Hugh Hefner was a vanguard of free speech, a visionary of sex and politics, and also…ew
The legendary creator of Playboy has passed away at the age of 91. I’m sorry he’s dead, but whatever relevance you think this man had to the advancement of women ended about the time he turned himself into a ridiculous old man who kept seven girlfriends at a time as literal pets in his enormous mansion.
At one point he was a married man with children, but when that lifestyle didn’t work out he became the ultimate hedonist that we know today. Some people may cry “but polyamory is feminist!” in defense of his later life. But no, not the way Hef practiced it. Being a girlfriend was a job and it came with restrictions. Furthermore, its not really “free love” if the only one receiving the love is the guy at the center.
Notice how none of the women have ever talked about Hef’s generosity or skill as a lover. He was not into giving pleasure, only receiving it.
I am certain we’re going to hear a lot of fascinating stories about his early life and hear from high profile women, both in front of and behind cameras, who will testify that he respected them and helped them become independent. I have no doubt that they are all true.
But so are all the other things about him being an exploiter of women he deemed to be less than him. In the flood of obituaries that are to come, let’s listen and acknowledge it all.
“Holly Madison Reveals The Hell That Is Playboy Mansion Life“, Kate Arthur, Buzzfeed
Update at 18:08 London Time: Apologies if someone has already recomended this in the comments and I missed it, but this piece from Suzanne Moore in The Guardian is also very relevant. It was published only a little bit after I put up this blog post. I think we will see some women write about a different side of Hef that they saw, but the creep side is the one he ended on.