I would like to say starting off that I do enjoy the show “The Girls Next Door” and am not in any way trying to talk down about the show. I am simply trying to analyze it, because that is what I was told to do. For anyone that is judgmental of the show and think that these girls “act dumb”, if they did not act like that there would be no show. People watch the show because the characters are entertaining.
“The Girls Next Door” is a show on E! that follows Hugh Hefner’s three girlfriends that live with him in the Playboy Mansion. These are all girls that started out as Playboy Playmates, and he chose as the select few with which he is intimate with. The three girls are Holly, the oldest and leader of the girls, Bridget, and Kendra, the youngest girlfriend. In fact, Kendra is 21 years-old, and started “dating” Hefner when she was only 19. The relationship that Hefner has with these girls is questioned by many, and in this television show, even more questions can be raised.
The two episodes of the show that I watched tied into each other because they both feature Hugh Hefner’s 80th birthday parties. The first episode ends with a party that is more “classy” and guests are required to dress in formal attire. The second episode ends with his “lingerie” themed party, in which, as implied, female guests wear lingerie. Throughout the episodes, the girls are shown preparing for the parties, and also interacting with other people, including their families.
Considering these girls have been shown naked on the pages of Playboy Magazine one would think that these girls have to be very self-confidant and secure with their bodies. One of our readings for class titled “The More You Subtract, the More You Add: Cutting Girls Down to Size”1, talks about how girls are taught that less is more. That being thinner, wearing less clothing, and talking less are all ways to being “attractive”. This is seen in advertisements, and can be seen by young girls in Seventeen magazines.
In “The Girls Next Door” this is seen in many different ways. When Bridget’s parents are visiting, she doesn’t eat so that she appears thinner. Also, she wants to be thinner when she wears her outfit that consists of very little. She wants to feel attractive not only by being thin, but also by wearing almost nothing. This is emphasizing that “girls of all ages get the message that they must be flawlessly beautiful and, above all these days, they must be thin” (Kilbourne, 260). Even a girl who is considered pretty and “flawless” enough to be in Playboy Magazine, a magazine known for beautiful women, is still self-conscious about the way she looks.
The girls are also often shown spending hours getting ready for parties. They have their personal stylists, hairdressers, and make-up artists. This is just emphasizing the stereotype that women should spend lots of time in order to try to look “perfect”. This perfection is important in order to be attractive to males. Women should not have to put on a fake exterior in order to try to make men find them desirable.
1 Kilbourne, Jean. "The More You Subtract, the More You Add". Dines, Gail. Gender, Race, and Class in Media. Sage Publications, Inc. Thousand Oaks, California. 2003.