Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How Many Angels Can Dance on the Head of a Pin: Or, How Can We Spin Bunny-hood as Empowering!

There's a new series coming out about the Playboy Club! But it's tricky, trying to market it, I guess. It's a soap-opera, you see, and not just fun and amusement for the dudes. Women like soap operas. They also no doubt will really want to see ladies who were blazing a path! Living life on their own terms! Making money on the sexxxxay-ness, as god meant them to do!

The panel struggled mightily to fit Bunnyhood into a modern vision of independence. On the one hand, stars Leah Renee and Jenna Dewan Tatum talked about how Bunnies were empowered in the sense that they were able to be financially independent "at a time when jobs for women were pretty limited." But on the other hand, they argued that anything is empowering if you're doing it by your own free choice. But if your options are limited, how free is that choice, really?

Hodge argued, in the end, that the interaction between a Bunny and a customer at a table was all about "buoying women up and giving them the power," because the men weren't allowed to touch the Bunnies. Now, remember — these women are waitresses. They're not prostitutes. They're strangers, unknown to the men, who are serving drinks. And he is arguing, in effect, that they have been buoyed up and given the power because they are granted the right, while tottering around in painful costumes and high heels for the gratification of their customers, not to be physically touched. They have all the power because the club tells patrons that they're not supposed to touch them. They don't really have the power of doing anything; just the power of withholding. Essentially, the argument is that for these women, the highest power they can possibly hold, and what truly elevates them, is the power to deny men the opportunity to touch them.

Do you touch waitresses, typically? Do you assume it's your right to touch waitresses? Or strangers? Or people in service occupations? What baseline assumptions have to be in place about who is otherwise naturally entitled to do what to whom for a "please don't touch this person" rule to grant anyone power over you? I'm just asking.

Ahh hahh hahh haahh hahhh. Sob. It's like those arguments where you get backed into a corner, and instead of just admitting that, okay, you were wrong, you double down and go for broke. But it is kind of funny that the concept of how to market this thing to women didn't get some thought in advance. Surely there was a less ridiculous way to spin it. Unless the goal is to slap a superficial label on it, in the way that Sarah Palin is "feminist." People who care will never watch in the first place, but people who don't want to feel too "un-PC" might just think: "Well, I read somewhere that the women were really independent and empowered and stuff."

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