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What You Should Know Before Dressing as a Playboy Bunny For Halloween

Hugh Hefner’s ‘Bunnies’ are his multi-million-dollar legacy, and the costume is now young women’s go-to for Halloween parties. But Hefner had in mind a certain type of woman that would fit into that outfit, who is now eternally depicted in our favourite 2000’s chick flicks: the ditsy and emotional sorority girl dressing to impress, or the dumb blonde seeking attention at the cost of her female friends. And of course, every woman who fits into this outfit must be of a certain body type, and preferably blonde.

Hefner, of course, did not create the degrading image of women as docile, dumb and susceptible with the release of the Playboy magazine; that was a phenomenon that gradually came alive as time went by. But there are no reservations in saying that Hefner had a strong hand in promoting the unnecessary portrayal of young women as sexual objects, dehumanising them, and making them useful for only one thing.

Not only did this image of women give men permission act as predators, catching ‘bunnies’ who were at their constant service, but its impact on society was, and is, profound. It widened the gap in inequalities that already exist between the two sexes, and challenged young women to judge each other.

After Hefner’s death, many feminist journalists struck him down by branding him as anti-feminist, revealing how his Playboy mansion was a site for drugs and sexual harassment, how his activism in the sexual revolution was biased to the wants of men rather than the needs of women, and how his empire was built on the exploitation of nude women in order to create sales because sex sells. And it does. But when the seller lives his life as a crude, preying, immature old man, posing as the epitome of sophistication and the model of American luxury, stepping into a sexy bunny outfit suddenly feels nauseating.

Or maybe it doesn’t. The Playboy bunny can, more simply, be interpreted as an act of sexual liberation for women. You may want to wear a sexy bunny outfit for Halloween with no intention of participating in the sexual politics behind it, ignoring the sexual harassment that Playmates endured while wearing this outfit, and the implications of having young women wear the costume on the front of the magazine cover that came to define what ‘sexiness’ means in society.  

Sure, it’s sexy, and it might do something for my non-existent curves. But I would never want to be caught in something that was produced simply to for a guy to look at me through the zipper of his jeans. He’s not worth the pain of my boobs being pushed up to my ears.

Edited by Isabelle Walker











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