It was with great sadness that we learned this morning that Playboy founder Hugh Hefner had passed away at 91. Tributes have since poured in for a man who like it or not, revolutionised the way the USA, and the world viewed sex.
“Hugh M. Hefner, the American icon who in 1953 introduced the world to Playboy magazine and built the company into one of the most recognisable American global brands in history, peacefully passed away today from natural causes at his home, The Playboy Mansion, surrounded by loved ones,” Playboy confirmed in a statement. “He was 91 years old.”
A Wonderful Life
Playboy was founded 60 years ago as a male magazine which not only featured nude women, but also interviews and in depth articles. Over time, the ‘Playboy bunny’ became one of the most iconic images of our time.
Hefner, by most people’s standards, had a wonderful life; something he admitted in an interview with ‘The Times’ in 1992.
“Much of my life has been like an adolescent dream of an adult life,” Hefner told The Times in 1992. “If you were still a boy, in almost a Peter Pan kind of way, and could have just the perfect life that you wanted to have, that’s the life I invented for myself.”
Tributes also came in from civil right leader Jesse Jackson who noted that the magazine editor was a “strong supporter of the civil rights movement,” a part of Hefner’s legacy that others also wanted to highlight. He was also an advocate for the LGBT rights. These are all things that are sometimes forgotten when we are looking at sexy women prancing around in bunny outfits.
Hefner had long since given up the day to day running of the magazine, though he retained a veto over content as well as a lifetime guarantee of residency at the famous Playboy mansion and a yearly stipend estimated at several million dollars. The magazine itself had to undergo a number of changes as it battled to cope with the emergence of internet porn. In March 2016, they did away with frontal nudity, though by February 2017 they reversed this decision, describing it as a ‘mistake’.
A Pioneer For Freedom
There will always be those who say that Hugh Hefner is no cultural icon, and that his magazine, and later his Playboy Mansion demeaned and objectified women. I have no doubt that they will come out of the woodwork over the next few days, and you have already seen some comments on Facebook comments sections. Today though, they are rightfully being drowned out by those who have pointed out that Hugh was a proponent of freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Everything was consensual which is something the P.C brigade seem to forget.
Hugh Hefner once said that ‘life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream’. Whether you are a fan of Playboy or not, then that is a message which we should all take with us through our lives.
Hugh Hefner, we salute you.