Hugh Hefner, Playboy, Is Increasingly The Odd Man Out

Illustration for article titled Hugh Hefner, Playboy, Is Increasingly The Odd Man Out

You might have heard that two of Hugh Hefner's "girlfriends" fled his desiccated embrace recently — Holly Madison for a no doubt more prudent and stable union with magician Criss Angel, and Kendra Wilkinson for erstwhile Skype-sex partner Hank Baskett (it's "way better than phone sex," she says). But as Hef's "sexual roster" declines, so do the fortunes of Playboy Enterprises, at least according to an article by Guy Adams in yesterday's Independent. Apparently Hef has now been reduced to selling invitations to his famous parties (you can snag an invite to the Halloween bash for $10k), and his business lost $2.1m last quarter. This raises two questions: is it possible to feel bad for Hugh Hefner? And who will take his place?Adams points out that Playboy magazine, with its "pictures of scantily clad, identikit blondes" (complete, if memory serves, with unnaturally round, high, shiny breasts, landing strip pubes, and weird occupational costumes), is now behind the times. Where once it interviewed Bob Dylan and Jean-Paul Sartre, it now lands such luminaries as Pete Wentz and Kevin Connolly. And at just 132 pages, it's a lightweight. Vogue could kick sand on it at the beach. Attractive, much-younger women have long been willing to play by Hef's rules — including a 9 p.m. curfew, and monogamy for them but not for him — because of what former girlfriend Izabella St. James calls "the glamour and glitz and the attraction of Hef and this life in Hollywood." If the glitz fades, will Hugh still be able to fill his revolving bed? Will someone else (Dov Charney? Joe Francis?) rise up to fill his slippers? Or is his whole breed, the celebrity pornography-polygamist, now passe? We hope so, but Joan Smith, writing in today's Guardian, fears otherwise. She sees The House Bunny, with its portrayals of a fatherly Hef and fun Bunny shopping sprees, as a sign that women have accepted "the bunny girl image" as something "benign, and even cool." Other evidence includes the Playboy logo on pencil cases, jewelry, and slippers. To girls who want to dress like Bunnies (like teenage Dodai!), Smith offers a reminder of Bunny life in the 60s. Women at Playboy clubs of that era had to conform to a variety of stringent male-imposed standards, like wearing the right shade of lipstick and spouting the right amount of small talk — all for very little pay. Young women may want to take up the mantle of Hef themselves — Female Chauvinist Pigs-style — but Smith warns that the Playboy magnate is little more than "an 82-year-old polygynist whose chief claim to fame is dressing up adult women as rabbits" and "young women shouldn't fall for it." Is the party over for Playboy? [Independent] The problem with Playboy [Guardian]

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But his company is run by a woman, so it's feminist, right?

She chose her choice!