This is a quote from an article in The Guardian:
In the foreword to The Century of Sex: Playboy’s History of the Sexual Revolution, 1900-1999, he (Heffner) wrote: “Sex is the primary motivating factor in the course of human history, and in the 20th century it has emerged from the taboos and controversy that have surrounded it throughout the ages to claim its rightful place in society.” Others saw his impact on human flourishing somewhat differently. The feminist writer Gloria Steinem, who went undercover as a Playboy Bunny in 1963 to write an exposé of working conditions, said of her experience: “I learned what it’s like to be hung on a meat hook.”
I think that’s, in that seeming contradiction, where we hit the wall with the sexual revolution.
It’s one thing to liberate people and help them rid themselves of the religious, societal guilt that surrounds most people’s sexuality, it’s an other to try and achieve that by spreading around a now often photoshopped version of only one kind of beauty. It’s all become very derivative.
And if sexual revolution means a billion dollar porn industry with millions of videos that all inevitably seem to end with some monstercock dude spraying his jizz over the face of a kneeling, übersubmissive silicone breasted make-up doll, then perhaps I don’t want much to do with it. I don’t need to see women hung on a proverbial meat hook. That’s not anti-puritanism, that’s just exploitative and misogynist.
It started out great. The US and the whole world needed a strong shake-up to embrace sexuality as something fun, something positive, but the most promoted version of sex these days has little to do with sex. And supposedly erotic pictures are now everywhere and are usually shoved down your eye nerve in an effort to try and sell you something.
To his credit Heffner realized this, and rode both waves, the silly, one-dimensional propagation of the same kind of female body type, and the wave where it’s at: letting people embrace their sexuality, tolerance, respect, sex as something positive. We saw this in his support for gay marriage.
He seems to have been a poltical progressive. Although he was a Democrat, recently he supported neither the Democrats nor the Republicans, probably a sign that he didn’t want anything to do with the power-hungry, lying, sociopath that is Hillary Clinton. He was a straightforward dude.
The man was a visionary, somewhat of a missionary, and although Playboy is selling less and less – the way of most magazines these days- he had great business acumen. Too bad that he turned into something like a cartoon figure in his later years.
Still, he had a wonderful, optimistic, growth-oriented spirit that we all could use a bit more of.
I always loved the fun-loving vibe of the Fresh Prince of Bell Air, the episode where Will and the gang visit the Playboy mansion has a very sweet, positive aura, just like the rest of the show.
At its best Playboy was (is? Haven’t seen a copy in over 15 years…) a love of all things beautiful, at its worst it was a jump from one sexual prison to the next, a less obvious one, but a prison in its own right nonetheless, the ubiquitous sexual form, without any content.