandthe. SingleGirlbecamea bestseller 28 Brown sversionof women sliberation. echoedthe styleof Playboy Ithinka singlewoman sbiggestproblemis. copingwiththe peoplewho aretryingto marryheroff The single. woman farfrombeinga creature to bepitiedandpatronized is emerging. asthe newestglamourgirlof ourtimes LikeHefner shecelebrated the. differencesbetweenthe sexes Beingsexymeansthatyou acceptyour. selfas a woman withallthe functionsof a woman Shefocusedon. women srelationship to money too buttookanapproach thatcombined. independence with traditionalstereotypes of women Beingsmartabout. money sexy part It is of the attractive American career girl. ing ableto reconcilea checkbook havingsomethingto reconcile being. ableto payyourownway onlydon tyoudare 29BrowngaveAmerica. a femaleversionof Hefnerwithwhichto contend, Playboy s alliance withBrownwasnatural andinApril1963themagazine. publishedaninterviewwiththe newlyfamousauthor justas Playboy had. styled sexuality as an all encompassing that,lifestyle included fashion. design andfinedining Brownarguedthat partof a singlegirl sarsenal. of sexappealis herapartment andherclothesandthefactthatshecangive. an intimatelittledinner Whileherentirebookwaspremisedon sexual. liberation shenotedin herinterviewthat I mnot forpromiscuity I. justknowwhatgoeson AndI knowit isn tthe endof theworldwhena. girlhasanaffair Manyof herviewsreflected theattitudePlayboy swriters. hadbeenpromotingforyears Ido thinkthere stoo muchof thisfalling. hopelessly hideously horriblyin lovebecauseyou vebeento bedwitha. 26Helen Brown SexandtheSingleGirl NewYork,Gurley House 1962 front. Hefner interview, Douglas Wherethe Girls Are Growing Up Female with the Mass Media New. TimesBooks 1994 68,Brown Sex and the Single Girl 4 5 65 105.
This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,Battlein EveryMan sBed 267. man Becauseof our moresin this countryandour conscience stricken. girls theyfeelthatanymantheysleepwithmustbe the one thatthey. marry 30 Challenging the sexualdoublestandard Brownundoubtedly. contributed to a changingculturethatincreasingly acceptedwomen sac. tivesexuality, DespiteBrown sfrivolous writingstyle shehadimportant thingsto say. Shetold Playboy thatshe hadhopedto include in her book a sectionon. contraception andabortionbutthatherpublisher refused I get a lot of. mailabouthowto keepfromhavinga baby It shouldn tbe thatmuch. of a problem American abortionlawsneed overhauling It s. outrageous girls can tbe aborted here It would be two yearsbefore. theU S Supreme Courtwouldextendprivacy rights even to cover theuse. of contraceptives in Griswold v Connecticutand ten years before the same. rightwasinterpreted to includeabortion but these issues were beingad. dressedin Playboy bya best sellingfemaleauthor In herinterviewBrown. laudedindependent fun lovingfemininity whileat the sametimeshefell. backon oldstereotypes Shediscussed theuseof femalesexuality asa very. strongweapon manipulating men Atthe same time she attributed such. a needto largergenderinequitiesin the world Ifallthingswereequal. if menandwomenheldthesamejobsandgot the samethingsout of. beingmarried thenI thinkit wouldbewrong 31 Brownsaidthepurpose. of herbookwasto convincewomen that they were not powerlesseither. sexually or economically, Brown s versionof femininity sexy butnotclingy independent butnot. remote remained thepreference of Playboythroughout the decade The. feeling mutual as Brown expressed enthusiastic for. support Playboy in, personallettersto its editorialdirector Spectorsky Brownrepeatedlytold. Spectorskythatas editorin chiefof Cosmopolitan shevaluedthe training. she hadreceivedfromhim andfromPlayboyandthatshewas inspiredand. impressed by the magazine Callingit one of thegood thingsof life. Brownsubmitted inPlayboy,lettersto theeditorforpublication Shepraised.
it foracknowledging way that women reallyare as in. interested,sexasmenare if not more so 32, In 1968 fiveyearsafterBrown sinterviewin Playboy Holmes spieceon. postfeminism waspublished In the intervening yearsBrown ssinglegirl. hadbeenreplacedbya newandmuchmorepolitically chargedversionof. emancipated womanhood Though Holmes s addressed,article feminism. 30 HelenGurley,Interview Brown April1963 takenfromthePlayboy. thePlayboy, onlinearchive CyberClub available onlineathttp cyber playboy com mem. bers magazine interviews 196304,32Helen 31 January1967 10 February1971 11.
