The Legacy of The Grandfather of Porn

 

On an impulse I pulled into a bar on the way home from work a few nights ago. The family was already in bed, it had been a long day at work, and unseasonably warm weather had me regretting an empty beer refrigerator in my garage.

The beer wasn’t as cold as I would have liked, the Red Sox were losing on TV and I didn’t know anybody there. Seeing no reason to stay I soon left, walking out behind a group of younger guys that had been playing pool and complaining about the lack of women that they’d found anyplace else that they had stopped that evening.

Frustrated with their failings at finding female companionship the guys decided that there was only one more place that they needed to go that night. It was time to head across the border to the nudie bar.

I smiled to myself, remembering a time when I would have done the same, frowned when I realized that this group might not have been born yet. There was a time when the closest bar to my apartment was an establishment of this type, a place where I was a frequent enough customer that when I was asked to cover the door for a month while the regular bouncer recovered from a broken hand, we didn’t have to do much more than switch seats.

I thought of those nights, countless others spent in other places of varying degrees of sleeziness, and realized that I couldn’t remember the last time I had ordered a drink and asked for my change in singles.

 

The King of Porn
pixabay.com

 

The fact that these places are able to operate and advertise so openly, the reason that I can make these admissions with only a small amount of shame, is largely due to the efforts of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, dead this week of natural causes at the age of 91. Since it’s first issue in 1953, Hefner and his magazine’s celebration of the female body transformed the previously taboo subject of sexuality into a revolution against traditional puritanical attitudes.

He was also a gross old man, one who considered women disposable assets to be collected and used, replaced when necessary. He offered wealth and career boosting exposure that only a small percentage of his Playmates ever achieved, trading sex for fancy clothes and parties with celebrities. A serial exploiter of young women who became a millionaire and cultural icon by building a global brand based on their objectification.

 

The King of Porn
es.wikipedia.org

 

Much has been written by people much smarter than me about the societal costs that this proliferation of pornography have come with, now available to anyone at anytime, requiring only an Internet connection and a smart phone. About it’s contributions to rape culture, “locker room talk”, and a generation of Brock Turners. The subscription to Mature Kingdom magazine that I bought my father as a gag gift on his fiftieth birthday and the bag of DVDs still hidden away somewhere in my closet an invitation to charges of hypocrisy if I tried.

It’s been just as long since those movies have been watched, parodies of Batman, The Munsters and The Dukes of Hazzard among others, all collecting dust under old Halloween costumes and clothes that I might one day fit into again.

There are many different reasons why this is, but to be honest, I think it’s mostly about my girls, especially the oldest, now eighteen. Whether on a stage or a screen, I can’t watch and not wonder about their story, the choices made that brought them down this road. I can’t separate the person from the body in front of me and I don’t understand how easy that used to be, how effortlessly I was able to dismiss them as anything other than dolls, mannequins dressed or undressed for my viewing pleasure.

It’s easy to explain why I can’t help but look at these women, these girls in most cases, and see somebody’s daughter, to explain why that group of young men might not. It’s harder to explain why it so often seems so difficult to look at them and just see that they are somebody, not just some body, and why everyone seems so quick to want to make a hero of a man who lived his life like that.

 

 

 

18 thoughts on “The Legacy of The Grandfather of Porn”

  1. ” I can’t separate the person from the body in front of me…”

    Legit writing, man. Great thoughts here. Keep getting after it. I’ll read anything you write.

  2. Very honest. It does all change once you have a daughter of your own because all of them are someone’s daughters. I don’t know how much Playboy “freed us”. But it sure took the objectification of women out of the closet into the mainstream.

    1. I think it took the conversation out of the dark and allowed people to talk more open and honestly about sexuality. I’m not convinced that it was worth the cost however

  3. I read a couple of articles about Heffner that really praised him and his role in bringing things out in the open. Other’s have noted the problems that arose because of it.
    I suppose it depends on view and what you focus on.
    Not so sure.

  4. I almost didn’t read this, as it’s a subject I find very uncomfortable. But it’s heartening to see the maturation of your attitude…I just wish all men made that transition. Or that they were born with that ability to see a real person in the first place.
    #anythinggoes

    1. it would be a lot easier if we started teaching that right from the start, wouldn’t it. Thanks for taking the leap Sadie, and I hope you weren’t too uncomfortable with the read

    1. a lot has been said about this subject in the week since this was written. Hopefully some good will come of the conversation

  5. Another great piece.
    There have been so many things written about Hefner in recent weeks it is difficult to know what to believe but this summarizes both sides so well.

    Stopping by from #anythinggoes

    1. I don’t always succeed, but I try and be fair and look at multiple sides of things. Thanks for reading and the kind words

  6. Funny how our perceptions change as we grow up and I totally get why it’s even more so once you have a daughter in this particular case
    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes 🙂
    Debbie

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