Friday, September 29, 2017
Hefner idealized women; women didn't reciprocate
The naked women were supposed to be temporary.
Just until Hugh Hefner's new magazine got off the ground and could afford to hire top writers.
"Later, with some money in the bank, we'd begin increasing the quality and reducing the girlie features," remembered Hefner.
That never happened. Instead Hefner, 91, who died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles, kept the erotic photos and the literary quality. In the process he became an important figure in 20th century America—a cultural icon, a successful businessman whose business just happened to be built around pornography. A vigorous advocate for 1st Amendment, civil and gay rights who yet had difficulty including real women in his vision of dynamic equality, a champion celebrating unembarrassed consumerism and the female form, albeit idealized, airbrushed and safely naked or nearly.
As Hefner once described it: "pretty girls, night life, food and drink, sports cars, travel, Hi-Fi music with emphasis on jazz."
Like a boys' secret clubhouse, girls were not welcome, something Hefner was upfront about in the magazine's first issue.
"If you're a man between the ages of 18 and 80, Playboy is meant for you," Hefner wrote in the undated November, 1953 issue, assembled in his South Side kitchen. "If you're somebody's sister, wife or mother-in-law, and picked us up by mistake, please pass us along to the man in your life and get back to your Ladies Home Companion."
Such pats on the head did not go down well with increasingly-outspoken women.
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