Displaying Men and Women
The Playboy magazine has contributed significantly to the shaping of American popular culture and the ongoing formation of masculinities. The following analysis will trace the emergence of the Playboy magazine within postwar America, and its refashioning of gender roles in opposition to the hegemonic domestic containment ideology. Playboy attracts attention to males' dissatisfaction and disorientation, which was lamented as the 1950s Crisis of Masculinity. For men in the 1950s tied down by the breadwinner ethic, the Playboy magazine held out an enticing allure. Once a month, they could escape the confines of marriage and the provider role, and refashion themselves as playboys. Together with the prescriptive hegemonic norms, Playboy's alternative roles make possible a fuller understanding of gender roles in postwar America.