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Hugh Hefner: The Dark Side of Us

In the wake of the founder of Playboy’s death, reactions run the gamut. Entrepreneur. Exploiter. Pioneer. Pagan. Genius. Reprobate.

But what does the rise of Hugh Hefner, his fame, his fortune, and his following tell us about ourselves? Hefner found something that appeals to our most human desires, told us not to be embarrassed about it, and then mass produced it to make money.

At the end of the day, it was us who made him rich. We bought his magazines, subscribed to his website, watched his TV show, and bought his hats and shirts with the cute little bunny ears on them. Of course I don’t mean all of us, but you get the point.

Playboy has left a trail of broken hearts and broken lives. Women who lived inside of the fantasy that Playboy offered have left painting the picture of a very different reality – manipulation, degradation, and dehumanization. Women who allowed themselves to be photographed nude when they were vulnerable and desperate later found that Hefner had purchased the photos and would be disseminating the images all over the world. No amount of begging or pleading would change his mind. Marriages and families have been part of the wreckage as well.

Hating Hugh Hefner is pointless. Honest reflection about what he stood for and the appeal that it held for us is not. Sex and desire are real. We don’t do anyone any favors by ignoring or demonizing them. It’s time to have an honest dialogue about something that is so core to who we are – the beauty of sex and desire, the ways they can be so easily perverted and distorted, the impact that they have on our sense of identity and worth, and the ways that they shape how we relate to each other as human beings.

I choose to believe that things are not too far gone. Through the power, love, mercy, and redemption of our Creator, we can take back what the Enemy has stolen. But it starts by acknowledging what is in our own hearts first. That is where the healing begins.

by Jeff Shaw, Founder of Out of Darkness

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