What was Hugh Hefner's impact in New Zealand?

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner surrounded by three of his most famous girlfriends.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner surrounded by three of his most famous girlfriends.

American Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has died at age 91. He died peacefully at his home in Los Angeles, his son said in a statement.

While Hefner described himself as a feminist, others, including Gloria Steinem, who went undercover in his New York Playboy Club, says he exploited and objectified women. 

Playboy magazine was founded more than 60 years ago to create a niche upscale men's magazine, combining images of nude women with in-depth articles and interviews.

From the first issue in 1953, the pyjama-clad sybarite, fuelled by amphetamines, Pepsi-Cola, and his ever-present pipe, sought to overturn what he considered the puritanical moral code of Middle America.

The magazine was shocking at the time, but it quickly found a large and receptive audience and was a principal force behind the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

The umbrella organisation of Playboy Enterprises grew to include television shows, jazz festivals, book publishing and an international chain of clubs, where cocktail waitresses, known as bunnies, wore revealing satin outfits with fluffy white tails.

"As much as anyone, Hugh Hefner turned the world on to sex," Matt Schudel wrote in Hefner's obituary. "As the visionary editor who created Playboy magazine out of sheer will and his own fevered dreams, he introduced nudity and sexuality to the cultural mainstream of America and the world."

What we want to know is, did Hefner and Playboy's role in the sexual revolution help liberate New Zealanders? Or did it take advantage of women and degrade public morality? Is his legacy one of empowerment, or exploitation?

We're looking for submissions of 300 words or more so if you're interested please click the big button to get started. App users: email

 - Stuff Nation

Ad Feedback
special offers