A Review Of Hugh Hefner's Influence On Society

Submitted By Thermonator1
Words: 2207
Pages: 9


Thermon V. Ratliff Jr
DeVry University
English 132
Ms. Snyder
June 16, 2011

No matter where in the modern world you go, there is one name that embodies sexual expression regardless of language or culture. The Playboy name is a part of almost every culture existing on our planet today. Playboy magazine’s CEO and founder Hugh Hefner has produced a documentary exploring not only Playboy’s history, but also gives an in-depth look at his personal life too. By examining Hefner’s documentary, focusing on the social, political, and ethical views that he strongly believes in, I hope to shed light on this amazing man’s influence on our society. The Playboy Empire is probably his most well known accolade, but in my opinion, his effect on our society’s way of thinking about politics, woman’s rights, and racial equality will have an everlasting effect on our moral conscience. (Berman, 2009) Hugh Hefner was raised in a very conservative puritan household. His parents views on sex and sexuality followed that puritan ideal to the letter. During his childhood love and affection was not expressed openly in his family, which had a major influence on his views of love and sex later in life. In order to cope with the lack of love and affection he created his own fantasies and worlds were love flowed freely. The profound effect this would have on is attitudes towards how sex was viewed would be astounding. (Berman, 2009) Hefner was born on April 9, 1926 in the city of Chicago. His parents, Glenn and Grace Hefner, descended from very strict puritans from Massachusetts. He attends Sayre Elementary and then went on to Steinmetz High School. Throughout is early academic career, he was considered to be an average student, not really excelling in anything. Little did everyone know that he had an IQ of 152. (Berman, 2009) Hefner states that he enjoyed last two years in high school and that they were the happiest years of his youth at this time. He wrote editorial for the school newspaper, and cartoons that reflected his attitudes about social issues. By having an outlet to express himself, Hefner was able to explore his feelings about sex and the taboo’s that society had placed on sexuality. He continued to write about serious issues on into his college years at Northwestern University. It was at this time that Hefner wrote the paper “Sex Behavior and the US Law.” In this paper Hefner examined the sexual laws on the books at that time and the punishments for sexual offenses. He concluded that if all states followed the letter of the law that an overwhelming majority of US citizens would be in jail. This paper set Hefner’s tone about sex and how society viewed it. (Berman, 2009) One thing seemed to bother Hugh Hefner more and more during this time of his life. The way sex was viewed during this time was conservative…extremely conservative. The government, organized religion, and even the US Postal Service took a ridged stance about sexuality, nudity, and the portrayal of both. Hefner eventually got married and took a job as the circulation manager of a children’s magazine. It was during this time that he took a very hard look at his life and the path that it had taken. He wondered if he was doom to have the exact same life as his parents, with that same conservative, puritan, attitude and lack of open affection. (Szklarski, n.d.) Bottom of Form Hefner married a classmate, Mildred Williams in June 1949, ms, During their marriage of ten years they were blessed with 2 children. Still not knowing what direction in life he wanted to go, Hefner tried many different occupations such as cartooning. Failing to sell any of his ideas for a cartoon strip, he published a book of satirical cartoons about Chicago titled "That Toddlin' Town." (Berman, 2009)
In 1949, Hefner then