Hugh Hefner is expected to open the new Playboy club in Mayfair tonight. I say “open”, but it’s actually a “reopen” as the original club closed in 1981.
Protesters from the “Eff off Hef” campaign are expected to be there to wave placards and hand out leaflets. Earlier this week protesters were in front of the club wearing Hef masks and holding a tray of rabbit droppings – the message being that it’s the same old sexist shit.
I don’t like the Playboy brand. I think it promotes a view of womenhood which is degrading. I think it (along with similar organisations) creates and maintains a perception of women as second-class citizens. I think that the way it was been marketed to children as a cute bunny logo is underhand. And it think that it is an utterly tasteless and tacky brand, lacking in any type of glamour or sophistication. This is my view, and the view of many others.
However, much as I would like Playboy to flicker out of existence, I don’t think that it should be banned. Firstly, I’m pretty certain that banning Playboy clubs would simply result in different sexist shit being peddled in different, underground clubs. Secondly, I’m not sure I could write a piece of legislation which comprehensively and effectively dealt with the myriad interlocking issues which form sexism. Thirdly, much as I dislike it, I’m generally against banning things as a matter of principle.
I think that the Eff off Hef campaign have the right approach. I don’t want to ban Playboy, but I do want to convince my neighbours and friends not to partake. I want the Playboy market to vanish, for people to see Playboy in the same light as I do. This isn’t a job for legislation. This is a job for freedom of expression, and for passionate and peaceful protest.