She was hired in 1965 to turn around the Hearst owned Cosmopolitan Magazine and she did so in rather short order.
She said at the outset that her aim was to tell a reader "how to get everything out of life -- the money, recognition, success, men, prestige, authority, dignity -- whatever she is looking at through the glass her nose is pressed against."Helen Gurley Brown was in reality the public face to the beginning of women being empowered and in telling women to use what you have to get what you want which was unheard of for women and something only men were encouraged to do because it was a man's world. Unlike militant feminists Helen Gurley Brown championed women from the everyday housewife to those trying to climb the Corporate ladder or break the glass ceiling that limited women. Helen Gurley Brown was a giant pain in the ass to militant feminists primarily because she realized militant feminists were limited in their views on women and after all most of us do like men.
I had the fortune to meet Helen Gurley Brown twice during my life. Once when I was 24 in NYC in late 1971, at a party and in the late 80's, in the Southampton, at a friend's party. She found it interesting what I did for a living and I found her interesting when she asked how I handled being a woman who was the boss of men in a male dominated world. Well I learned wearing a miniskirt to work did not quite work when the elevators on the job site were basically open to the world. The one thing she said that I remember was "do not limit yourself" and I always took that to heart over the years.
When we met the second time I was recently married and she said "nice catch" which was odd until I realized it was a compliment. He was a good catch because we were in love and for most women that kind of relationship is very fulfilling.
The funny thing is you never think about your life as it passes if you are living it to the fullest. That is what Helen Gurley Brown wanted for women and in some ways she succeeded. A woman should be able to live her life as she wants to and not be told how to life her life by men or worse yet militant feminists that have little clue about the lives most women want. Helen Gurley Brown helped make it possible for a woman to have a family and a career while being successful at both.
Leading as good a life as you can is or should be the goal for all of us whether male or female or even born transsexual or even transgender. The problem is militant feminists wanted to tell women how to live their lives based on their myopic and sadly very oddly skewed views of life and society as a whole. They spoke for a very small but loud minority while Helen Gurley Brown spoke for the vast silent majority that wanted change but cherished their mainstream lives as women. mothers, wives, and workers or professional women. She made it okay to be both.
Helen Gurley Brown made it okay for women to openly look at men as sex objects which shocked the male dominated world but just brought to the front what every girl and woman attracted to men already knew. Some men are just so sexy they are yummy to look at and that is our right. She made it okay to use our sexuality in a positive way and actually awakened men to the simple fact we kind of like orgasms ourselves. Sex can it should be fun for us also. A novel idea in 1962 actually.
In her own way Helen Gurley Brown led the revolution that enlightened women and enabled woman to be the person they wanted to be whether that was a wife and a mother or a professional. Just be the best woman you can be. Helen Gurley Brown was in touch with the essence of most women which is that innate desire to have a family but also to be taken seriously if working.
A true feminist empowers all women to live the life she wants and does not tell them they "must" do this and "believe" that because someone says so. It was and is up to every single one of us to be the best women we can be. That kind of flies in the face of the militant feminist movement but then Helen Gurley Brown was never fooled by their myopic view of women. We are diverse and we each have our own dreams and desires and because someone is opposed to it on militant feminist grounds does not make it wrong if it is right for the particular woman.
A feminist voice of reason died today and my world is a little sadder.