Yes, Hugh Hefner was a pioneer -- in the objectification of women and the lie of the Playboy lifestyle

While many in the press are hailing Hugh Hefner as a pioneer in his day — championing abortion rights and breaking the shackles of an oppressive sexual culture — the man represented a lifestyle and business that was in no way, shape, or form helpful to women.  

It is no surprise celebrities are tripping over themselves to praise the man who gave them a platform to become famous for stripping down to nothing. He will be buried next to Marilyn Monroe, the woman whose nude photograph he published in his first issue of Playboy. 

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner (2nd L) and his three girlfriends Holly Madison (L), Bridget Marquardt (2nd R) and Kendra Wilkinson (R) arrive at the E! Entertainment television summer splash party at the Tropicana bar at the Roosevelt hotel in Hollywood.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner (2nd L) and his three girlfriends Holly Madison (L), Bridget Marquardt (2nd R) and Kendra Wilkinson (R) arrive at the E! Entertainment television summer splash party at the Tropicana bar at the Roosevelt hotel in Hollywood.  (Reuters)

Hefner indeed was a pioneer. He was the force behind the mainstream objectification of women, someone who paid them to take their clothes off and convinced them it was empowering to do so, using the same arguments pornographers use for the same goals.  

In 2013 traffic to porn sites received more traffic than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.

The harmful effects of pornography are no longer secret. Pornography is violent and has been proven to lead to aggression against women — no surprise since the vast majority of the victims of violence in pornography are women. 

In this May 14, 1999 file photo, Playboy founder and editor in chief Hugh Hefner receives kisses from Playboy playmates during the 52nd Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.

In this May 14, 1999 file photo, Playboy founder and editor in chief Hugh Hefner receives kisses from Playboy playmates during the 52nd Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France.  (AP)

Porn is everywhere and easily accessible which is different from the days when boys hid coveted copies of Hefner’s magazine under their beds. An astounding 90 percent of boys and 60 percent of girls have been exposed in some way to pornography before they turn 18. Over half of men look at porn frequently and, sadly, 50 percent of religious men say they are addicted to pornography. 

In 2013 traffic to porn sites received more traffic than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined.  According to WebRoot, porn increased marital infidelity by 300 percent, and a study published in Science magazine showed a direct correlation between consuming porn in marriage and a higher divorce rate. Hefner said he never cheated while married, but he confessed that “I had a lot of girlfriends, but it's not the same as cheating.” And the breakdown of the American family continues. 

Hugh Hefner and Playboy Playmate Crystal Harris, arrive at the opening night gala of the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival featuring a screening of a restoration of 'An American In Paris' in Hollywood, California April 28, 2011.

FILE -- Hugh Hefner and Playboy Playmate Crystal Harris, arrive at the opening night gala of the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival featuring a screening of a restoration of 'An American In Paris' in Hollywood, California April 28, 2011.  (Reuters)

Holly Madison, who lived in the Playboy Mansion, starred in a television show about her time there and was Hefner’s #1 girlfriend for a time, reveals she contemplated suicide while she lived with Hefner and his girlfriends. The glamourous life was a total lie.  

Holly was only one of the many women who bought into Hefner’s lies and suffered the consequences of being bought and paid for.  

FILE - This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises, Hugh Hefner at his home at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif. Playboy magazine founder and sexual revolution symbol Hefner has died at age 91. The magazine released a statement saying Hefner died at his home of natural causes on Wednesday night, Sept. 27, 2017, surrounded by family.  (AP Photo/Kristian Dowling, File)

This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows American magazine publisher, founder and Chief Creative Officer of Playboy Enterprises, Hugh Hefner at his home at the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, Calif.  (AP Photo/Kristian Dowling)

While I never met Hefner myself, it is beyond my ability to comprehend how Hollywood views a man who walked around in pajamas all day, paid women for sex, brought the objectification of women into the mainstream culture, and became wealthy by creating a magazine for lonely men as some kind of a hero. 

Girls, please. We deserve better than this.  

Penny Young Nance is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest women’s public policy organization. She is the author of the book "Feisty and Feminine: A Rallying Cry for Conservative Women" (Zondervan 2016).