We posted this Huffington Post report on our Facebook page the other day. The headline: “Playboy Workout Helps You Get a Bodacious Bunny Body.” I get a visceral negative reaction to this type of thing.
And when they promote it with the language of empowerment, I just have to wonder how far we’ve actually come.
I clicked through to the website of the sleek, stylish gym that’s offering the “Bunny Bootcamp” classes, and came across this description of the class:
“Achieve your ‘Bunny Beautiful’ body: a healthy and strong shape for the modern woman, emphasizing natural curves, using signature Playboy Club Bunny moves.”
This same gym also offers classes where you can “twerk it out.” But back to the bunny workout.
The promo video for this class says that “everyone has an inner Bunny.” Flashing words like “sexy,” “healthy,” and “strong” across the screen as bunny-type young women do sexy fitness moves in front of the Playboy mansion, the video encourages you to “earn your ears” and “get bunny beautiful.”
The bunny bootcamp replaces BMI with its own BMI: Bunny Measurement Index, where you get points for your physical measurements and also for things like “perkiness.”
What can you expect if you sign up for a Bunny Bootcamp class? The Huffington Post article says you can expect:
a 45-minute high-intensity workout designed to have you not only looking fit should you don a bunny costume but feeling “healthy and empowered.”
Some of the moves include the empowering Bunny Perch, typically used to greet guests while flaunting your toned backside, and the Bunny Dip, a quad-burning pose designed to serve retro cocktails to big tippers.
I’m not saying the women in the video and at the mansion aren’t beautiful. They most decidedly are. And I’m not down on the idea that sexy and strong are good, honest, empowering qualities.
But despite its iconic status, the Playboy bunny is such a relic that it makes me sad to think that it still stands as a symbol of what some women aspire to. I just have difficulty seeing what is empowering about making yourself “Bunny beautiful,” knowing that this means living up to a certain aesthetic and pretty much accepting that your role is to serve men and look pretty while doing it.
I’m not going to bash the women to whom this appeals and who want to take the class. But I do want to say that, for starters, if you’re not already close to being “bunny beautiful,” it’s unlikely that this (or any) class will get you there.
And also, there are loads of other classes and activities to choose from that are equally (or more) high intensity and don’t seek to supposedly empower us by making us into servile sex objects.
Sam and I have said plenty on the blog about replacing aesthetic values with athletic values. It’s not always true that a certain look, even one we associate with fitness and health, is attainable in a healthy way. See my post on fitness models for more on this point.
The Bunny Bootcamp seems regressive, reviving and trading on a symbol of female sexual passivity and subordination that lamentably remains with us.
3 thoughts on “Empower yourself with the Playboy Bunny Bootcamp Workout”
It’s so true. Most women I talk to, I am shocked to learn, work out so they will be attractive to men, and so they can still eat apple pie. Health, fitness and performance are simply not the primary motives. When you say that maybe these should be the primary motives and less importance should be given to looks, they simply give you a look in which they seem to be looking through you, as they very slowly shake their heads, and inform you that that will just not be happening – basically looking at you in a way which says: “Sorry, but you just don’t get it.” That’s why the Playboy Bunny workout will appeal to many women, espeically if they’re already sexually attractive by normal standards. Many less sexually attractive women will not take the class only because they fear that they might look ridiculous – but wish that wasn’t the case so they could do such a workout. Admittedly, some women avoid alot of these problems but only because they they gained strength and confidence in other ventures quite fortunately, when it was obvious to them at an early age that they weren’t going to look like a Playboy bunny. For women who are quite strongly influenced by these things, however, even if only because they they grew up naturallly with some sexual appeal by normal standards or at least thought they had at least some sexual appeal to men in general, it is extremely difficult to for alot of them to even consider looking at matters from a different perspective, it seems.
I really liked this post. I would also like to say that I do work out so that I can feel comfortable eating whatever I want (which does not include apple pie). I don’t feel that this is wrong and it made me uncomfortable with the comment. I can work out for whatever reason I please.
Certainly anyone can work out for any reason they please. That is your right, as it is everyone’s right. And it certainly isn’t morally or ethically wrong in any way to work out so you can eat what you want. One of the things Tracy and Sam discuss alot on this blog though, is exercising for purposes of looking or appearing a certain way vs. for purposes of health and fitness. They advocate placing far less importance on looks and far more on athletic performance. My sense from the women I speak to anyway, is that they work out so they can eat apple pie without thereby becoming unattractive to men. You may be very different from the women I have spoken to about this matter. I don’t know you, so I don’t know the answer to this question. Finally, I most certainly did not mean to offend you. I meant rather to agree quite emphatically with everything Tracy said.
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