Why Hugh Hefner's Death Shouldn't Matter

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Her Campus or Her Campus at VCU.

All anyone could see on Twitter and Instagram the night of Hugh Hefner’s death were variations of “RIP to a legend.” From people in my college classes, to people from high school, to celebrities, it seemed as everyone was jumping on the bandwagon by posting their messages about Hefner. I was actually surprised that so many people cared.

Hefner was known to the world as the man who founded Playboy Magazine and represented sexual freedom. Hefner would say that his vision aided in liberating women and empowering them, however, that really wasn’t the case. If anything, he objectified women and made the exploitation of women popular. He got rich by selling magazines full of naked women. He did this all while fooling the world by saying it was classy.

The girls in the magazines were all beautiful no doubt, with silicone boobs and perfect bodies. It gave men the idea that women should all look like playboy bunnies -- but real women don’t actually look like that.

Even though the magazine lowkey hurt girls’ self confidence all over the country, some of our favorite celebrities still posed for the racy centerfolds. The playboy bunny symbol was also everywhere, from Myspace layouts to necklaces being sold at stores. We all even tuned into E!, watching “The Girls Next Door.” We were all fascinated at what life at the famous playboy bunny mansion was like. It looked glamorous and fun. The TV show also made it look like a dream life to some people. After all, who wouldn’t want to live in a mansion and attend all those extravagant parties that Hefner threw?

After years of what seemed like a glam life, some of the bunnies began speaking out about what really went down at the mansion. Holly Madison, Hefner’s former number one girlfriend, even wrote a book called “Down The Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny.”

In the book Madison revealed that she was emotionally and verbally abused by Hefner. She felt like she had sold herself out and that she was trapped. Hefner had many rules for the girls, including a strict 9 p.m. curfew and no visits from boys. That's odd to hear when Hefner was all about having sexual freedom? If he really were, he would have allowed these bunnies to date other people too. After all, he had many girlfriends himself. 

The bunnies were also expected to join his sex parties. If the girls kept their underwear on during one of his bedroom parties, it meant they didn't want to partake in the activities. That didn't work out though, because Hefner and the other bunnies who had been there longer would basically shame girls into taking them off. Madison said that Hefner once even offered quaaludes, which he said were called "thigh openers" back in his day.

It's also odd how people are still glorifying a man like him, when just a couple years ago, they were shaming Bill Cosby for giving them to his victims? Madison said she saw Hefner give bunnies drugs at clubs and before bedroom encounters for years. This old man who preys on young women is somehow praised still? 

Maybe Hefner did make sexiness more mainstream and also changed the journalistic world (like how his magazines challenged obscenity). However, let's not forget that those bunnies he made millions off of, were actually living miserably underneath his roof. Despite the glam and fun people believe are at the heart of the playboy bunnies, it seems that all the money and bedazzled things in the world won't satisfy a bunny more than self-worth can. 

Photo credits: Cover image/1