Now don’t get me wrong I think the Copy and Paste application on a PC is probably just about the best thing Steve Jobs (?) invented. This is topped only by the Print Screen Option which is quite frankly, blooming marvelous. I am very partial to a Print Screen, especially when explaining I.T to my mum, via email. For example, I once tried to explain to her how to send a website link, she ended up copying and pasting the whole internet page. I told her to copy and paste the ULR and she got mad because she thought I was calling her a loser. With the aid of step by step Print Screens, she finally understood. I say ‘finally’, she still doesn’t understand.
So the Print Screen and the Copy and Paste Function are my top two computer functions, after all imitation is the best form of flattery. However, I also believe that people should be able to think for themselves and be able to express themselves as coherently as possible without having to rely on others to put words into their mouths. In short, I want my facebook friends to be able to think for themselves. (Not my actual friends, just my facebook friends.) This then got me thinking about how I should better my own literacy skills. And that’s when I decided it’s probably about time I read a book. It had been a while! I used to read books all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I do read. It’s really hard not to read words , right? Go on try it, it’s harder than you think. But in this modern age I have replaced reading books with reading ‘Which Disney Character Are You?’ and ‘If You Were a Pencil Case What Type Would You Be?’ questionnaires. What had happened to me? Well, carrying a hardback round all day with you, will give you a hard back. And as a Stand Up, having a back in the correct upright position is fairly important. Living in the virtual and digital age however, I really had no excuse. All the books on my Kindle App are light reads.
And so thanks to Kindle (open to sponsor this blog), I’ve revived my love of reading.
Reading books is important. So much emphasis is put on a woman’s looks these days, what about her books? You might recall this notion being challenged in Roald Dahl’s Popular children’s book, ‘Matilda’ in which Matilda’s uncaring mother, Mrs. Wormwood tells her teacher Miss Honey that she chose looks over books and is doing far better than Miss Honey because of it.
Personally I don’t think you need to choose looks over books, though. You can have both if you read Kim Kardashians selfie book.
Speaking of E! Entertainment reality stars, it was the autobiography of such a celebrity that I downloaded in the end. After deliberating between Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ and Dickens ‘Hard Times’, I realised I was yearning for something with more pathos, further evolved allegory, extended dramatic irony and a more sophisticated use of imagery. In short, I wanted something that was really going to challenge myself. So I finally selected ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ by ex Play Boy Bunny, Holly Madison.
I had spent much of my post University year watching Holly, Bridget and Kendra’s E! reality show Girls Next Door. GND documented life at the Playboy Mansion, as one of Hef’s many girlfriends. Despite the obvious sexual undertone, it was surprisingly sugar coated and wholesome in style and content and ratings soared throughout its 8 seasons.
In contempt of having to succumb to the misogyny of the whole debacle, it is undeniable that it was that very documentary that led all three girls to their current state of fame and fortune. The price of that fame and fortune was always prominent in the viewers’ mind, despite the wholesome image it oddly projected. Ordinarily I am not interested in reading the auto biographies of these sort of ‘only famous for their body not their brains’ kind of girls. I’d far rather hit myself in the head repeatedly with Amy Child’s (hardback) book then actually read it for example. Which I envision would go something like this:
‘I was born in Essex. I get spray tan. I get vajazzle. The end’
Nevertheless, I recalled seeing an interview with Holly after leaving Hef and the house, and she described herself as a ‘born again feminist’. As a feminist this is ultimately what drew me to the book, that and I really love bunny rabbits. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but they are really cute.
Now I hate that phrase, ‘as a feminist’, to me it’s as ridiculous as saying ‘as a non-racist’. I think it’s safe to assume we all believe in gender equality but I guess it doesn’t hurt to keep drilling it in, if not to make a point that girls can drill too, I guess. So! As a feminist the thought of being part of Hugh Hefner’s Harem makes me shudder. And I’m half Middle Eastern; poly amorous lifestyles are in my DNA. To be fair, Hef’s so old, his eyesight, so bad and his gfs all look the same, he probably thinks he’s been having sex with the same woman for the past 50 years.
The main thing I got from the book and insight into the life of a playboy bunny was that sex with Hef, a crippled octogenarian lasts as you can imagine, less than 2 seconds. They say blondes have more fun but at least brunettes don’t have to sleep with Hugh Hefner. The rest of your 23 hours, 59 minutes and 58 seconds is spent buying clothes with your $1000 a week clothing allowance, driving around Beverley Hills in fancy cars, attending exclusive celeb filled parties, and maintaining your blonde Barbie bimbo with essential plastic surgery procedures, paid for by Hef. What’s not to like? According to Holly, 9pm curfews, bunny bitchiness and losing all sense of reality, personality, self worth and self-esteem. In short it’s a modern day Faust.
Holly, although acknowledging that the mansion gave her everything she has today, (money and a nose), also recognizes that like Alice in Wonderland, falling Down the Rabbit Hole, led her to become a confused, bewildered shadow of her former self. She plays the victim quite a bit and one can’t feel, that like Faust, she too sold her soul to the devil, openly and willingly, and should take the consequences. She must have known what she was doing and by her own admission stayed at the mansion for her own gain. Throughout the book she psychoanalyzes her whole experience and makes excuses for herself, which in truth get a little too tiresome. Perhaps just admit you were a massive tit? She made a boob? She was abreast with stupidity and naivety? Sorry.
She claims that in order to justify selling her body, she convinced herself that she was actually not doing so at all; she made herself believe that she was madly in love with Hef. We can see evidence of this in the reality show. Holly, as Hef’s main girlfriend, is the only character in the series that actually seems to have genuine romantic feelings for Hef. But, as she slags him off so much in the book, (at times its more Bunny Boiler than Down the Rabbit Hole), there is quite a bitter tone to it all. Is she fabricating it all for sensationalism? This cynicism does stay with me throughout the book. With every bitchy account of falling out with certain girlfriends, frosty receptions with Hef’s new main girlfriend, Crystal, and supposed manipulation from Hef, I do keep an open mind. There are always two sides to every story after all.
Her seemingly artificial sweetness that you associate with Playboy and her damsel in distress act, I air with caution at the beginning. But as I am taken into her world, I find myself believing that she is genuine. She has lived a fascinating journey that she understandably feels compelled to tell………… due to her massive fee from the publishers’. She’s done worse. Literally she has. She’s done Hugh Hefner.
She ends the book with the classic fairy tale, girlie saccharine ending; finding her true prince, getting married in Disney Land (puke) and having a baby whom she calls: Rainbow (Bleurgh). If you are trying to get away from the bimbo image which she so desperately reiterates throughout, then don’t call your child Rainbow ok?! But ultimately, it’s her self-realisation in her conclusion that seals the deal for me. She addresses the fact that this fairy tale ending was not due to her prince saving her but by her saving herself and thus making herself open to true and genuine love.
While I take it all with a pinch of salt, as to how fabricated the story she tells is. One can’t get behind this girl and be thankful that she seems to have learnt her feminist lessons. And the ultimate feminist lesson is don’t get with an old ugly guy for fame. Get with an old ugly guy for a future book deal.
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A bold multi-generational debut from Zahra Barri, exploring themes of queerness, revolution and Islamic sisterhood.
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