It is no exaggeration to say that Hugh Hefner, the womanizing hedonist and founder of Playboy magazine who died at 91 on Wednesday, helped to define modern American sexual culture.
He was “Hef,” an icon of late 20th-century personal freedom, celebrity and consumerism, albeit one whose silk pajamas and pipe-smoking suavity became a cliché of (mostly white) male heterosexuality.
Ministers gave sermons (not always critical)about Hefner’s worldview, which was spelled out in a years-long editorial series called “The Playboy Philosophy.” The Philosophy addressed what Hefner saw as American religious repression, censorship, sexuality, and all manner of personal freedom.
People paid attention to what Playboy had to say in noteworthy interviews and journalistic pieces because of their engagement with the social, political and cultural issues of the day.
They promoted the work of the Clergy Consultation Service, which was a hotline that women could call to track down safe abortion before Roe v. Wade .
- Hugh Hefner was a feminist (if you believe feminism is pretty women having sex ...The Lily
- Was Hefner Oppressor or Liberator? Women Debate His LegacyVoice of America
- What Happened When Hugh Hefner Invited 20 Sociologists to the Playboy MansionHistory
- Former Playboy playmate, employees on Hefner's divisive legacy89.3 KPCC
- For better or worse, we'll never see another Hugh HefnerChicago Tribune
- On losing Hef, from a Bunny who loved himChicago Tribune
- Tampa Bay Playboy playmates and partiers remember Hugh HefnerTampabay.com (blog)
- Reporter's Notebook: A dissent on Hugh Hefner, the 'revolutionary'ABC News
- Hugh Hefner's philosophy on lifeCBS News