How do I feel about Hugh Hefner? Is he an exploiter of women in a shady industry or he is an entrepreneur who empowers our gender? Is he misogynist or mogul? I believe that Hef understands how men tick and what they want. He understands that one of the most basic commodities that sells is SEX. Playboy has become such an institution and household name that it seems normal to hear it in everyday conversation. The brand name has even become an adjective in our common vocabulary - a man who is lives the life of a Lothario.
Hugh Hefner put every penny of his own money into starting Playboy magazine back in the early 1950's, after the devastating end of his first marriage where it was revealed that his ex-wife had committed adultery. This hurtful time propelled Hefner to become the "bon-vivant", "man about town" type of personality. His cathartic revenge of sorts was a way for Hef to promote the lifestyle of Playboy magazine, not just the publication itself.
Does Hef love women or were they just boobs and bum to the sex mogul? I think both. Gloria Steinem would be the first to have the opportunity to shut down the Playboy empire. But I think that we make our own destinies. If those bunnies thought that they could be more powerful women in society by being associated with Hefner's industries, then they worked at achieving that. If randy men want to look at the magazines or frequent the clubs, then they must live with whatever consequences will arise from those actions.
I think it's simple. Men will always whistle at women walking by. (Straight) men will always want to look at naked women. Boys will be boys and Hef understands that and makes no excuses for that. You can agree or disagree. One cannot deny the fact that Hugh Hefner has left an indelible mark as an expert in the way that SEX sells in our society.