Vibrators: A pop-culture history of this buzzed-about device
Like gay marriage, marijuana use and tattoos, public perception of female sex toys is not what it used to be. While male sex toys still weigh heavy on the shame scale, a female pleasure device is mostly seen as a cute novelty. Encountering one while snooping is comparable to finding a rutabaga in the fridge or a Kid 'n Play record on the shelf: more "Oh, that's interesting" than "You filthy slut."
In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, which opens tomorrow at the Bug, takes us back to a time before female sexuality was acknowledged, when the buzzing phallus was used to treat women for "hysteria" -- and once its alternative uses were made known, was vilified as an unmentionable weapon of evil, a disgusting appliance of hell-bound harlots.
In honor of this theatrical monument to the social evolution of female sexuality, we are proud to present this brief pop-culture history of the vibrator:
Mad Men's Peggy Olson turns the Electrosizer into the Rejuvenator
In Mad Men's season one "Indian Summer" episode, proto-feminist go-getter Peggy Olson is assigned the marketing campaign for the Electrosizer, a type of vibrating granny panties designed for weight loss. Though the assignment is handed her half as a joke targeting Olson's sudden chubbiness (no one, not even Peggy, is yet aware that the weight gain is due to pregnancy), she characteristically takes on the assignment with an astute self-determination. Giving the device a bedroom test drive, Olson quickly discovers the Electrosizer's unexpected awakening of her erogenous zones. She later pitches the device as the Rejuvenator, adding the tagline "You'll love the way it makes you feel." As eloquent dreamboat Don Draper explains to his bewildered colleagues, the Rejuvenator "provides the pleasure of a man, without the man."