Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hef comes out swinging for women in GOP war

It may seem hard to believe but Playboy founder and pajama enthusiast Hugh Hefner actually likes women. According to Politico, Hef published a rare editorial in the magazine's May issue, condemning the Republican war on women and attempting to stoke what he called a "new sexual revolution":
"If these zealots have their way, our hard-won sexual liberation — women’s rights, reproductive rights and rights to privacy — lie in peril. We won’t let that happen."
This undoubtedly will be criticised as self-serving; if women are shamed into keeping their legs together, Hefner is less likely to get laid (let's not dwell on logistics or visuals). But having lived through the glorious decade(s) these comparatively whippersnapper politicians laud as some kind of lost golden age – and considering he started publishing the magazine in 1953 – Hef is in a unique position to call bullshit.  I have a fondness for Playboy; maybe it's because I grew up in Chicago in the 70s, when sexual liberation reached the suburbs and The Playboy Club seemed so glamorous (my dad was a member).

I appreciate the magazine is responsible for a lot of damage when it comes to sexism and objectifying women. And although many feminists will regard his editorial as suspect, Hefner has undeniably had a unique insight into womens' sexuality during the past six decades – our sexual liberation was absolutely in Playboy Enterprises' best interest.

The magazine reaches an audience that has little crossover with... say... Jezebel, and its readership is more likely to listen to Hef than a feminist movement that might come off as unapproachable or has been misrepresented by its enemies. Without strong women, Playboy is nothing: Hef started his empire on a $1000 loan from his mother and his daughter ran the company from 1982-2009. 

 I'm pleased to see Hefner add his voice and influence to the cause. Men are less likely to gaslight other men and as ridiculous as Hefner has become, it's a lot harder for old rich white men to rubbish another old rich white man's opinion as 'hysteria'.

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