Halloween is right around the corner, which means you should expect to see women scantily clad and accessorizing with silk bowties, bunny ears and a cotton tail. For this extremely cliche costume we have none other than Hugh Hefner to thank – the man, the myth, the womanizer.
During his 64 years of being the chief of Playboy, Hefner fooled the public into thinking he was an advocate for sexual liberation, and yet he never stopped exploiting women’s bodies. From the start of the magazine in 1953 up until today, many women dream of being the centerfold bunny for the upcoming Playboy magazine. For Miss December 1991, Wendy Hamilton’s dream began at the age of 10. In an interview with Los Angeles Times, Hamilton said she saw her father’s Playboy centerfold calendar in the garage and told him, “One day, daddy, I am gonna be one of those girls.” Just imagine how the idea that taking their clothes off for the pleasure of men contaminated many other girls at that young age.
Women have dreamed and craved success for many years, and during those decades when American women were finally feeling that liberation, Hefner managed to convince them there is nothing more empowering than showing off their nude bodies for men’s pleasure. Not only was it supposedly empowering, it was considered a worthy goal to have. This deception of women made Hefner a millionaire.
Playboy magazine is easily the perfect example as to why women have body image issues. Hefner objectified women and made out the way women should look in a man’s eyes – pretty face, big breasted, no body hair, thin. He was a firm believer that women’s sole purpose is to please men until they get about 30 years old; then they cease to exist.
Despite the fantasy Hefner made the Playboy lifestyle seem, the life of a Bunny was far from that. The way ex-Playboy Bunny Holly Madison described her life in the mansion as more a nightmare than a fantasy. Madison spent seven years at the mansion as one of Hefner’s seven girlfriends, according to the Daily Mail. In her book, “The Vegas Diaries,” She said the only thing that kept her from going crazy was drinking. Hefner treated his girlfriends very poorly, always talking down to them to the point where he would make them cry, and he loved to keep the girls on their toes by playing favorites.
However, there are still women and men who see him as an icon. Not a sex icon, but as someone who was a strong advocate for women’s and civil rights. Katherine Leigh Scott, another ex-Bunny, was one of the people who saw Hefner as an icon, someone who wanted to help women.
According to The Press Democrat, Scott says she can see both sides of the argument about Hefner’s reputation but seems to favor seeing him as a good man. Scott goes on by saying, “But when you think of what he did to support Roe v. Wade… he did a lot to help women.” The only reason Hefner supported the women’s right to an abortion was for the benefit of men. If a man were to accidentally impregnate a woman, he could ask her to get an abortion rather than asking her to marry him; a much more simple alternative.
The truth about Hugh Hefner is he was a selfish womanizer, but many disagree. I assume those who disagree are mostly men, and that’s because they refuse to see their icon, who liberated their sexual fantasies, as a man who did more harm than good.