Ms. Brown’s background lighted a kind of fire beneath her; it allowed her to speak effortlessly, later in her life, to the fears and aspirations of America’s often ignored working-class women. She would write, defining her scrappy brand of Horatio Alger feminism: “If you have some daily anguish from some cause that’s not really your fault — a rotten family, bad health, nowhere looks, serious money problems, nobody to help you, minority background (I don’t have that — a WASP — but I had other things), rejoice! These things are your fuel!”
“Those back-to-goodness-and-nature hippies are certainly not natural,” Ms. Brown explained. “They may not wear makeup, but some of them bleach their hair and their fringy, furry, funky costumes certainly didn’t grow on their bodies (though they sometimes smell like it)…”
Ms. Brown was justly criticized, Ms. Scanlon notes, for not allowing certain subjects into her magazine. These included the existence of children, and topics like AIDS.
As Ms. Brown aged, she grew no less provocative. In her 1993 book, “The Late Show,” aimed at older women, she wrote: “Welcoming a penis just seems more womanly to me than baking chocolate chip cookies or doling out money for a grandchild’s college tuition.”