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Parents' Guide to

American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story

By Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Interesting tale of iconic magazine's rise has nudity.

American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story Poster Image

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This compelling series offers an interesting account of how Hugh Hefner's DIY business grew into an international enterprise thanks to his business savvy and understanding of popular culture. His work is contextualized as a successful attempt at redefining masculinity in the magazine industry. It also reveals how Playboy, which constantly tried to challenge the status quo, has historically sought to address serious social issues, including racial discrimination, the Vietnam conflict, and womens reproductive rights.

However, American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story celebrates the fact that much of Playboy's success, and the controversies surrounding it, is due to how Hefner positioned women in a male, heterosexual world. Some of the more interesting archived footage is eclipsed by the images of the magazine's celebrated centerfolds, as well as the dramatic reenactment of Hefner's life. All of this is offered in context but makes it more entertaining than informative. Nonetheless, adults interested in the topic will find it worth watching.

TV Details

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