Home       Site Map      Archives      Search      Bio & Photos       FAQs       Links       Contact       Get Brent       Help


Want more?  Check the archives!









The Women of Enron:

Playboy to the Rescue

Week of April 1, 2002

            When the going gets tough, the tough get – naked?

            When I was a newly minted certified public accountant I worked for a company that was then the ninth largest accounting firm in the country.  The giants of the industry were known as the “Big 8,” a group now down to five and perhaps soon to four thanks to the Enron woes of Arthur Andersen. 

            My employer’s inferiority complex over being out of the top eight was the biggest part of its corporate culture and a natural target for jokes.  So when Playboy magazine came to our city on a highly publicized model search, I had a brainstorm.

            Why not, I thought, dummy up a flyer for a “Girls of the Big 8” photo shoot and plant it on the office bulletin board?  The coup de grâce would be a forged note from our managing partner:  “Ladies, please don’t mention we’re number nine.”

            Out of respect for my female colleagues I let the impulse pass.  But that was a quaint era, a time when accomplished professional women might reasonably be expected to be annoyed by such a stunt.

            I’m sure most still would, though I’ve heard no public indignation over Playboy’s plans for a “Women of Enron” issue.  “Women of Arthur Andersen” can’t be far behind, given probable layoffs that could cut 20 percent of that firm’s workforce.  I thought I was just a prankster all those years ago; it turns out I was prophetic.

Playboy is portraying this as a humanitarian gesture, their way of helping hard-working folks who have fallen on hard times.  “If you’re a female employee of Enron and your working days have hit a snag,” one ad reads, “we’ve got a new career opportunity for you.”  Men are on their own, I suppose, unless Playgirl suddenly finds a compassionate streak.

            Playboy dropped the “Girls of” title for these features in favor of “Women of” some time ago to avoid bruising anyone’s sensibilities, apparently believing the word “girl” more offensive to women than asking them to strip for public view.  I guess I run with a different crowd.  In any event I have a hard time seeing this as a career opportunity.

            Does Playboy have a pension plan for nude models?  How about dental coverage?  Do they offer a 401(k) plan or stock options?  What’s the mandatory retirement age?  23?

            A small number of women have leveraged a Playboy appearance into bigger things, but most drop quickly out of the limelight while others sink deeper into porn.  This is about as humanitarian as peddling life jackets on the Titanic; Playboy executives believe they can turn a buck off headlines and the misfortune of others, nothing more. 

            Aside from the fact a nude layout isn’t something most management recruiters look for in a resume, is there any real harm in so-called soft pornography like Playboy, or am I being a prude? 

Yes and yes.  “Prude” is a label hung on people who believe sexuality has a higher purpose than magazine sales, television ratings, and arousing strangers for kicks, by people who don’t.  I take no offense. 

Former president Jimmy Carter was ridiculed for his confession in a Playboy interview that he had “lusted in my heart,” a reference to Matthew 5:27-28:  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  As usual, Jesus makes things difficult, expecting us to get right in spirit rather than simply follow rules.

            One needn’t crack a Bible to see the harm done by juvenile, misguided sexuality.  Playboy might be offering a nice payday, but I suspect opportunities with genuine rewards won’t be hard for the real women of Enron to find. 


            NOTE:  Hours after this column was filed, Playgirl magazine announced it would do a pictorial on the "sexiest men" of Enron.





Email Brent:






Latest columns:


Getting the most hits:


Need an antidote to "Harmful to Minors"?

(See column

Try Rae Turnbull's excellent "Be the Parent Your Child Deserves"


Get Brent

in your local paper.

Click here!


Hear Brent

speak to your community group, church, fundraiser, or business group.  Click here.





© 2002 Brent Morrison