Remembering the late great Helen Gurley Brown



A young Helen

What is it with this year and the deaths of so many special and influential people in my Life?  Yesterday the world lost a true original.  Helen Gurley Brown, who through her 30+ year tenure as Editor-In-Chief of “Cosmopolitan” magazine forged the way for women to freely accept and enjoy their sexuality, passed away at the NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.

Gurley Brown was always a high achiever.  She began her career at William Morris Agency, Music Corporation of America, and Jaffe talent agencies then went to work for Foote, Cone & Belding, an advertising agency, as a secretary.  When her boss recognized her writing talent, she was promoted to copywriter. (This story seems to be the inspiration for the Peggy character on Mad Men).  She first sprung on the celebrity writer scene with her groundbreaking “Sex and the Single Girl” in 1962.  While sex and singledom go hand-in-hand in 2012, the concept of women having sex outside of marriage was, while definitely happening, not readily discussed in proper society fifty years ago.  Although already married for to her beloved David, thus no longer single, her book of anecdotes, advice, and opinions, stuck a nerve in the hearts of both single and married women worldwide.  Three years after the booming success of her book, Helen was invited to take over the helm of the then struggling “Cosmopolitan”, which she made her own for 50 years.  Though replaced as the US Editor-In-Chief by Hearst Execs in 1997, she remained with the magazine till the say she died overseeing the foreigb editions.  (Cosmopolitan IS Helen Gurley Brown no matter who tries to play Editor-In-Chief!)

Helen was famous for her wit, coining such phrases as “Good girls go to heaven.  Bad girls go everywhere.”  She dedicated her Life to the fulfillment and upliftment of Women through a recognition of their sexual power.   But she also stressed work and self sufficiency, again, at a time when women were little more than maids and birthing machines.  So much of who I am today is because of reading Cosmo from the time I was 16.  We all, as Women, owe her a great debt.  I think I’ll renew my Cosmo subscription today in beloved Helen’s honor.

That Girl At the Party

I am a proud blogger/influencer of 16 years and founder of the Henley Content Lab for content creators from underserved communities, who are 45 and over. I am also the founder of Chateau Canna and Cannappetit. I am also an aunt to 12 and human to Bodhi and Yoko Rey.

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