Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy

Hardcover | May 1, 2011

byCarrie Pitzulo

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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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From the Publisher

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, ...

Carrie Pitzulo is assistant professor of history at the University of West Georgia.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:May 1, 2011Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226670066

ISBN - 13:9780226670065

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction: Playboy: The Sassy Newcomer

Chapter 1 The Womanization of Playboy

Chapter 2 Inventing the Girl-Next-Door: The Pulchritudinous Playmates

Chapter 3 Selling the Dream: Playboy and the Masculine Consumer

Chapter 4 Lack of Love is a Tragedy: Playboy and Romantic Values

Chapter 5 The Battle in Every Man’s Bed: Playboy and the Fiery Feminists

Chapter 6 Feminism, the Playboy Foundation and Political Activism

Conclusion

Editorial Reviews

"Pitzulo makes a convincing case that both Hugh Hefner's political views as expressed in his editorial column, 'The Playboy Philosophy,' and the philanthropic contributions he made through the Playboy Foundation were evidence that the magazine was not the mere purveyor of porn it was thought to be. She argues that it took seriously such issues as gender equality and civil rights, helping its readers to learn about the important issues of the day. Fans of Playboy, as well as students of feminist studies and gender politics will find this an interesting and well-researched book."