Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is putting a new spin on the election-year battles over contraception and abortion. For weeks, Democrats have accused Republicans of fighting a "war on women." But now, in an editorial in the May issue of Playboy, Hefner argues that what "repressed conservatives" are really trying to do is turn back the clock on our "hard-won sexual liberation" — waging an all-out "war against sex," from Rick Santorum's attacks on contraception to Mitt Romney's call for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Fair assessment or over-the-top caricature?
Hef found a brilliant way to frame GOP policies: Hefner has a point — "reproductive rights aren't just a woman's rights issue," says Elizabeth Nolan Brown at Blisstree. Men have a stake in keeping women's access to contraception and abortion affordable and legal, but many men will remain "magically disconnected" from the fight as long as we cast GOP policies as an assault only on women. If Hefner can convince men that Republican policies amount to "a 'war against sex,' maybe they'll tune in."
"In the 'war against sex,' Hugh Hefner is on our side"
Hefner is spouting nonsense: Republicans aren't fighting a war on sex, says Tim Graham at News Busters, any more than President Obama is waging a "war on God" by forcing Catholic employers to provide insurance covering birth control. The Left wants people to think opposing government-provided contraceptives is tantamount to "despising sex." That's "hyperbolic nonsense" — even a "lecherous 86-year-old pornography mogul" should know better.
"Lawrence O'Donnell hails Hugh Hefner as prophet of GOP 'war on sex'"
Hef is on target... but he should shut up: The message is right on, but the messenger — not so much, says Laura Donovan at The Jane Dough. "Hefner, a notorious girlfriend collector, is hardly one to preach about women's rights." How can he argue against GOP sexism while peddling a "nudie mag" that sends the sexist message that it's acceptable to objectify women? "Thanks, Hef, but we don't need you on our side."
"Girlfriend collector Hugh Hefner calls out GOP sexism"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- 10 things you need to know today: August 28, 2014
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
- When it comes to ISIS, our Congress is full of cowards
- What Ann Coulter and atheist Richard Dawkins have in common
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
Subscribe to the Week