In 1953, Hugh Hefner laid the foundation stone of his empire. But Playboy was more than a personal project, it was also a way of life – at least for its founder; the sexual factory has been linked to an aesthetics recognized throughout the world for decades. But even though the ‘bunny’ uniform was Hefner’s responsibility – he was inspired by a diner he was going through during his college years in Illinois – the girls who have worn him are the true creators of this icon. Let’s put it in context: in the 1960s, in the United States, the sexual revolution was a reality. The second wave of feminism had just exploded, and the media did not stop wondering what really happened in that mansion. But those who were in it (or at least managed their threads) were also interested in what was happening in the streets.
The publisher of Playboy magazine contacted the feminist journalist Susan Braudy to write an issue on the women’s liberation movement from an objective point of view. “These women have very important things to say, and I want our readers to hear them,” Jim Goode snapped at Braudy. And when she came to the mansion, she realized that those women knew more about this new feminism than she-and people-could have imagined.
In 1966, feminist activist Gloria Steinem also approached one of the Playboy clubs in New York to write A Bunny’s Tale, an essay that shed light on the iconic costume, but also on the working conditions of the young women, who they served drinks for hours, climbed on high heels to get some money. As for the physicist, all the girls had to have long and slender legs, and obviously a tiny waist. “The corset structure tended to push all flesh toward the breasts,” wrote Steinem. “In addition, the bunnies filled their garments with dry cleaning plastic bags to get more stuffing. In fact, the bags topped a list of materials that were used to stuff busts like cut rabbit tails, Kleenex, gym socks and silk scarves. ”