GurleyBrownto A C Spectorsky,March1966 andoriginal forpublication. letterto Playboy to theEditorcolumn,intheLetters, fromHelenGurley Brownregarding thearticle VenusDefiled byWilliam Iverson 16June. 1966 inauctionedletters seenote25, This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,268 CARRIEPITZULO. it lackedanysenseof politicalurgencyandapparently ruffledfewfeathers. Celebrating modernwomanhoodas a joy Holmes likeBrowna few. yearsearlier presenteda fantasyof nonthreatening sexy andfun female. liberation Believing that most sexual inequitieshad been relegatedto his. tory he assumed there was littlereason to worry about the changesthat. mightaccompanygender revolution, By1970Playboy couldno longeraffordsuchlightheartedness Feminists.
picketedoutsidethePlayboy officesandHefner s mansion inChicago which. wascalled abastionof malesupremacy andcommercial exploitationof. womenas sexobjects YouthinkthatHughHefnerandPlayboy don t. exploitwomen askedoneprotester I llbelievethatwhenI seeHefner. walking the streets of Chicago with a bunnytailtied to his rump she. added referring to the Playboy Clubs bunnywaitresses Inthatsameyear. a twenty year old California activist MegMcNelly of the playmates. in a LosAngelesTimesessay Itoccurredto methiswasthebigmaleidea. thata girlis supposedto be beautifulandonlyforhispleasure andthat. sheshutsup forlife 34 Protesters at the 1968 MissAmerica Pageantlike. wisetargetedmedialikePlayboy whileGloriaSteinemcalledthe Playboy. lifestyle boyish undeveloped anti sensual vicarious andsad Radicals. alsostormedthe stageof TheDickCavettShow disrupting anappearance. of Hefnerwithshoutsof Offthepig 36 In 1970Hefnerreceiveda death. threatfroma militantwomen sgroupthatcalleditselftheWomen sInter. nationalTerrorist Conspiracy fromHell WITCH Thehandwritten note. read h h Wherever yougo Whatever youdo TheBlackHexof Death. is uponyou 37 Asthewomen smovementexpanded criticismof Hefner. theplaymates andthebunniesbecameanevermorecommonrefrain The. seriousness of thesecomplaints deaththreatsnotwithstanding showedthat. manyfeministsapparently sawPlayboy s portrayalof womenasa problem. on parwithpaydifferentials andlackof reproductive rights. At the sametime pressurefromPlayboy s own readersto addressthe. women smovementincreased asForumlettersdiscussing feminismbegan. to appearregularly Suchlettersservedan importantrolein Playboy By. the late 1960sthe magazinehadseveralletterscolumns whichoperated. asan ongoingdialoguebetweenHefnerandhisreaders includingmany. 33 AntibunniesJeeratHefnerPeaceBash LosAngeles,Times 17April1970 20. 34 NewFrontin Battleof Sexes WomenWantto Liberate,Campus BettyCoed Los. AngelesTimes 16 February1970 3, 35 NoMoreMissAmerica in BloomandBreines Takin It totheStreets. 483 Gloria, Steinem What PlayboyDoesn tKnowaboutWomenCouldFilla Book McCall s October. 36 WomenMilitants,DisruptCavettShowwithHefner NewYorkTimes 27 May.
