When NBC picked up The Playboy Club, we reckoned that all they wanted was to give the hardworking citizens of this country an excuse to shut off their brains for an hour and let the cheap thrills wash over them. Also, if they made a few bucks out of the whole endeavor, nice for them. But Gloria Steinem, famed feminist warrior and future HBO documentary subject, is putting a damper on the whole thing by calling for a boycott before the first episode has even gone to air.
Steinem famously went undercover as a Bunny in 1963 at the real New York Playboy Club (the show is set at the Chicago original) for an article that exposed the god-awful conditions those ladies had to work under. Now, in an interview with Reuters, Steinem is saying all sorts of damning things, like “Clearly The Playboy Club is not going to be accurate. It was the tackiest place on earth. It was not glamorous at all” and “It normalizes a passive dominant idea of gender. So it normalizes prostitution and male dominance.”
Sure, that might be true, but it’s also just a soap on NBC that will have to climb a mountain 18 times the size of Everest if it wants to make it past the first season. That’s how hard it is to be a successful TV show these days. (It also does not help that some stations are already refusing to air it.) It’s also a show starring largely unknown actors who thought this might be their ticket to making rent. Criticizing the show, which features its main character accidentally impaling someone with a high heel in its pilot, is fair and legitimate, but asking people not to watch it and decide for themselves is just bossy and sort of mean.