"Feminist" by Alberto Vargas, 1970

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People are complicated, especially interesting figures like Hefner. This Vargas pinup and fictional article “Whores” illustrate Hefner’s complexity in regard to his Philosophy and the Women’s Movement. While Hefner supported the Women’s Movement, he still considered the male sex fundamentally different from the female sex and viewed the two as complementary to each other. Hefner confounds gender and sex and seems to retain outdated notions of gender roles, but Playboy’s foundation of masculine men attracting feminine women depended on this distinction. Hefner supported feminine feminists, but his magazine attacked feminists who sought to change understandings of gender. These selected items help represent the Philosophy in this regard.

Many second wave feminists would have cringed at the pinup’s exclamation that, “Sure I’m for the feminist movement. In fact, I’m pretty good at it,” since it largely diminishes important goals of the Women’s Movement by 1970. “Whores” is a fictional story about a group of promiscuous women who literally infest an office building, as if they are termites. The women basically move into an operating office and stay there by functioning as objects of temptation and having sex with some of the male workers. The female office workers are disgusted. The main male character is conflicted about whether or not he should get rid of the 'whores.' Throughout the story he weighs the annoyance of the 'whores' being there and affecting everyone’s productivity against having them there as intriguing sexual objects. By demeaning these women this way, this article is an example of slut shaming. Why would Playboy go against its core messages and seek to degrade women who are so sexually free? Because Hefner looked down on prostitutes and whores. He believed a playboy should never pay or exchange favors for sex (in this article they were exchanging living space for sex). The Philosophy dictates that playboys should be desirable and charming enough to simply attract women who want to have sex with them. While this is one interpretation of this article, it may simply be a fantasy, but the messages are clear.

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"Whores" by Robert Chatain, 1974

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Women's Liberation