Yesterday we lost an American icon for women’s rights and the sexual empowerment of women. Helen Gurley Brown died at age 90. Brown was the author of Sex and the Single Girl a brilliant book that encouraged women to become financially independent and to explore their sexual needs independent of the confines of marriage. She was also the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine–32 years at the helm.
Brown was a great influence in the “sexual revolution” and one of the first voices to tell women they could have it all–“sex, money, and love.” In 1982 she wrote, Having it All.
Upon hearing news of Brown’s death, New York Mayor Bloomberg offered:
Today New York City lost a pioneer who reshaped not only the entire media industry, but the nation’s culture. She was a role model for the millions of women whose private thoughts, wonders and dreams she addressed so brilliantly in print.
Some of my favorite quotes by Helen Gurley Brown are:
Beauty can’t amuse you, but brainwork—reading, writing, thinking—can…Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody…What you have to do is work with the raw material you have, namely you, and never let up…A man likes to sleep with a brainy girl. She’s a challenge. If he makes good with her, he figures he must be good himself…(and one of my absolute favorites) How could any woman not be a feminist? The girl I’m editing for wants to be known for herself. If that’s not a feminist message, I don’t know what is.
Helen Gurley Brown leaves an amazing legacy.