37Fromtheprivatearchive, of HughM Hefner housedatthePlayboy Mansion West Los. Angeles Mythanksto Hefner shistorian,andarchivist,SteveMartinez formakinga copy. This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,Battlein EveryMan sBed 269. detractors Thesecolumnshelpedto makeHefnerappearaccessible while. theygavetheimpression thatreaders wereparticipating intheworldof Play. boy mMoreover aletterpublishedinPlayboy mightbereadbyanaudience of. millions ReaderslikeMichaelSharwood Smith of Swedendemanded the. seriousconsiderationof feminism in thepopularmagazine He wrote As. a constantreaderof yourmagazine I believethatintelligent menmust. support feminism suspect thata lot of women read Playboy I would. liketo heartheiropinionson thisissue 40 MyraA Josephs a Ph D from. NewYork agreed Iwouldliketo seePlayboy discussthissubject. Its readers shouldbe informed 41 Suchlettersindicatethatreaderssaw. Playboy asanappropriatevehicleto inform itsaudience aboutthegrowing. movement forwomen sliberation Themagazine stillcelebrated masculine. hedonismandstillcontainednakedcenterfolds in,Nonetheless aneraof. risingfeministconsciousness,many readers thoughtthatPlayboy hadaduty.
anda rightto leada discussion of changingfemininity. In 1970Hefnerdecidedit wastimeforhismagazine to articulate. tion on feminism thoughthe stancewouldultimately be ascontroversial. withinthecompanyaswithout, Thoughwe areopposedto the destructive radicalism andthe anti. sexuality militant our,feminism positionon women srights. is asconsistentlyliberalasourpositionon allhumanrights We vebeen. crusadingfora longtimeforuniversal of contraceptives. availability and, birthcontrolinformation aswellas forthe repealof restrictivebirth. controllaws Likewise werejecttheVictoriandoublestandard. Wearealsoopposedto thetraditional that,stereotype relegates women. to domesticdrudgery We believethatanywomanwhowantsto. shunthehomemaker s roleforacareer orwhowantsto combineboth. shouldhavetheopportunity to implement thatdecision Webelieve. 38TheletterscolumnsincludedtheLettersto theEditor,begunin 1954 whichwere.
typicallycomments on themagazine itself theAdvisor begunin 1960 whichwasa ques. tion and answer columnon everything fromfashionto cigarsto sex andtheForum begun. in 1963 whichwasinspired bytheso calledPlayboy philosophy anddealtspecificallywith. current affairsandpolitics It isimpossibleto verifytheauthenticityof everyletterpublished. No doubteditorschoseto publishlettersthatwouldfurther thegoalsof Playboy I amaware. fromarchival documents andinterviews thatletterswereoccasionally altogetherinvented. byeditors Thisdeception wasusually doneto raiseanissueto whichHefnerwantedanop. portunity to respondor address However thereis ampleevidence in thecompany archive. confirmed byinterviews withvariouseditors thatmostletterswerelegitimate Whilethere. is no official,collection, of lettersin thearchive atthistime I cameacrossvarious lettersfrom. readers aswellasmonthly company reportsonlettersreceived Otherhistorians notably Joanne. Meyerowitz havereliedon similar published lettersashistorical. evidence seeMeyerowitz,Women Cheesecake andBorderline Material. 39 wouldreacha peaksaleof oversevenmillionissuesin 1972 See Gretchen. Edgren ThePlayboy Book Singapore Taschen 2005 444,40Forumletter Playboy January 1970 64. letter Playboy April1970 60, This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,270 CARRIEPITZULO.
