Well here’s something I never thought I would say: those Playboy bunnies have really taught us a valuable lesson.
Far from the 1960’s sepia-toned view of the Playboy Mansion being a household of sexy girls serving martinis in bunny tails, the modern home of Hugh Hefner is finally being seen for exactly what it is: sex work.
The Playboy house is about young women exchanging sex for money. Willingly.
Sex work: it’s a trade that has been around in some format or another since the beginning of time. And whilst I am not interested in the moral slinging of mud as to whether it is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, I will say that sex work is a reality of the human race. It exists.
But for some reason, the gated community of the Hefner Playboy House has always circumvented the label of ‘sex work’, somehow being seen as another format of sexual entertainment. Playboy Bunnies aren’t prostitutes, and Hef’s bevy of blonde girlfriends aren’t sex workers – they’re just pretty, young women having fun with men. Aren’t they?
Fair to say that this perception changed forever, when Hef’s ex-girlfriend Kendra Wilkinson declared that she slept with him in exchange for money.
“I made the choice to sleep with an 80-year-old man for some money.”
And like that, her role – and the role of the other ‘girlfriends’ – was exposed for exactly what is was, cute titles and all. Sex work.
Kendra has been speaking out in recent months in a retaliation against the other ex-girlfriend to Hugh Hefner, Holly Madison (they dated him at the same time), who has been vocal about her abusive experience in the house.
Two women, one man, one role, two different experiences.
In the years since she 'quit' her role as girlfriend, Holly has gone public with a slew of accusations against Hefner, including drug use, blatant sexism, intimidation in the bedroom, bribing her with cash not to leave, and harassing her with letters after she did. Her 2015 book, 'Down The Rabbit Hole' painted a damning picture of life inside the mansion.
In a public spat, Kendra fought back via Twitter and recent interviews to say that Holly, herself, and every other women living in the Playboy mansion were there under their own accord.
“He’s done zero harm in my eyes to anyone that I’ve ever seen, and his intentions were only to make everybody happy," said Kendra to SiriusXM in America this week.
"It was just the woman’s choice to be there and f–k him. That’s it. I mean, that was everybody’s choice. What do you think you’re going to do? You’re moving into the Playboy Mansion and dating a man who has multiple girlfriends.”
And so, within the microcosm of the Playboy world, two very opposing sides to the sex industry emerge: the victim and the champion.
As with anything in life, there is no black and white. There are vast shades of grey between women who are illegally coerced or trapped within prostitution, and women who consciously and happily choose sex work as their occupation.
In my lifetime, I have personally met women from both sides of the fence.