Chevron Photo Getty Images Love him or hate him, Hugh Hefner, the libertine entertainment mogul who died yesterday at the age of 91, created one particularly enduring silhouette: the corset-clad, hourglass-shaped Playboy Bunny. Hefner often professed to have sparked the s sexual revolution—and later funded court cases challenging state bans on birth control and abortion—but the exaggerated Bunny dimensions may prove to be his most enduring legacy. Firstly, long and not overly plump legs were a prerequisite for all Bunnies. Table Bunnies, as they were called, toned legs by descending and ascending staircases, balancing trays full of drinks, and working double shifts to make up for low wages, all while wearing three-inch heels—and dodging wanton hands. Yet the athleticism required to work at the club routinely caused Bunnies to lose weight, and being too thin kept former Playmates from being selected for future photoshoots. Pure artifice aided other Bunny staples.

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On top of being a political activist, she helped create New York and Ms. But early in her career, she did the antithesis of what any feminist would do: She stripped down and became a Playboy Bunny.

However, in true Steinem style, it was all in the name of strong journalism with an essential message. Taking on the name of Marie Catherine Ochs, Steinem created a new identity, shedding years off her actual age, and creating a resume filled with waitressing in London and working as a dancer-hostess in Paris. Eventually, she made it into a bright satin blue Bunny costume. The bottom was cut up so high that it left my hip bone exposed as well as a good five inches of my untanned derriere.

Apparently, Steinem fit the bunny mold and no actual interviews were needed. She fit the look and was hired. She also had to get a chest X-ray at the Department of Health. With the physical checked off, she entered Bunny Training, which included make-up guidance as well as Bunny Bible study, Bunny Mother Lecture, Bunny Father Lecture, Bunny School, floor training and a written test which she purposefully botched to make it look more authentic and still scored the highest in her class.

She was able to access some of the biggest secrets of the Playboy world Fully strapped into her Bunny gear, Steinem was able to infiltrate the inner world in a way no one had ever seen. The financial cost of being a Bunny was shocking from the start. As a result of those rules, money was often stolen from personal lockers and busboys would make arrangements with Bunnies to snag and split extra cash. But no matter what happened, the Bunnies had to stick to the strictly scripted lines and moves.

Steinem also had to spend countless hours trapped in the uncomfortable uniform.


Gloria Steinem's 'a bunny's tale' – 50 years later

Clearly, he did his homework. As an emerging voice in feminism and politics, Steinem struggled to be taken seriously because of her beauty. We want a writer. Which was better than several sizes, as one doctor cheerfully told her to expect with this kind of work. Immobile, the costumes were merely painful, but after five-hour shifts of serving customers, they revealed themselves as torture devices. Bunnies had to wear heels at least three inches high and corsets at least two inches too small everywhere except the bust, which came only with D-cups. The corsets were so tight a sneeze could literally break the zipper, a phenomenon Steinem witnessed during try-outs.

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Her mother was Presbyterian , mostly of German including Prussian and some Scottish descent. But I must say, I never felt that. I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could! Speaking for myself, I knew it was the first time I had taken responsibility for my own life.

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