Chapter 3You Gotta Earn ItEarning your way to the top

In 1974, Christie Hefner was the quintessential feminist, a Brandeis graduate with an interest in law, politics, and journalism. And a decided disinterest in business.

“Liberals in my generation,” she says, “felt that business was, at the very least, suspect, if not the enemy… They didn't care about human rights.”

It seems that Christie's father, Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy Enterprises, would have been public enemy number one: a man who made his fortune selling sexy women. But he wasn't. Playboy in fact supported many women's rights causes. In 1975, after a year of working for the Boston Phoenix, Christie took a job at Playboy, and a few years later, an opportunity arose. In 1982, Playboy was in trouble. While the board was thinking of searching for an outsider, Christie made a proposal to Hef and the board that she step in (rather than delay with the search for an outsider) and form an office of the President. She felt she had a sense that she knew what needed to be done and that she already had the trust of being a family member. Before too long she was making command decisions at the company. A liberal feminist was calling the shots for the ultimate boy's club. It was an eyebrow-raising succession, as Christie pointed out, that generated “a certain amount of press.” Though as a feminist she entered the business with what she calls a “certain level of disability,” Christie managed to shatter the glass ceiling before ...

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