womenoughtto be givenequalpayforworkof equalvalue We. believethatmanydistinctions apartfromthepurelyphysical do and. shouldexist Thisleadsusto concludethatthereshouldbedistinct. socialrolesformenandwomen 42, Hefnerreducedthe complexity of feministthoughtto a dividebetween. mainstream feminism thatsupported civilliberties,andindividual choiceand. aradicalism thatsupposedly calledforanoverthrow of heterosexualnorms. hefullysupported theformerandwastotallyopposedto thelatter However. it wasHefner shostilitytowardthemilitant versionof feminism ratherthan. hissupportfortheliberalplatformthatmotivated himin 1969. An articleby the journalist JulieBaumgoldin NewYorkmagazinein. JunegaveHefnera modelon whichto basehis magazine s approach to. the supposedantisexualism of radicalfeminism 43 Thepieceridiculedthe. twelveultraradical organizers whocomprised thegroupknownastheBoston. FemaleLiberation Movement Baumgold noted thewomen s denimwork. shirts schizoid,language and calloused heels andcharacterized. themas manandbabyhating Shearguedthatthewomenwereworking. for thedestruction of thefamily andcalledtheorganization a revoltof. damaged women, Hefnerapplauded the piece In July1969 he requestedfor Playboy a. satirical piece on radicalfeminism whichhe referredto asthe super. feministmovement 45 In the pagesof Playboy this labelfor feminism. meantthe brandthat shunnedtraditionalfemininityandheterosexual. seductionand includedorganizations like FemaleLiberationCell 16. whose memberswerenoted for theirmasculineclothes heavyboots. andshorthairandwho wereridiculedby Playboy for demonstrating. the karateblowsandkicksdesignedto keepobjectionable menin their. place 46 According to a longtimeeditor JimPetersen Playboy s staff. felt defensiveand angry at whatwasperceivedas the rage of the. militantswhowerethoughtto advocatefemaleseparatism theavoidance. of heterosexual sex the abolition of marriage the transferof childrear. ing from the home to communalcenters andthe eliminationof all sex. differencesin clothing education homelife politics andmanners 47. 42Forumeditorial,43Hefnerto response,Playboy April1970 60.
memorandum,Spectorsky 30 January,1970 box61 1970H K folder3 A. C SpectorskyPapers Playboy,Enterprises citedasACSPapers. Inc Chicago hereafter,44Julie You ve,Comea LongWay Baby NewYork 9 June1969. Baumgold Magazine,45Memorandum on Articles,for Playboy Hefnerto Spectorsky. 17 July1969 ACS,46MortonHunt, Upagainstthe Wall MaleChauvinist Pig Playboy May1970.
47Jim interview,withauthor 2 February Ill Petersenservedas. Petersen 2006 Evanston,editorat Playboy,in various fortheAdvisor. positions columnfrom1973to themid 1990s, This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,Battlein EveryMan sBed 271. A magazinewhoseexistencedependeduponheterosexual desirecould. not tolerateso radicala challengeto the traditional rulesof seduction. Playboy ssupportfor feminismhadits limits but it wasnot justPlayboy. thatcelebrated femininityandsexualdifference, Though the women s movement wasoftenstereotyped bythestandards.
of thevociferous andthe militant manyfeministsembraced conventional. femininebeautyandchosenot to rejectheterosexuality sometimescreat. ingtensionamongactivists Playboy criticGloriaSteinem forexample was. disparaged a, bysomefeministsas media anointed telegenicleader and. resentedforher beautyandglamour whileotherwomenfeltostracized. fromthefeministmovementbecausetheyhadrelationships withmenor. conversely withwomen In contrastto feminists who criticizedPlayboy. journalistEllenWillisthoughtobjectification hadits benefits I didn t. understand alltheoutrageaboutbeingtreatedlikea sexobject I wasangry. becauseI d alwaysbeenrejectedby menforbeingtoo smart too intelli. gent I wantedto be a sexobject 49 So Playboy ssupportforfemalebeauty. andheterosexuality wasnot inherently incompatible withsomeformsof. feminism Thecontextof thatsupport however throughthe promotion. of nudefemalebodiesin a men smagazine taintedHefner sversionof. liberationin the eyesof manyfeminists, SeveralmonthsafterHefner s requestforanarticleonthesuperfeminists. the editorialdirector Spectorsky expressedreservations aboutHefner s. recommended approach Aware of the magazine s precarious positionin. aneraof risingfemaleconsciousness Spectorsky argued. I thinkit wouldbea graveerrorforourfirstpieceon thesubjectto at. tacktheirrational andto besatirical,extremists unlesswegiveaveryfair. shaketo therealproblems thatintelligent,thinkingwomenare. concerned with I canimagineno publicationthatisin a moresensitive. positioninthismatter Wegetcriticism enough fromyoungmenaswell. aswomen forwhattheyclaimis ouranti feminist women as objects. stance andforourPlaymates andBunnies If we justput downthe. wholefeminist thinginacontemptuous amused,superior orone sided.
