September 20, 2011

Thoughts about the first episode of “The Playboy Club”

“Use Them, Abuse Them, Discard Them” Playboy philosophy now pushed by NBC

Learn more and take action at www.CloseTheClubOnNBC.com

Well, the first episode of “The Playboy Club” was everything we thought it would be. Sure there were only a few racy scenes – but Playboy doesn’t stop with just skin to get their “use em’, abuse em’ then discard em’” perception of women across. NBC and Playboy claim they’re all about women’s rights, but even through the show’s glitz and glamour, the “women-are-objects” attitude seethed through every scene in the show. We expect this from Playboy, after all they’ve pushed this ideal for almost 60 years, but it certainly is a surprise that NBC would stoop this low.

The show opens with, “Everything was perfect, life was magic, where the rules were broken and fantasy became reality for everyone who walked through the door.” This might be the opinion of the impaired and perverted men who frequented the club, but it certainly wasn’t the case for the women working there or for the bulk of society. The men not only eye the women like candy, but also verbally harass and grope them throughout the show with lines such as, “I don’t need a plate, you can serve my steak right on that,” (pointing to the woman’s body). The women are portrayed as idiots with ditzy lines, “…well, my mom told me to ask,” and myths made popular now by Playboy’s empire were rampant. Examples include the comment that all women want both a “gentleman and womanizer” in one or that women loved being these sex objects for men. One of the characters is especially despicable and perfectly represents the common misogynist opinions of men who frequent porn – commenting that he only married his woman to get her pregnant and ugly and making it perfectly clear that women are only good for physical gratification.

The narrator, an actor impersonator of Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner, claims these bunnies were “some of the only women in the world who could be whoever they wanted to be.” I couldn’t help but initially laugh and then feel sick to my stomach upon hearing this. There is nothing farther from the truth than this statement. These women were nothing more than playthings for the club’s male patrons. Some of them exhibited a hint of independence, but still allowed themselves to be treated as objects and led wherever the men said to go. Just sit back, smile coyly, get “…more curls, more cleavage, lose the wedding ring, more mascara” and take the harassment.

Sure, there are certainly worse shows on TV right now to complain about, but this is one we cannot let continue. They are bringing the Playboy empire and philosophy right into our living rooms. We must understand the Playboy of the 1960s is not the Playboy of today. The brand of Playboy has become much more hard and exploitative and this is what NBC is endorsing. Too often we hear that pornography is not harmful, or that it is only harmful to the viewer. This is not so! Strong research suggests pornography leads to addiction, broken marriages, exploitation of women and is a gateway into child pornography and sex trafficking. Allowing this filth into the homes of millions is the first step in exposing them to these horrific harms.

Watching the advertisements that ran during the commercial break was also interesting. A high number of these were targeted specifically at women and portrayed “happy” families spending time together – GE, Hellmans Mayo, Campbells Soup, and the UPS Store just to name a few of them. Were women and families really watching this show? Think about the impact this ideology has on young kids. How does it affect women and the standards they hold for themselves? What impact does this have on how men will treat the women in their lives?

This is where we still have some power for influence. Many of the companies running ads during the show do not agree with this “women-are-objects” philosophy and they care very much about what we have to say as consumers. We must contact them and let them know the damage pornography and its lies have on society. We need to ask them if Playboy’s brand aligns with their own. They need to hear from us. Ask them to stop paying for NBC and Playboy to exploit women on the public airwaves. We will have their contact info shortly on our website www.CloseTheClubOnNBC.com. Will keep you posted, but be ready to contact them!

In good news, thousands of you contacted NBC’s usual most common advertisers. Of those five companies, only one (Ford) ran ads on the show last night! It seems they heard you loud and clear and refused to finance the continued exploitation of women. Additionally, “The Playboy Club” received extremely low ratings – even lower than “Chase” the show they replaced from last year that untimely got cut from the spot. ALSO GOOD NEWS! WE MUST KEEP UP THE PRESSURE!

Be on the lookout for the next call-to-action.
Best,
Dawn Hawkins
Executive Director

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