Hef and Harvey

In the span of a month, the world has witnessed the death of Playboy Magazine founder, Hugh Hefner, and the remarkable fall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. While the two events aren’t connected, there has been a lot of dialog as of late about each man. One started the sexual revolution while the other took advantage of this so-called revolution for his own gratification, no matter what the cost to the women he objectified.

Hugh Hefner, Playboy Magazine founder, died September 27, 2017. By his own admission he thought sexual addiction was a myth, a “cop out,” and an excuse for adultery. Deniability is a great defense mechanism. The moment I heard he died, I visualized him being held accountable for his role in this corrupt pursuit. I imagined him as some sort of ghost supernaturally witnessing each and every husband who has confessed wrongdoing while their wives weep in agony at their betrayal. I imagined him observing countless young men who have stolen away his magazine in their youth only to become ensnared adult men so captivated by lust that they experience porn-induced erectile dysfunction. Does he now realize the gravity and depth that his magazine played in each and every addict’s story? I would like to believe that he now realizes his culpability. Whether Hefner believed it or not, Playboy Magazine was the gold-standard, flagship publication for each young man’s start toward their lustful past time. Denying the damage that he has caused men goes with the territory. After all, his magazine was worth $50 million. Sexually addicted men are collateral damage.

But the women……now that is another story. When you publish a magazine with images of nude women, you cannot ignore questions about whether you are a misogynist and deny your role in the culture you created for them thereafter. His answer was to state that he was liberating women, freeing them sexually, doing them a service. His skewed vision of “freeing” women via objectification created a culture and belief system in which men like Harvey Weinstein would later use to his benefit.

Hefner made his living and capitalized at the expense of women. He paid $500 for a nude image of Marilyn Monroe to put in his first magazine. The photo was taken at a time that she really needed money. She did not give him permission to publish her image and “liberate” her. He later paid $75,000 to purchase the crypt beside her so that he could be buried next to her. It saddens me that this woman will have to spend eternity beside a man who took advantage of her in life and capitalized upon her notoriety in death. Hefner created a culture in which objectifying women became the norm, acceptable. Make no mistake, he did not further advance women as intellectuals, as equal beings, as a gender to be respected. He made his money fostering an environment where women feel judged for their appearance, praised for their measurements, ogled for their breast size, and pressured to meet unattainable standards of comparison.

Enter Harvey Weinstein. And before him Bill O’Reilly. And before him Roger Ailes. And before him Bill Cosby. Honestly, the list goes on and on. This isn’t a new story. The fact is that as a society we don’t accept and admit that we have allowed and enabled the outright objectification of women. It occurred with the inception of Playboy Magazine and it continues with the graphic and violent depictions of women in pornography. We can disguise this objectification and call it “sexual liberation” or whatever euphemism works, but the truth is that as a culture we do not respect women. The momentum is changing. This one feels different. Perhaps it is just a start but a start nonetheless. Let’s take this movement and effect real change!

Speak Your Mind


Windsor, CO


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