I sat watching this last night and I was struck for the umpteenth time with how much I admire Hugh Hefner. That is probably a very strange thing coming from a woman who has never entertained the idea of posing in a magazine such as Playboy, even if I had the physique for it.
I was also struck with how silly the feminist movement could be in the 60s, even up to the present day. Playboy is seen as a magazine that degrades women because there are nude photos and an objectification element. The perception of Hef's philosophy is frequently skewed as well. Yes, he enjoys women. Yes, he advocates nudity. He maintains that it was never about degrading women, and that much is quite obvious. The entire tone of Playboy has been one of respect and empowerment, and when Hugh Hefner's daughter took over operation of the magazine, it was that much more evident.
Playboy has maintained an image of class over the years. It's never been raunchy, just honest. The dirty jokes have always been tasteful, the nudes artistic, and the politics, reviews, and showcases have all been cutting edge and/or of high quality. When contrasted with magazines like Hustler, the difference is stark and obvious.
Hef wanted to show discriminating tastes without discrimination and to present the world with a forum for views that weren't necessarily the popular ones at the time. The documentary, Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel is a piece that attempts to show Hef in an objective light.
They seemed to have succeeded in that. It has a balance of positive information and interviews as well as highlights on negative press. Overall, it is an excellent documentary (even if I hardly learned anything new). If you like Playboy Magazine, it's worth a watch. If you admire Hef's lifestyle, it's worth a watch. If, like me, you like what he's done for society with his media forum (as well as the other two things), then definitely have a look at it.
Hugh Hefner will remain a positive influences of my life. I'm unaware of another man quite as influential on popular culture in the 20th Century with such positive goals -- working toward furthering civil rights, tolerance, opening of dialogues, helping people realize sex isn't bad, and letting women know that they can be beautiful sex objects while being intelligent, equal persons at the same time.