No Tears for Hugh

While it is getting more difficult to find areas that unite people on opposite sides of the political spectrum, I think that neither liberal-leaning feminists nor conservative, traditionally minded women are shedding tears for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.  Before I proceed to destroy that Kumbaya moment, let’s take a minute to enjoy it.

Time’s up!

It is easy to focus scorn on the founder of movements you don’t like. I’m not a fan of Playboy magazine, Playboy Clubs or the Playboy philosophy that encouraged sexual liberation. However, the Hefner empire wasn’t built because the government forced men to purchase its products or forced women to participate in its businesses.  Men chose to buy magazines and become key-holders at the clubs; women chose to pose for the magazine and auditioned to work at the clubs. Many married women chose to either look the other way or chuckle when their husbands subscribed to Playboy and visited the clubs, sometimes even accompanying them. Lack of participation from either men or women could have derailed Hefner’s vision.

In 1963, Gloria Steinem took advantage of her figure and looks to go undercover as a reporter and describe the experience of spending a short time as a Playboy Bunny. Her exposé presents a rather unflattering picture of the men patronizing the club, but the women working at the club didn’t come off well either. About a decade later, Ms. Steinem founded Ms. Magazine and helped popularize the phrase, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle,” promoting the idea that men were fine for sexual fun, but there was no need for marriage.

In 1992, Hugh Hefner told The New York TImes how proud he was, “That I changed attitudes toward sex. That nice people can live together now. That I decontaminated the notion of premarital sex. That gives me great satisfaction.” Ms. Magazine acolytes may have despised Mr. Hefner, but they similarly elevated those very goals. I think it unarguable that Gloria Steinem is a talented and hard-working woman who has had an outsized effect on popular culture. She chose where to apply her influence.

Daphne Jackson, about two and a half years younger than Ms. Steinem, became the first female physics professor in the United Kingdom. She wanted to encourage other women to advance in science and engineering careers while being married and having a family. Realizing that women often took breaks for family reasons and needed retraining to get back into the field at a high level, in 1985 she began a fellowship supporting those women as they re-entered the workplace.

Today, unfortunately, there are still women who, at the same time as they righteously demand respect, treat their looks and figures as their greatest commodity. Both Hugh Hefner and Gloria Steinem supported the sexual revolution that gave that market an aura of respectability. There are also women devoting themselves to advancing science and engineering. Gloria Steinem’s work enlarged both those groups while Judith Jackson only supported the second.

Two intelligent women, both of whom felt that women should and could contribute their abilities to society to a greater degree than they were. Had Ms. Steinem joined Professor Jackson in enabling women to expand their academic and business opportunities without at the same time popularizing a sexual revolution, Hugh Hefner’s obituaries might be obscure side notes of history.

17 thoughts on “No Tears for Hugh”

  1. All lives matter. However you must look at why protest is necessary. Moses spoke out on behalf of the Jews. Who will speak out on behalf of America’s people of color? Systemic denial of access to representation, education, justice, exposure, work and tools Incubate incabaiity to formulate and or activate a solution.
    This along with silencing the victims voices is how America reached this present intensity of injustice.
    The Lord requires each of us to do justice, love mercy and to walk humbly before our God. Too many of America’s blacks are wounded, targeted for death and deemed unworthy of help.
    We must each decide if we will be like the priest and the Levite who avoided the wounded man in Luke 10, or the Samaritan who had compassion and helped him.

    Psalm 28:2 says hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help as I lift up my hands towards your most holy place . Yes the Almighty is the Holy One. But, should not our hearts also be a holy place? Do you hear? Do any of us hear? Does America not hear it’s brother’s blood crying from the ground out to God?

  2. Your comments on BLK and NFL protests were about as sensitive as It would be to tell a Mother who lost her child not to cry because it makes others uncomfortable.

    1. I’m sorry, George, but I have no idea what you’re speaking about or how this relates to a Musing about Hugh Hefner’s death.

  3. Peter Osterbauer

    Susan, with all due respect, I have to say that I am very disheartened by your headline. I do not, in any way, agree with or endorse anything that Hugh stood for. But unless I have completely misunderstood the love of our Father, I believe that a tear WAS shed for Hugh by His Heavenly Father. If this is not true, then I may as well give up my faith. And as a representative of the Father’s voice on earth, you have spoken a death sentence to many. I know that your headline does not represent the Father’s heart, and I beg you to correct this as soon as possible before others misunderstand your words, misunderstand the Father’s true heart, and the very problem that you are speaking against is multiplied. Again, with all due respect. That Father sheds tears for all of His lost children.

    1. Peter, you are a sensitive soul. I think it’s clear from my first paragraph that I was talking about people with conservative and liberal positions, not God or and Hefner family or friends. I certainly can’t speak for God, but I would think He cried more about Mr. Hefner’s life than his death.

      1. “While it is getting more difficult to find areas that unite people on opposite sides of the political spectrum, I think that neither liberal-leaning feminists nor conservative, traditionally minded women are shedding tears for Playboy founder Hugh Hefner.”

        In fact, some of those women may have been celebrating Hefner’s passing away joyously! Perhaps even Gloria Steinem was celebrating it? I certainly wouldn’t know unless I hung out with others who celebrated his death this way. Or maybe there are folks, like myself, who would celebrate the passing of a man who’s life was dedicated to bad ideas for socially acceptable behaviors? Hopefully, the son who inherited the bounty will wake-up to the inherently disgusting production of the brand that Hefner so fondly created for like-minded men and women.

        Susan, your blog title’s point is good and piqued my own (female brain’s) interest in reading it. You included quotes in the post where Hefner’s position on welcoming behaviors that do not serve God or others wholesomely were highlighted as his own greatest accomplishments. The man encouraged a liberal application of degrading human behavior. I also imagine God cried about Hefner’s life’s goals.

