September 13, 2016
‘Who, deep down, was the real Helen Gurley Brown?’
While Ms. scrapes by as a ghost of its former self, Cosmo publishes 64 editions around the world. (The magazine’s advertising revenue was $432 million in 2013.) Mainstream women’s magazines have taken her combination of personal essays and practical advice as a template. Scanlon notes that after years of attacking Brown, Gloria Steinem also wrote a self-help book, Revolution From Within, that recalled Brown’s feel-good tips. Lena Dunham’s best-selling memoir, Not That Kind of Girl, took its inspiration from Having It All. Brown’s fingerprints are all over the confessional writing that fills sites like xoJane and Bustle, in which any problem, no matter how grave, can be redeemed by a sense of humor and an upbeat ending.