The American who built an empire by taking sex out of the shadows and placing it into the spotlight is dead. The passing of Hugh Hefner hours before Pluto stations direct marks the end of an era, not only for Playboy, but for the way sex has been portrayed in the media since the magazine was first published in 1953.
Pluto, mythologically linked to Hades, lord of the underworld, is associated with sex, power, and obsession, and in the sign of Capricorn Pluto means big business. Hefner certainly became powerful by making sex into an industry. Ironically, it all began with a $1000 loan from his mother.
Though it eventually became an international brand, you could say that Playboy is as American as apple pie, only what’s been served decade after decade is the objectification of women’s bodies, feeding a patriarchical obsession with female genitals and capitalizing on the culture’s fascination with taboo.
Hands down, the magazine’s single distinguishing feature has tempted readers to lay down hard cash for the pleasure of discovering a titillating digitally-altered image of a solitary naked woman hidden deep within its folds, begging to be enjoyed. If that isn’t Pluto at work, I don’t know what is!
Thursday, as Pluto stations direct at 16 degrees 51′ Capricorn, we contemplate its Sabian symbol, A Repressed Woman Finds A Psychological Release In Nudism, through the limited consciousness of the deceased. May his death bring a welcome end to the wholesale cultural commodification of women and make room for a more nuanced appreciation and understanding of the power of the feminine.