        I thought of the late Martin Luther King Jr’s sermon, “The death of evil upon the seashore.” King was speaking about the struggle of black slavery and segregation in the US, and he recalled Israel’s struggle in Egypt ending with its delivery from it. Following is an excerpt taken from the book, “Strength to Love” by Martin Luther King Jr. (1963) in the chapter (which was first delivered as a sermon) “The death of evil upon the seashore.”

        “When the Israelites looked back, all they could see was here and there a poor drowned body beaten upon the seashore. For the Israelites, this was a great moment. It was the end of a frightful period in their history. It was a joyous daybreak that had come to end the long night of their captivity. The meaning of this story is not found in the drowning of Egyptian soldiers, for no one should rejoice at the death or defeat of a human being. Rather, this story symbolizes the death of evil and of inhuman oppression and unjust exploitation.”

        I have the same reaction to prevailing in war. I’d rather an enemy stopped his or her oppression, repented and repaired damages done to me, my family or my country, than for the person to meet a bitter end possibly. However, I will defend myself, my family and my country against enemies of decent human behavior.

  4. Hi Susan,
    When I read an article on the death of Hugh Hefner I though, Who cares? He has been “respected” for his role in the destruction of good male with female relationships. Yes, But both men and women participated to create his legacy, morally wrong as it is. We all have choices and a conscience. It’s what we feed that attains momentum and power in our lives. Are we feeding the craving for love or lust, the craving for respect or disrespecting ourselves? It took me decades to learn involvement in life sustaining activities is what keeps me balanced. In 1992 I gave my heart to Jesus Christ to be my Lord and Saviour! Once God has you, everything changes, Life is much more exciting living the way my Creator has designed for me to live.

  5. Carmine Pescatore

    Hefner was a hedonistic ponographer and had the skills to create a slick high class magazine. There were other magazines at the time that were just trash. These magazines have been around for years. I saw an article that showed covers from these magazines from the 1940’s and ’50’s. He created nothing new.

    1. Carmine, what he created new was respectability for pornography because his magazine was so slick and high class.

  6. Hi Susan. Not sure I have replied to any of your post but I’m a little different than your average listeners.
    I like to look at many sides of an action to best understand what it could be telling or showing us in the way that God had a purpose for them . In my way of thinking if you acknowledge someone for what they have done here on earth you have to respect that person for what ever he or she did; are don’t acknowledge them at all. To me this is disrespectful to shame anyone even Satan. Satan also has a mission here on earth put here by our Father in Heaven as the second Father of earth. Of course God being our First and only real Father. God did give us a choice to chose which Father we want to follow.
    My point is that Hugh had a mission here on earth and who is to say he did not complete his mission as God may have given him it. If Hugh was not saved than we all failed him. Some what all of our responsibility to one another as children of our Father in Heaven. Maybe we should shed a tear for our failure to save him but than if he was saved no tears should be shed. My main point is that without Satan and humans like Hugh God would not be able to find his good special sons and daughters. We are in his image like Him we also need to know which is our good and maybe not so good children for there will come a time that it will be important to know these things. Amen that’s my sermon for today.

  7. I never wish death on anyone, but HH is certainly no hero. The left’s pandering makes no sense in the mind of this Happy Warrior! The death of classical musician Zuzana Ruzickova on September 27th was a much larger loss to society. Thank you for speaking truth Susan.

    PS: Full disclosure, I had to look her up to realize how brilliant she was.

  8. Very thoughtful and true! I just watched the movie Hidden Figures, a true story about three black women, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson working at NASA as mathematicians as early as 1961 overcoming the racial and gender barrier . They used the positive self respect approach like Daphne Jackson. I am usually not impressed with movies, but this one was thoughtful and informative.

    1. Mary, this is on both my book and movie list. Like you, I don’t watch many movies, but you and others have turned this into an exception.

  9. When one thinks about the so-called problem of “social injustices” regarding equality of outcome (an Obama ideal) for any number of inequalities, one can’t help feeling and thinking that something must be done to solve those problems. In some cases, magazines were created to solve certain problems but some of those publications (like Gloria Steinem’s and the late Hugh Hefner’s) have only exacerbated human illnesses.

    The Bible, a source of great wisdom, is long forgotten.

    The recent race related talks are another example, the BLM or Black Lives Matter movement is mainly about police brutality against folks with darkened skin colors. But when one looks at what has been done for instance, in Dallas several police including black skinned police were shot dead by BLM protesters who’d attended a rally. Another police officer in Houston who was white, was shot several times from behind and died. He was murdered by a black man who claims to be insane, but his crime was committed shortly after he was told by the BLM to kill cops. The NFL protests do not serve to do anything except make people feel a certain feeling. There is no strategy involved to help anyone with anything in it. This protest movement is dividing many people who weren’t divided before, which is the opposite of the intent for doing it.

    Unfortunately, too many people like Gloria Steinem and the late Hugh Hefner had decided to try to normalize things that are not only not normal but they’re harmful to people and their families; and Steinem and the late Hefner were certainly not guided by the wisdom of the ages or the Bible and its history. The Bible contains history that highlights similar problems that humans face today, and that they will likely face in the future.

    Despite all of these problematic issues in our society, people can read your website and purchase good things from your store! We all benefit from your precious blessing of marriage to an excellent Torah teacher, Rabbi Daniel Lapin. Like Professor Daphne Jackson, you have chosen a the path with the ultimate good for human society and you’ve helped to create products with real solutions to the so-called problem of “social injustices.”

    Susan, I hope that your holiday experience is blessed with mucho goodness!

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