top of page

Hugh Hefner, Basic Playboy or Philanthropist?

Hugh Hefner

Hugh Hefner was an American publisher and entrepreneur, who in 1953 released the first issue of Playboy, at the young age of 27. Prior to his Playboy antics he served in the US army and attended the University of Illinois.


Established in 1953, Playboy was a men's magazine which caused a major shift to the sexual revolution in the 60's.

Playboy was known for its intellectual articles and sophisticated nudity, showcasing beautiful and desired women.

Many famous women have been featured in Playboy, including Marylin Monroe, Pamela Anderson, Cindy Crawford, and Kim Kardashian.

Playboy provided a healthy approach to women expressing their sexuality, the content was designed to give the reader freedom to explore their own desires, specifically sexual interests. Although it was creatively captivating having a sexual presence, readers have stated that the content inside was successful alone.

Playboy was successful for many years, it was the head of the magazine industry, 22 years after its first initial release was still at the highest global circulation, with an average 5.6 million copies sold. However eventually the sexual revolution was over, and Playboy started to see a decline in sales. Playboys' daring and provocative message was no longer discriminated against as other magazines such as Penthouse began to enter the market.

Pamela Anderson

Pamela Anderson first posed for Playboy in 1989, she was approached by Playboys team after being spotted at a baseball game where she became the face of "Labatt beer".

Pamela posed for playboy 14 times throughout her career and went on to have a somewhat successful acting careers, featuring in Baywatch and home improvement.

In 1995 Pamela married Mötley Crüe member Tommy Lee and in 1996 had a stolen sex tape released to the public. Unfortunately for Pamela her appearances in Playboy would come to restrict the respect she received when she challenged Penthouse during the release of still images from the sex tape.

Playboy 2022

In 2020 playboy released its last print form magazine amidst the coronavirus pandemic and has entered the digital era.

Playboy has 9.8 Million followers on Instagram show casing various old and new pieces including advertising their clothing brand, it gives links in order to download this months issue of Playboy and due to Instagram guide lines has sensitive parts blurred out.

Playboy online has also started showcasing men on the Platform, mainly featuring Playboy's centrefold founding creator, and men wearing Playboy clothing.

Playboy's saved stories have a specific heading called learn and support, that showcase topics such as the black lives matter movement, protesting safely during a pandemic, and policies to support. Other saved stories include free speech, on expression and Playboy live.

Throughout the years playboy has developed its image and content but the notion and reputation of Playboy has stayed the same. Many believed that after Hefners death in 2017 that they may begin to see a shift in the image of playboy after the removal of the nude content, but after only a year they brought it back.

Self Image

Although Playboy claimed to promote the self-love of women and have a massive impact on the socialisation of how women are viewed, it had a detrimental effect on how specific women viewed themselves. It normalised the sexual objectification of women, backing into the notion that women are objects.

Playboy also created a divide between the women of Playboy and the people who were not. In addition to celebrity representation, it also included other women with the high sexual standard, the diversity was ignored and the acceptance of disabilities, race and social standing where not represented within the articles.

Hefner the Philanthropist

Hefner was a supporter from the early stages of the Civil Rights movement and an advocate for the LGBT community, he included many at the time controversial topics throughout Playboy's run and many believed that Hefner did some good throughout his life. Nonetheless, Playboy was Hefner's creation, he supported the belief that women where objects and he treated them accordingly to his beliefs, he claimed that women are nothing more than service for men's desires, ridiculing women to nothing more than a picture on a centre fold.


bottom of page