Helen Gurley Brown, the woman who gave Cosmopolitan magazine its cheeky, outspoken voice has sadly passed away at the age of 90.
The New York Times reports that Helen died yesterday in Manhattan after a short illness, and The Heart Corporation (Cosmopolitan’s publisher) said in a statement that she passed away at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital after a brief stay there.
Helen was Cosmopolitan’s editor from 1965 until 1997 and she was credited with being the first editor to introduce frank conversations about sex into magazines for women. She was known as the woman who shocked early-1960s America with her outspoken views on sex and she was a voice for fearless females the world over.
Over her thirty years as editor for Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen revolutionised the humble women’s magazine and inspired a deep change within the industry. She believed that women should have access to information about sex and over the years, she lifted the lid on intimate relationships and told women how to enjoy sex.
Before she started working at Cosmopolitan magazine, Helen had already gotten her name out there. Her best-selling book Sex and the Single Girl, which was published in 1962, practically flew off the shelf.
And she was also something of a style icon – she rocked big jewellery, fishnet stockings and mini-dresses well into her 80s.
She constantly and consistently described herself as a feminist, although for years there have been debates regarding whether her writing liberated women or hindered their progress.
Brown once said that her main aim was to tell her readers “how to get everything out of life – the money, recognition, success, men, prestige, authority, dignity – whatever she is look at through the glass her nose is pressed against.”
“She was a role model for the millions of women whose private thoughts, wonders and dreams she addressed so brilliantly in print. She was a quintessential New Yorker: never afraid to speak her mind and always full of advice,” said Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, as he paid tribute to Brown yesterday.
Revolutionary, style icon and a woman who was never afraid to talk about sex, Helen Gurley Brown will be missed.