An Asian Christian woman living in London blogging about the everyday issues of religion

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The Murky World of Playboy

I took this picture of a Playboy Bunny when I was demonstrating against the opening of the Playboy Club as part of the 'Eff Off Heff' campaign. 'Heff', of course, refers to Hugh Heffner, the man who owns Playboy.

In the absence of a collective society onslaught against the decline of social values and standards Playboy and other such like men’s clubs ride on the wave of the new social order of the ‘Booty Culture’. Into this chasm of moral turpitude has stepped the Playboy Club to dignify the selling of porn with glitz, glamour and high prices (cocktails are reputed to cost as much as £2,000 each).

The return of the Playboy Club to London heralds an era in which pornography has become as acceptable as having a cheese sandwich. Going into a supermarket to buy your lunch will also bring you into contact with unsavoury men’s magazines that carry pictures of near naked women on the front covers. No pretence is made to hide them. Gone are the days when these types of magazines were kept on the top shelf, away from eye level (especially children’s eye levels). Discretion and pornography do not make for bedfellows anymore.

Hugh Heffner once said, ‘Playboy was perceived as a chauvinist publication. Today the rabbit symbol has been embraced by women as a form of their sexual empowerment’. Firstly, I have never seen a two legged rabbit wearing a black leotard. Secondly, wearing the Playboy costume as a work outfit must be as empowering as wearing high heels at muddy Glastonbury.

The narrative of Heffner’s is dangerous because it masks the reality of what the outfit really represents – subservience and women as sexual playthings. Yet, it is such type of talk that has edged the degradation of women more and more into mainstream thought.

As a Christian woman I couldn’t separate my feminism from my Christian values when I was demonstrating outside the Playboy Club. There’s much infuriating Christian literature on how being a feminist is to betray Christian thought because women are secondary to men. This line of thought then goes on to the ordination of women and ordination of women bishops and states that women can be equal outside the church but not in it. Such discourse actually disempowers Christian women because if the structure of the place where we get our core moral fibre from lets us down then how can we go out and fight for respect?