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The Life And Legacy Of Hugh Hefner

When Hugh Hefner passed away last week, he left a complicated yet fascinating legacy behind. The 91-year-old died at his California home, the Playboy Mansion, of natural causes on Wednesday. He will be remembered for founding the iconic Playboy Magazine, but the way he’ll be remembered may vary throughout society.

Playboy Early Days

Hugh Hefner reportedly had a 152 IQ during his school days, which led to him founding his first publication – the school newspaper. After serving two years in the United States Army, Hefner obtained a bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Only a couple years later, Hefner landed at job writing for Esquire Magazine. He decided to leave the publication after he was denied a raise. His next move was to fund his very own magazine.

Using less than $10,000 raised from investors, Hefner developed Playboy Magazine. The first issue instantly made Playboy a household name because it featured a nude photograph of Marilyn Monroe. The publication took off during the free-love era of the 1960s and 1970s. Playboy remained more than relevant over the course of the next four decades, featuring a plethora of models and celebrities posing for the magazine. The reality show, Girls Next Door, saw a re-birth of fame for Hefner. The 2005-2010 television program helped reel in the younger generation that previously turned its back on printed publications.

Hefner’s Complicated Legacy

Hugh Hefner is the true definition of a playboy. Many envious fans believed Hefner was living ‘the American dream’ surrounded by beautiful women at all times. But others have criticized Hefner’s lifetime of work in the industry, saying it was more pornography than journalism. Critics say Hefner brought porn to the masses and mitigated women into merely objects. While his publication brought pleasure to both men and women at times, it did unfortunately put the genders into stereotypical boxes. Men are pigs and women exist only for men’s pleasure. Others view Hefner simply as a pioneer of journalism though, breaking ground on a previously untapped sector of pop culture.