Hugh Hefner: Proving Hollywood is a Hypocrite on Morality
What can I say about Hugh Hefner that has not already been said? In the days after his death my newsfeed streamed with articles memorializing and honoring Hefner and his life’s work at Playboy. It’s a surreal world when powerful men are brought low by accusations of sexual abuse, even by sexual harassment. Then, other men are praised and lifted high for treating women as objects of sexual desire and lust.
It’s hard to make sense of a world that can compartmentalize the lives of Harvey Weinstein and Hugh Hefner. Maybe if Weinstein would have offered to pay women and make them famous for accepting his sexual proposals he would not be in the trouble he is in right now. Then again, I think Weinstein did pay and make women famous. Just like Hefner.
And yet, Hefner is lauded and Weinstein is fired.
What exactly is the “legacy” of Hugh Hefner? He’s a man that dedicated his life to destroying the moral fiber of our world while making untold millions of dollars in the process. He may be more responsible for tearing families apart and advancing sexual crimes than any other single individual in history. An article at Fox News summed up Hefner’s legacy with this comment:
“He was the force behind the mainstream objectification of women, someone who paid them to take their clothes off and convinced them it was empowering to do so, using the same arguments pornographers use for the same goals.”
Somehow Hefner convincing women to take their clothes off in order to make money and become famous is socially acceptable. However, anyone else, Harvey Weinstein for example, using the same tactics is socially unacceptable, reprehensible even. This shows the clear disconnect between our social assurance that pornography is perfectly normal but the motives behind it are not. The disconnect is the only way Hefner can be praised for his “enterprising work” while Weinstein, Toback, Halperin, Polanski, and many others are brought down (as well they should be).
Somehow our society cannot connect that it is Hefner and his morally bankrupt ideas which have contributed to the sexual ethic of men that continue to abuse women. The very attitudes our society finds so repulsive in these powerful men are the attitudes embedded into every page of Playboy and personally propagated by Hefner. If you don’t believe that Hefner contributed to the pitiful actions of famous sexual deviants, consider Hefner’s philosophy on life, as noted by ERLC President Russell Moore:
“man’s life consists in the abundance of his possessions and of his orgasms…woman’s value consists in her sexual availability and attractiveness to men.”
This is the fundamental value of Hefner, and the central principle from which he founded and operated Playboy. I wonder how many people knew this about Hefner. Why did Hefner get a pass for being a sexist chauvinist when so many others were ruined for lesser statements and actions?
Where were the feminist outcries against a man like Hefner, peddling his sexism and demeaning women? Sure, he told them he was “empowering” them, but surely by now we all know that’s a lie? If anything, Hefner created a greater appetite, an insatiable hunger for more that fueled many men to attack women, harm women, and impose their Playboy inspired dreams on unwilling victims. Whether anyone knew what the effects of generations exposed to pornography would be when Hefner started Playboy is irrelevant. The harm it has caused is now without question.
Penny Young Nance, writing at Fox News, shares just some of the damaging effects Hefner and Playboy have aided:
“The harmful effects of pornography are no longer secret. Pornography is violent and has been proven to lead to aggression against women — no surprise since the vast majority of the victims of violence in pornography are women. Porn is everywhere and easily accessible which is different from the days when boys hid coveted copies of Hefner’s magazine under their beds. An astounding 90 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls have been exposed in some way to pornography before they turn 18. Over half of men look at porn frequently and, sadly, 50 percent of religious men say they are addicted to pornography. In 2013 traffic to porn sites received more traffic than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined. According to WebRoot, porn increased marital infidelity by 300 percent, and a study published in Science magazine showed a direct correlation between consuming porn in marriage and a higher divorce rate.”
These harmful effects of rampant pornography in our culture, among others, is evidence that Hefner’s moral bankruptcy extends to every corner of our society. There is virtually no one untouched, unaffected by the deviance of a man that saw women as objects to be obtained. And, ironically, though Hefner was considered a liberal in this life, his core beliefs surrounding women should have made him a pariah. And yet, few, if any, had trouble associating with him or Playboy.
At least Ross Douthat is willing to speak honestly of a man that deserves no praise or fondness related to his life’s work. Douthat wrote that every aspect of Hefner’s life was rotten, everything he touched, every “principle” he peddled was inherently rotten. And, now that Hefner is dead, our society should ask some tough questions. Here’s more from Douthat:
“Now that death has taken him, we should examine our own sins. Liberals should ask why their crusade for freedom and equality found itself with such a captain, and what his legacy says about their cause. Conservatives should ask how their crusade for faith and family and community ended up so Hefnerian itself — with a conservative news network that seems to have been run on Playboy Mansion principles and a conservative party that just elected a playboy as our president.”
When someone dies we want so badly to say kind words. We want to overlook their faults and make sure everyone knows that he was “a good father,” or “a loving husband.” If nothing else we want to extoll the man for his “work ethic.” In this case, there is nothing good to say. Hefner exhibited none of the traits of a good father or loving husband. His work ethic consisted of demeaning women and profiting from it.
There’s nothing good to say. No one is better as a result of Hugh Hefner’s life. He is a man to be pitied. His life of ruin led to an eternity of ruin. There will be no resting in peace.