Sex and the City of Angels

By Jill Brown


I recently stumbled across a book review for Bad Girls Go Everywhere in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a biography on Helen Gurley Brown, long time editor of Cosmo magazine and author of the book, Sex and the Single Girl.

The main claim of the biography on Mrs. Brown is that she was a trailblazer and belongs named amongst the great leaders of the feminist movement. The book reviewer for the Wall Street Journal (and I) do not wholeheartedly agree with the author’s claim.

Ms. Brown led an interesting life filled with some great accomplishments to be sure. But is she really a feminist?

That point seems gray to me. Is it part of the feminist movement to be the kept woman of many men in order to have your rent for free and your shopping paid for? Is it feminist to spearhead a publication that primarily seems to give tips on how to lose weight, glam up for a date and perform new and amazing phallic routine on your boyfriend? I’m not sold on the idea.

Not that I’m opposed to all of Mrs. Brown’s philosophies. I just seems like the line between liberated and objectified is often blurry in the biography.

She’s quoted as having said, “If you’re not a sex object you’re in trouble.” I think sex object is taking things a bit too far. I am, however, a big believer in some sex appeal. I like being single, feminine and spicing things up. I’ve always been of the mindset that I want to embrace everything that is feminine and fabulous about being a single woman. Strength, confidence and class are part of my essential feminist toolkit. But embracing your sexy self doesn’t mean becoming a sex object! I say use what you’ve got, but for God’s sake don’t diminish what you are.

Ultimately, while I think she had some good contributions to the world of single women, I’m not convinced that Mrs. Brown was an ahead of her time leader for women.

What do you think? Feminist leader or female opportunist? Single Minded Woman, or simple minded object?

–Jill Brown

Jill Brown is a Los Angeles, California-based life coach and writer. She earned her Bachelors in Humanities and Sociology from USU and is a member of the National Association for Conflict Resolution and the Ladies Who Launch Network. She is the founder of “The Duchess Guide” a website dedicated to helping women become their most fabulous and unique selves. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast, traveler and health nut. When she isn’t writing or working on Duchess, Jill loves spending all her free time with her Labrador – Betty. For more on The Duchess Guide or Jill visit: