Myra B. on Helen Gurley Brown

Helen Gurley Brown is dead. The world is in mourning. The lady who set sixties American aflame with her runaway bestseller, Sex and the Single Girl, that was turned into a forgettable, but profitable and popular, Hollywood movie starring Natalie Wood and Tony Curtis, was an exponent of the ambitious career girl of another age.The questions, then, were how to succeed in a male dominated world using your feminine wiles, while maintaining that femininity – tall order! The celebrated age of Mad Men,at least for those nostalgic for their lost power and prestige, where men ruled the roost and called the shots on who got promoted, and who got fired. It was a simpler age. Helen reeked the ethos of the corporate self-promoter circa 1950. She was a climber in the age of the climber,corporate and social. No apology needed, she was just one of many.(The humiliation of the Depression ruled the aspirations of a generation.) Don't confuse Ms. Brown with her contemporary Betty Friedan, whose bestseller The Feminine Mystique shared that bestseller list with her book. No old line leftist,she never attacked masculine privilege, she practiced a kind of knowing accommodation, that used the assertion of male power as a fulcrum to gain hard won advantage, via the use of her femininity and her ability to know her antagonist's weak points. Disguised as feminine chatter about the importance of owning the perfect 'little black dress' etc., and the soft-core porn covers for her magazine Cosmo, that, by the way, cemented the position of the push up bra in the American fashion vernacular, she was the precursor to the two great titans of contemporary American publishing, Tina Brown and Arianna Huffington.
Sincerely yours,
Myra B.

About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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