Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Helen Gurley Brown Was the Practical Goddess of Love to Ordinary Women
Aug 14, 2012 Gail Sheehy
The pioneering Cosmopolitan editor and author of ‘Sex and the Single Girl’ encouraged women not to give up on love, men, sex, or using their feminine wiles—but also boosted their self-confidence to take charge of their own lives. Plus, Robin Givhan on how Gurley Brown harnessed cleavage and 10 tips from her seminal book. I have always thought of Helen Gurley Brown as the female version of a Horatio Alger hero—the American dream of a self-made woman. Like Alger’s fictional heroes, but real, she started with nothing: a father who died early, an impoverished mother, and a crippled sister she needed to support. What she lacked in money for higher education she made up for in hard work and self-discipline, bucking the sexist workplace of the 1950s and ’60s by starting as a secretary and toiling through 17 jobs before she achieved her dream of becoming an editor, at the age of 42.
She called me up that year, in 1965, and introduced herself as the new editor of Cosmopolitan. I was a green reporter at the New York Herald Tribune, but I jumped at her offer of a dream assignment: fly to Paris with Pan American stewardesses (as they were called then) and follow them through their weekend layover—did they have a secret love life? Although they all had hometown boys waiting for them, once assured that they could use pseudonyms, they were guiltless in describing their naughty one-night stands. Well, Virginia, you should have heard the shock and outrage: how dare a magazine lure virgins into vixen-hood!
“Whenever I took a trip after that, stewardesses gave me so much trouble,” Helen later told me, laughing. “They’d say, ‘We’re not horny like that,’ and I’d say, ‘Maybe you aren’t, but your friends are.’” Gail Sheehy's full report at The Daily Beast