Gloria Steinem became famous in 1963 when she published an article called “A Bunny’s Tale” in which she went undercover at a Playboy Club to expose the treatment of its waitresses. In the decade-plus to follow, Gloria became one of the most public faces of the burgeoning “second wave” feminist movement. She fought for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, advocated for abortion to be legalized, pushed the mainstream women’s movement to recognize that lesbian rights were an integral part of women’s rights, and of course was the very first editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine. The heyday for the “third wave” feminist battles have arguably passed, but Gloria Steinem is still kickin’ (enough to put Glenn Beck into a fit, shrieking about how the “’60s have passed”). Any young woman or young man who has discovered feminism in the past 50 years will come across something that has Gloria Steinem’s fingerprints on it. Naturally such an icon deserves, at age 77, to be memorialized in her very own documentary. Keep reading »
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“The Playboy Club” is the number one TV series I’m excited about this fall. How could I not be psyched for (another) show about the ’60s and the fight for women’s equality? Feminist icon Gloria Steinem, who went undercover as a Bunny/waitress for a magazine exposé in 1963, is calling for a boycott of the show, but I truly hope it will instead provoke lots of discussion and have some teachable moments.
So, I read with interest an interview with actress Amber Heard in Playboy magazine. As the star of the show, she does not have an easy path ahead of her. In every single interview, she will be asked her opinions about Playboy Clubs and women who worked as bunnies/waitresses — on some level, to justify the show’s existence. Keep reading »
I, for one, am excited about “The Playboy Club,” NBC’s new fall show that sounds like a bonus dose of the sex, drugs and cultural upheaval we’ve come to love from “Mad Men.” (Come back soon, pretty please?) But other ladies are less than thrilled, such as the inimitable Gloria Steinem, the feminist icon/all-around badass who went undercover as a waitress/Bunny at the Playboy Club in 1963 for an exposé in Show magazine. In an interview with Reuters to promote a new documentary about her life, the 77-year-old huffed and puffed, “Clearly ‘The Playboy Club’ is not going to be accurate. It was the tackiest place on earth. It was not glamorous at all.” I take her word for this: her exposé revealed many things to the public about the so-called harmless fun of Playboy Club culture, including how all the waitresses were required to have a pelvic exam and a test for STDs. Let me repeat that: waitresses had to get tested for STDs. “[O]ne 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,” Steinem said, no doubt with pride. She continued to praise “Mad Men” as “a net plus [for pop culture], because it shows the world of the early 1960s with some realism.” However, she added, “I expect that ‘The Playboy Club’ will be a net minus and I hope people boycott it. It’s just not telling the truth about the era.” Keep reading »
“At first, it was such a gigantic mistake from a career point of view that I really regretted it. I’d just begun to be taken seriously as a freelance writer, but after the Playboy article, I mostly got requests to go underground in some other semi-sexual way. It was so bad that I returned an advance to turn the Playboy article into a paperback, even though I had to borrow the money. Even now, people ask why I was a Bunny, right-wingers still describe me only as a former Bunny, and you’re still asking me about it — almost a half-century later. But feminism did make me realize that I was glad I did it — because I identified with all the women who ended up an underpaid waitress in too-high heels and a costume that was too tight to breathe in. Most were just trying to make a living and had no other way of doing it. I’d made up a background as a secretary, and the woman who interviewed me asked, ‘Honey, if you can type, why would you want to work here?’ In the sense that we’re all identified too much by our outsides instead of our insides and are mostly in underpaid service jobs, I realized we’re all Bunnies — so yes, I’m glad I did it.”
—Gloria Steinem, 77, reminisces to Maria Shriver in Interview about her famous exposé on the Playboy Bunny Club. In 1963, Steinem went undercover as a Bunny for Show magazine and reported firsthand how the Bunnies were badly treated. (This was during the “Mad Men” era, you have to remember, when job listings were segregated as “Help Wanted: Male” and “Help Wanted: Female.”) The article helped Gloria become a household name and further inspired people to join the women’s movement of the 1960s.
After the jump, Steinem talks about her reputation as the “pretty feminist.” Keep reading »
There’s an interesting piece over at, uh, MarloThomas.com written by Gloria Steinem called “The Top 10 Pieces of Advice I Just Made Up for Myself,” in which the feminist icon shares her own pearls of wisdom about religion, world peace, and laughter. I liked the concept so much, I decided I would share the advice I’ve made up for myself with you! And please, share your made-up advice in the comments! Maybe it’ll be just what one of your fellow Frisky readers needs to hear… Keep reading »
“Well, it’s a visual business. People want to see the anchor.”
—”Fox News” host Megyn Kelly‘s response to a comment from a GQ reporter that “you sit behind a glass table that shows off your legs.” Interestingly, this segues into a GQ reporter asking Megyn if she is a feminist. Let’s see what Megyn has to say, after the jump.
Keep reading »
We’ve come a long way, baby — but if you ask Gloria Steinem, the de facto mother of modern feminism, we still have a really long way to go. Last week, Steinem, speaking to a crowd at Franklin and Marshall College, said, “I don’t know how to break it to you, but it will take another century and a half” for women to gain equality with men.
While women have made many gains, argued Steinem, the fight isn’t over — and is actually in “the second stage.” “That’s when people tell you [feminism] used to be necessary, but it’s not anymore,” she said. Keep reading »
Steinem says dating shows like “The Bachelor” are “incredibly stupid” and “what is most offensive about them is it’s not equal opportunity stupidity.” Couric points out that shows like “The Bachelorette” exist, too, but Steinem and Jehmu Greene, president of the Women’s Media Center, explain that there are more reality dating shows where women are vying for a man. “I have a kind of motto,” Steinem says. “S**t is better if it’s equally divided. It’s still a problem, but if it’s equally divided, it’s at least not a political problem.”
“I do think Hillary Clinton‘s candidacy changed the atmosphere. I never for a moment thought a woman could win. It’s too soon. But I do think that her candidacy made it possible for many more people to imagine a woman president. How she got up every morning and took that much punishment, I don’t know. She was so strong.”