Rick McGinnis writes:
Browder spent much of her career as a writer at Cosmopolitan, the periodical that was the trashy, consumerist yin to the earnest and activist yang of Ms. magazine. She spends much of the first half of Subverted recalling how she came to share the values espoused by Helen Gurley Brown, Cosmo’s founder, and ended up working there as a staff writer and freelancer.
Browder wasn’t a leader in the mainstreaming of second wave feminism but a foot soldier, writing articles targeted at the ambitious, promiscuous, and chic woman that was both the ideal reader and mythological creation of Gurley Brown and Cosmopolitan. Browder, a suburban mother in what she describes as a long, happy marriage, wasn’t anything like the woman she was both writing for and imagining in print, and as the years went by she began noticing that the women she knew who had come closest to this ideal were usually miserable.