One might think that feminist icon Gloria Steinem has more important things to do than criticize a television show she hasn’t even seen. One would be wrong.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Steinem called for a boycott of NBC’s new series The Playboy Club on the grounds that she thinks it will glamorize the club unrealistically. “Clearly, The Playboy Club is not going to be accurate,” she said. “It was the tackiest place on earth. It was not glamorous at all.” Steinem knows a thing or two about what the Playboy Club was actually like; she went undercover and worked as a Bunny there in 1963, subsequently writing a hugely influential expose on it.
“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,” she told Reuters in support of her argument. That’s horrible, but how does she know that won’t be depicted on the show? It might be smart to watch at least one episode before passing judgment, no? It’s being directed by Alan Taylor, who’s worked on such smart and nuanced TV series as The Sopranos, Big Love, Mad Men, and Boardwalk Empire. Steinem herself has said she thinks Mad Men is a fairly realistic depiction of the early 1960s, so why couldn’t The Playboy Club be? From the previews, it looks like a Bunny kills a man in self-defense when he tries to rape her, and depending how it’s depicted, it could certainly carry a feminist message. I, for one, am going to watch it before I decide how I think it portrays Hugh Hefner’s empire of boobs. It’s good to know what you’re boycotting, after all.