Rant alert! I did not know how much I disliked Helen Gurley-Brown until I read that she had died this weekend. The person who did more than most to promote the notion that women “can have it all” passed away without children. Proof, if we ever needed it, that she made her fortune selling media snake oil (she was to gender-defined media what Thatcher was to politics, wickedly effective).
She will be missed principally by the cosmetic surgery community and big pharma. After all, it was her self-indulgent, hyper-sexualised notion of gender liberty that did more than most to ensure that in time we would substitute Mother’s Little Helper, Valium, with the far more profitable and socially acceptable Prozac (and its little sister, Ritalin) - and mountains of silicone. Oh, that pesky pursuit of happiness. How American. What boloney!
Brown will be remembered as the icon for a nation in which happiness, beyond the notion of personal wealth, became during her lifetime the obsession of the planet’s most infantile political culture. Unfortunately, Helen’s Cosmo Girl turned out after all to be the flip side of Don Draper’s dark, dysfunctional, selfish, self-made, objectivist coin.
BTW: have you noticed how the media always treats the passing of one of its own as a massive cultural milestone. How the media will create memes and later claim the credit for the events that gave rise to the meme. What came first the chicken or the egg? Ask the editor, she’ll tell you.
* Seven HGB Obits to Drive Your Man Wild [ The Onion ]
* What’s trying to please a man got to do with feminism? [ Christina Patterson, The Independent ]
* True Confessions: I was a Cosmo creative director moons ago. Who knew that all this time I had been living with a Helen-shaped wound in my repressed little heart?