She was the original Sex and the City girl. Today, at the young age of 90, Helen Gurley Brown passed away giving women everywhere pause to think about the impact her liberating views about women, careers and (ahem) sex had on their own lives.
I spent my college years and beyond reading Cosmopolitan Magazine, the publication she founded and served as editor for an impressively long tenure. Some would call her a trailblazer in the Feminist Movement by giving women of all ages permission to not just think about sex, their own sexuality and sensuality, but to talk about it as well.
Cosmopolitan-girl fashions were racy for this 20-something farm girl from Frederick County. Helen’s approach to women in careers was equally audacious as she challenged us to believe that gender barriers were simply temporary obstacles meant to be challenged and dispelled.
Today, however, her life represents something quite different for me. She symbolizes the beauty of not aging gracefully, rather aging exuberantly. She continued to work and contribute to her profession and passion long after society deems most people to no longer be “useful.” She defied the rules and expectations for aging women in business and continues to challenge me to keep growing, keep reaching, and more importantly, keep dreaming.
Helen Gurley Brown might have loved to write about sex, but what she taught us most was the importance of making ourselves the heroine in our own story. A heroine who is strong, independent, sexy, savvy, and not afraid to go after what she wants in life.
That’s what being a Cosmo girl is really all about.