Any Bunny May be a Feminist

27 Mar

GIRLS

Do Playboy Club Bunnies really have glamorous jobs, meet celebrities and make money?

Yes, it’s true. Attractive young girls can now earn $200-$300 a week at the fabulous New York city Playboy Club. …

… If you are pretty and personable, between 21 & 24, married or single, you probably qualify. …

… SPECIAL INTERVIEWS being held. Please bring swimsuit or leotard. …

Gloria-Steinem

Our feminist in an earlier career.

Oh, the good old days when a resume could be swapped out for a leotard, and gender, age and beauty were all a “girl” needed to earn a livable wage.

Above are just the highlights of a real Help Wanted ad that ran January 1963 in a New York daily. It is the very ad a budding feminist, and journalist named Gloria Steinem answered successfully a few weeks later. Gloria was not after celebrity-seeking or her own pair of bunny ears and bushy little strap-on tail, though who would scoff at such fringe bunnies, we mean bennies?

No, Gloria was hoping to gain insider insight on what these “girls” endured for their princely paychecks. She chronicled her brief employment as a bunny, thus letting everyone know that it’s not easy to look happily coordinated waltzing around in spike heels and a suffocating tight bunny suit while balancing a tray of martinis. Then there were the degrading poses such as the bunny perch.

All in the name of undercover journalism. Here are links to her articles as they ran in “Show” magazine back in 1963. (Here is part 2) The last Playboy Club closed in 1991, but two have since opened in Asia. Fortunately, Gloria Steinem is still around advocating for the rights of women and other minorities. In fact, this week she turned 80, and shows no signs of slowing down.

Gloria has been all over the news this week so this may seem redundant, but let’s share a little background.

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Gloria was born in dullsville, Toledo and lived in a traveling trailer with her mentally ill mother and antique-salesman father.

Eventually, the mother’s mental illness was more than her father could bear. The parents divorced and Gloria helped take care of her mother.

Her mother could not keep a job, probably because of her mental status, but young Gloria viewed it as workplace discrimination against women. She began to notice that this discrimination was not exclusive to employment. Inequality was rampant throughout society and politics.

Gloria’s brains, determination, advocacy for equal rights (along with some scholarship money) made her an ideal pupil at Smith College, where she excelled.

Gloria began work as a journalist in the early 1960s and her piece on women and contraception, which ran in Esquire Magazine in 1962, created an uproar and a name for Gloria Steinem.

She is Christian Bale’s stepmother!

Gloria went on to write the above-mentioned piece on Playboy Club bunnies.

Besides journaling, Gloria began lecturing and advocating for women’s rights and was very influential for Equal Rights Amendment regarding marriage and economic rights for women.

She flies coach!!!

She founded Ms. Magazine, which did not accept advertising, and included essays on women’s and civil rights and once-taboo subjects such as abortion. (This brings back fond memories of the early 80s. My pub LOVED buying the latest Ms. Magazine at Boston’s South Station and reading it cover to cover on the bus ride to New York City’s Port Authority. Always made for the start of an excellent weekend.)

She once interviewed John Lennon!!!!

Gloria continues to lecture worldwide, primarily on female genital mutilation and human trafficking.

Like our friend Theo Sowa, Gloria does not sacrifice style for women’s rights. She dresses beautifully and keeps the hair and makeup in check. Naturally, there is no dress code for advocacy, but one does not have to pass on lipstick to speak out. And, hey, you can even launch a career as the world’s leading feminist wearing only a leotard.

 

xo, LMA

 

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7 Responses to “Any Bunny May be a Feminist”

  1. Lauren Solomon March 27, 2014 at 8:24 am #

    Dear SK, Love the article! But the link to the 1963 article isn’t working on my phone. Can you check it? Thanks so much! LS

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. soonie2 March 27, 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    A fascinating and inspiring woman for sure! Wonderful post…I always learn so much here!

  3. Bruce Thiesen March 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm #

    Another terrific SK blog post! And hats off to Gloria Steinem.

  4. Sheila March 31, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    I’m glad we didn’t have assignments like that. 🙂

  5. LB March 31, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

    Great post, LMA!! You provided so much info about Gloria and I loved the way you injected those exclamations (Flies Coach! Christian Bale! John Lennon!).

  6. Kourtney Heintz April 6, 2014 at 12:55 pm #

    Great post–I had no idea she was a bunny at one point. It’s crazy to think how far we’ve come as women.

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