Jobs for the girls
When reading the Standard on the tube home yesterday, I was taken aback when I stumbled across a full page advertorial recruiting for Playboy Bunnies.
As hundreds of thousands of public sector employees face redundancy in the next year and students across the country wonder how they’re going to finance their university education or pay off their student debts, I imagine the recruitment pages of papers like the Standard will be increasingly well read.
According to the Standard – this was a paid for advertorial, written by a Standard journalist and presented as an article – this represents a career opportunity for a female graduate “looking to add another string to their bow”. It’s lucky that I’m already in gainful employment. I would struggle to get a foot on the career ladder these days if employers are looking for Playboy Bunny experience in addition to a university degree.
Fortunately having a university degree under your belt isn’t an essential requirement of the Playboy Bunny person specification. London Clubs International – the company that owns the new Playboy venture – does however require that “Bunnies should be immaculately presented from the tip of their Bunny Ears to the point of their high heeled shoes.” Furthermore, to become a Bunny “you must have a sleek, well proportioned figure and be able to carry yourself with poise and composure.”
The uniform comprises the “iconic” Bunny ears, tail, cuffs, corset and stilettos. If a Bunny should forget how to present themselves to the immaculate Bunny standard, they can always check the “grooming standards” in the “Bunny Manual” or ask the “Bunny Mother”. No, I’m not making this up.
I don’t know why I was taken aback by this advert, having walked past a lap dancing club and two billboards advertising lap dancing clubs in the ten minute walk from work to the tube station, I shouldn’t really have been surprised to see such a blatantly sexist advert. In these straitened times, perhaps the expectation is that women (or at least those with the requisite attributes) should accept jobs in the “glamour” and sex industries. After all, it was only after a prolonged campaign by OBJECT – the campaign group against sexual objectification of women in the media – that the DWP agreed in August 2010 that Job Centre Plus should no longer offer job seekers work in the sex industry.
At a time of low employment and low growth in the economy, so called “gentlemen’s clubs” seem to one of very few sectors which are enjoying a boom. While this might be good news for the Hugh Heffners and Peter Stringfellows of this world, it’s bad news for the women. The notion peddled by these clubs of women as subservient, compliant, scantily clad lovelies who cater will cater to male clients’ every whim with a smile on their faces deals a damaging blow to women everywhere.