When Helen Gurley Brown passed away earlier this week at the age of 90, female journalists and writers came out en masse to laud Brown for her contributions to the sexual liberation of women and heralded her a feminist icon.
It’s true that Brown’s incredible 32-year reign at Cosmopolitan marked a sea change for women’s publications, offering a fresh, sexually liberated image of women “having it all” (which in Brown’s world meant sex, money and power). Brown wanted women to harness their femininity to get ahead, and many took to her female-forward, pro-sex message. But let’s not pretend Helen Gurley Brown’s “stiletto feminism” — to borrow a phrase from Washington Post writer Kathleen Parker — wasn’t also problematic. Keep reading »
Rivulets of mascara are streaming from big, false lashed-eyes everywhere: yesterday legendary Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown died in New York City at age 90.
It is not an exaggeration to say that Brown’s influence as a feminist and sex-positive editor of a major women’s magazine has left an indelible imprint on our popular culture, including on ladyblogs like The Frisky. (Yes, even though some of those Cosmo sex tips are dopey.) She may not have always gotten the respect she deserved in her lifetime — and there will no doubt be Cosmo detractors upon her death — but I would like to share with you some facts from this incredible woman’s life. In fact, she was declared a living legend by the New York Landmarks Conservancy!
Helen Gurley Brown is an editor, writer and woman whom I truly look up to for her ball-busting ways … here’s why.
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The most famous editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen Gurley Brown, has died at the age of 90, according to a press release from Hearst. The controversial editor, who was also the author of the groundbreaking Sex and the Single Girl, passed away at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia after a short hospitalization. Brown was in charge of Cosmo for 32 years, and is credited with the mag’s sexually frank tone. She made news earlier this year when she donated $30 million to Columbia’s School of Journalism and Stanford’s School of Engineering. [The Wrap]
What can we say about Cosmopolitan today that wasn’t true about Cosmopolitan in the past? According to the very first commercial that promoted the magazine brand in the UK, not much.
The 1972 commercial, unearthed by Copyranter, features a number of women talking to men. Specifically, the men are asking women how they managed to pull off things like affording nice cars and cooking delicious meals (things women totally couldn’t do at all in the 70s, or something), and the women respond with a page from Cosmpolitan. Then a male announcer says that women can learn all sorts of things from Cosmopolitan. Things about men. Read more and watch the video here…
Dakota Fanning’s Cosmopolitan cover raised some eyebrows because the “Twilight” actress is 17-years-old and we all know your hymen magically becomes open for business at midnight on your 18th birthday. Presumably, Cosmo‘s ad sales department knew this fact, which is why it sent out a sample mock-up cover to advertisers scrubbed of all the naughty stuff. The sample mock-up cover (at left) received by the NY Observer newspaper promises articles on “Spring Clothes, Hair, Nails” and how to “Feel Close After A Fight.” The actual cover (at right)? Sex! Vaginas! More sex! I guess the articled entitled “Um, Vagina, Are You Okay Down There?” wasn’t deemed advertiser-friendly. I can’t imagine why. [New York Observer] Keep reading »
Imagine, if you will, a world in which Cosmopolitan magazine is covered in a non-transparent wrapper and only available to readers ages 18 and over. If you want to read a “Sexy Vs. Skanky” charticles about how purple nipples are out but purple nail polish is in, you need to show some ID.
This is the world model Nicole Weider is trying to inhabit with her crusade, Project Anti-Cosmo. The ex-model, who became disillusioned with the world of modeling, now seeks to rid the world of “pornographic” content one drugstore magazine at a time. “As a former reader of the magazine, I happened to pick up an issue [of Cosmo] and was reading it and was completely shocked at how pornographic and explicit the content had become,” Weider huffed to Fox News. “I immediately thought of my young teenage brothers and it horrified me to think that they and their friends could be reading this material, and the damage it would do to them if they did. So I decided to do something about it.” Her young brothers are reading Cosmo, what what what? Also, HAHAHAHAHA.
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