Helen Gurley Brown
Helen Gurley Brown (b. February 18, 1922 in Green Forest, Arkansas), is an American author, publisher, and businesswoman. She was editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years and is now heralded as one of the chief protagonists of Feminism in the Gender Equality in the United States of America of America.
Gurley Brown was raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. From 1939 to 1941 she attended Texas State College for Women and Woodbury Business College.
After first working in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency, she went to work for a prominent advertising agency as a secretary. Her employer recognized her writing skills and moved her to the copywriting department where she advanced rapidly to become one of the nation’s highest paid ad copywriters in the early 1960s. In 1959 she married David Brown who was producer of Jaws, The Sting, Cocoon, Driving Miss Daisy, and other motion pictures.
In 1962, at the age of 40, Brown authored the bestselling book Sex and the Single Girl. In 1965 she became editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan and reversed the fortunes of the failing magazine. During the decade of the 1960s she was an outspoken advocate of women’s sexual freedom and sought to provide them with role-models and a guide in her magazine. Brown claimed that women could have it all, “love, sex, and money.” Due to her advocacy, glamorous, fashion-focused women were sometimes called “Cosmo Girls.” Her work played a part in what is often called the sexual revolution.
In the mid 1990s Brown was made to leave her role as the US editor of Cosmopolitan and was replaced by Bonnie Fuller. However, Brown stayed on at Hearst publishing and remains the international editor for all 59 international editions of Cosmo.
- Sex and the Single Girl (1962)
- Lessons In Love – LP Record on How To Love A Girl & How To Love A Man (1963) Crescendo Records – GNP #604
- Sex and the Office (1965)
- Outrageous Opinions of Helen Gurley Brown (1967)
- Helen Gurley Brown’s Single Girl’s Cookbook (1969)
- Sex and the New Single Girl (1970)
- Having It All (1982)
- The Late Show: A Semi Wild but Practical Guide for Women Over 50 (1993)
- The Writer’s Rules: The Power of Positive Prose — How to Create It and Get It Published (1998)
- “Vanity Case” (2008) short story in The Sunday Times Jan 20th
In September, 2008, she was named the 13th most powerful American over the age of 80 by Slate Magazine.
In a 2009 biography of Ms. Brown, “Bad Girls Go Everywhere,” Jennifer Scanlon, a professor of gender and women’s studies at Bowdoin College, argues that Gurley Brown has been too easily dismissed, and should be considered as a pioneer of the American women’s movement, “one who dismayed more serious feminists with her breezy tone, her refusal to see men as the enemy and her belief that sex is not only great fun but also a “powerful weapon” for single women.”