With as much controversy that surrounds women and sex
these days, one can only imagine the response to such a topic in the early 1960s. But it was a topic that one woman was not at all afraid to talk about – and about which to spread the word.
Helen Gurley Brown, long-time editor of Cosmopolitan
magazine, paved the way for open discussion about women and sex . . . and as the New York Times puts it, “shocked early-1960s America with the news that unmarried women not only had sex but also thoroughly enjoyed it” with her book, Sex and the Single Girl
It’s just one of the many things she will be remembered for. Helen Gurley Brown passed away this morning, at the age of 90.
Not everyone agreed with Brown’s take on American women, sexuality, and women’s attitudes toward themselves and men. She was widely criticized for her defense of Justice Clarence Thomas and Senator Robert Packwood, who both faced charges of sexual harassment. She purported that such sexual attention from men “is almost always flattering.” At one point, a group of feminist women even held a sit-in in Ms. Brown’s office.
But her popularity and “progressive” approach
could not be denied. When Brown took the helm of Cosmopolitan
, the magazine had a mere 800,000 circulation. At its peak in the 80s, those numbers neared 3 million.
Whether or not Brown was a feminist herself, as she often proclaimed, there is certainly something to be said for the advancements she spurred
in the history of American women. Advancements that will forever change the landscape of our past and present . . . potentially even our future.Cited Sources
Fox, Margalit. "Helen Gurley Brown, Who Gave Cosmopolitan Its Purr, Dies at 90." NYTimes.com
. The New York Times, 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 13 Aug. 2012. <http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/business/media/helen-gurley-brown-who-gave-cosmopolitan-its-purr-is-dead-at-90.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&hp>.