"Bethany Whisper"

Thursday, March 1, 2007

The Girls Next Door: Male Dominance

At times, it seems like Hugh Hefner is more of a father-figure to the girls, rather than a “boyfriend”. They are always trying to please him, and have rules in the Playboy Mansion that they must follow. In another episode I have seen, the girls go to Las Vegas, but have to follow the rules of the mansion and get home by 9 o’clock, their “curfew” time. These girls are seen naked on the pages of Playboy Magazine, and yet Hefner gives them a curfew they have to follow. I guess in that way he is not very fatherly. Most fathers would not be willing to put naked pictures of their daughters out for the public to view. However, most men would not be willing to put naked pictures of their significant others in the public eye either.
The girls are seen almost as objects that belong to Hugh Hefner. They are always vying for his attention. When the girls are talking about the presents they bought for Hefner for his birthday, they are all nervous that he won’t like their present. However, in the show, it is very rare that they show the girls getting any affection from Hefner, other than in a fatherly way, like kisses on the cheek. It is true that no one sees what goes on behind closed doors at the Playboy Mansion, but one can very easily question whether or not the girls have a sexual relationship with Hefner. It is also strange that these girls are capable of being such good friends with each other when you would think they are all fighting for the love of one man.
The “present” that stands out the most is Bridget, who plans on performing a strip tease for Hugh at his big birthday bash. Before the party, her parents come to visit and they have a big meal together. However, Bridget eats only a few vegetables because she wants to look good for her “performance”. He stepfather however is shown chowing down on anything put in front of him. The camera is shown going back and forth between the two of them to emphasize the difference in their eating habits.
A little later, Bridget does a “dress rehearsal” for her mother and stepfather. Keep in mind that her strip tease ends in her only wearing a thong and pasties (little stickers made to cover the nipples). As she is performing they keep putting the camera on her stepfather who is sweating, and obviously enjoying his stepdaughter’s performance. This obviously does not make her stepfather look like a very good man, but is it possible that the way the camera is moving around is purposely to make him seem that way. He could have been making those facial expressions and movements at a different time, but the people producing the show chose to add these moments at this point in order to show this man in a bad light.
When this whole issue is looked at, these are women that have made a living by posing naked for men to look at their pictures. It’s realistic that these women are looked at as “objects” to be gawked at by men. This is the way that they have chosen to be seen by men. Even by doing the television show, they had to know that they were going to get a mostly male audience who were going to watch simply because they tend to wear very little clothing throughout the show.

9 comments:

Jessie said...

Your introduction is interesting, because it's sort of a disclaimer, warning, and raises an interesting point: why do successful pop culture products feature dumb-acting women? Instead of trying to defend or criticize the show, try looking at the examples you cite as both counter-hegemonic and hegemonic ideals about gender via this show. I got the sense while reading your post, that the notion that you'd be regarded as judging the show--you're not, and don't apologize or explain yourself for any of that! If anything, the idea that the "girls in a positive" or negative light, is the idea that seems to keep you from really going further with the great topics you articulate. To analyze this show, you have to do a bit of distancing yourself from the entertainment value and the potential reactions that you'd perceive as an audience member--think of yourself as researcher...and then write about why it is that this show is so loaded with meaning and what are the factors that would make your blog post's analysis at all controversial. Why is society so tied to these notions of gender? Does Brigitte's dad fit the normative definition of masculinity in this episode? Why is it that this counter-hegemonic depiction (along with many other counter-normative notions that are in this one episode) of gender seemingly compatible with the show?

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