Be Happy, Feel Beautiful
After only three episodes, NBC has cancelled the new drama series, The Playboy Club, making it the first show to vanish from lineups this fall. The show, set in the 1960’s, was based on Hugh Hefner’s Playboy Club of Chicago, Illinois, which was up and running for over 25 years. However, only 5 million viewers viewed the debut episode with numbers significantly declining thereafter.
The NBC drama received mixed reviews and caused a fuss as some said it was inappropriate for network television. For example, the Parents Television Council applauded the cancellation, stating, “We’re pleased that NBC will no longer be airing a program so inherently linked to a pornographic brand that denigrates and sexualizes women.” In addition, key advertisers were also receiving up to 20,000 emails per day from Morality in Media, an organization dedicated to keeping explicit topics far from the mainstream.
While it is possible that the show failed due to the competition of other shows airing at 10 p.m. Eastern Time on Mondays, some say that its failure is due to the lack of viewer interest in seeing female objectification portrayed on television.
The advancement of gender role expectations depends on the mindset of the population. The media significantly influences what are accepted as norms in society. Consequently, the reinforcement of societal expectations through the media can keep women from achieving greater equality. Moreover, the media is a direct reflection of societal issues of past decades. By looking to the media sources of years passed, we can recognize the milestones we have overcome and the boundaries that still require crossing.
Is the cancelation of The Playboy Club a sign that we no longer rest our interests in the sexual exploitation of women or is the failure of the series simply a coincidence? You decide!