Opinion: Cheers to the queen of Cosmo

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson

Ryan Sampson is a senior architecture major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected].

On August 13th of this year, Helen Gurley Brown passed away.

So what? I had no idea who she was until after I heard about her death.

Here are the basics: She was the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine for 32 years, as well as an advocate for women’s sexuality and an icon. But even at the age of 90, she was still highly relatable to women in college today.

First off, she was insecure. This quintessential Cosmo girl, a legend in her field, was concerned about her acne. She was highly conscious of her weight, diligently keeping to a strict diet and exercise routine, and frequently partaking in plastic surgery and other cosmetic alterations.

Additionally, she was very reluctant to spend money. This fabulous woman, dressed in furs, took the bus to keep from spending money on a cab. Even when she was given a car and driver, she would frequently dismiss him, claiming she needed to see what her Cosmo girls were wearing.

In spite of being a trailblazer for women’s sexual freedom, expressing opinions that were outrageous for her time, she was a sweet and deeply sensitive woman. Like anyone, she was hurt when rejected or unwelcome somewhere because of her beliefs, but no matter what, she stood by them. She was unflinchingly honest, and didn’t waver from her nontraditional views on relationships and family.

This woman fascinates me. She spoke openly about her sex life and encouraged single women to not worry about marriage (something to keep in mind, since absolutely everyone I know is currently on the fast track to matrimony). She enjoyed being courted — trading her company for presents and apartments without shame ­­— but did not believe that beauty was enough to make a person successful. She wanted women to be the whole package: to have it all.

Whether she is a feminist’s help or hindrance, I’m not sure. Regardless, she stood for something and supported her brand, and anyone could learn a lot from her. She worked hard to get to her position, and I can’t imagine she would do anything other than laugh it off if someone accused her of sleeping her way to the top.

She more than doubled Cosmopolitan magazine sales, in addition to being a successful author and a precedent for shows like “Sex and the City,” but more importantly, those closest to her spoke of her character. They said she was a great listener and quick with a compliment, a quality anyone would value in a friend.

So please take something away from Brown: the ability to be honest but poised, to stand for what you believe in, the opportunity to be a better friend, to be the best person you can be, or even just the idea of having great sex no matter what your walk of life. And then, ladies and gentlemen alike, raise your glasses; here’s to you, pussy cat.