way it makeus looksquareanddated 50, andfortheForumfrom1987to 2003 He continues hisassociation. withPlayboyasawriter,suchas TheCentury, andeditorformanyof itsin housepublications ofSex Playboy s. of theSexualRevolution,1900 1999 NewYork GrovePress 1999 SeealsoHunt Up. againsttheWall 96 102, Rosen TheWorld SplitOpen 216 onSteinem 164 75 on debatesaboutwomen s. issuesamongfeminists,Whilethesewerelegitimate,sexuality themediaoftenfocusedon.
andsexualorientation,attractiveness asawayoftrivializing. themovement seeDouglas Where,the Girls Are 227 28,49Allyn Make Love Not War 166. 50Memorandumon Feminist,fromSpectorsky,to DickRosenzweig. 15December,1969 ACSPapers, This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM. All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions,272 CARRIE PITZULO.
The managingeditor JackKessie agreed callingthe proposedsatire a. disaster Ultimately Hefner sappealfora satirical piecegavewayinstead. to a seriousarticlecommissioned to thejournalist SusanBraudy. BraudywaschosenforthepiecebecauseHefnerandhiseditorialteam. believedthata womanwouldhavebetteraccessto feministgatherings. Lehrman initiallycontactedotherjournalists to writethearticle including. GloriaSteinem buthe foundno takers Braudy waseventually approached. through a New York agentwithconnectionsto a Playboy editor 52. Braudy s manuscript appeared it profiledonlythemostextremeelements. of the feministmovement She focusedon organizations likeRedstock. ings whosemembers oftenembraced whattheycalled nosexstrikes and. femaleseparatism andthe equallyradicalWITCH whoseleader Robin. Morgan helpedorganizethe 1968 MissAmerica protestin AtlanticCity. whereradicalfeminists assaulted theseasidecity andthrew symbols of. femaleoppression intoa FreedomTrashcan Morganpointed out. thatwhileWITCHhadnot yet advocated a separatistagenda sheherself. wasmarriedandhada son shewasstillwillingto confrontmen with. her karate trained bodyandotherdeadlyweapons Evenmoremilitant. accordingto Braudy wasRoxanneDunbar the leaderof the thirty five. memberCell 16of Boston whomBraudydescribed as theradicallimits. forfeminists Braudy claimed that Dunbar read Simone deBeauvoir s The. Second Sexandwalkedouton herhusbandanda childwitha birthdefect. Cell 16hopedin turnto masculinize women throughkaratelessons. masturbation and, celibacy rejection of women s traditional roles 53. ThoughBraudy s piece focused on militant feminism didincludea. briefmentionof NOWasa conservative andpragmatic to mili. alternative, tancywhoseleader BettyFriedan didn t believein fantasy radicalism. WhileBraudy pointedoutthe divisions amongthesevariousgroups she. ultimately concludedthat whatunitesthefeminists is strongerthanwhat. dividesthem Althoughsomefeminists shrillyconfusesexwithsexualroles. manyof theircriticisms of American societyareserious Braudywarned. thattherevolution s battleground be thebusiness home andbedof. every man in the country, WhenBraudyfiledthe articlein December1969 controversy erupted. amongPlayboy editors An unusualflurryof companymemostracesthe. 51Memorandum on Super feminist,Movement fromJackKessieto Spectorsky. cember1969 ACSPapers Kessiehadbeenanexecutive,editoratPlayboysince1955 Weyr.
ReachingforParadise,didnotrespondto Lehrman s,Braudyhadbeenworking asafreelance. writerfor NewYork magazineandthe NewYorkTimes whenPlayboy contactedher Weyr. Reachingfor Paradise,53Susan Women s Liberation ACSPapers 11 16. Braudy Movement manuscript,Ibid 8 21 22, This content downloaded on Fri 8 Feb 2013 14 56 55 PM.


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