Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Life advice from Helen Gurley Brown

rexfeatures_936446a.jpg
hero-2.jpg
rexfeatures_1176505a.jpg

Helen Gurley Brown, the legendary editor of Cosmopolitan and a fearless advocate of sexual empowerment dubbed "the original Carrie Bradshaw," has died at the age of 90 in New York City.

Brown's 32-year tenure at the helm of Cosmopolitan changed the face of women's magazines forever as she drove home the message that women could have whatever they wanted, be it power, success in the workplace or sexual satisfaction.

Her 1962 best-seller Sex and the Single Girl taught women to embrace their desires (married or otherwise) and sold millions of copies worldwide, courting admiration and controversy in equal measure.

While feminists weren't always on-board with her views - especially those regarding how to please men - there's no doubt her aim to show women "how to get everything out of life — the money, recognition, success, men, prestige, authority, dignity," influenced entire generations, as well as popular culture in general.

A forceful champion of the joys of sex who paved the way for open and frank discussions, here are some of Gurley Brown's greatest quotes on all things life, love and empowerment...

Picture credit: Rex Features

"Don't use men to get what you want in life -- get it for yourself."

"Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere."

"I think marriage is insurance for the worst years of your life. During your best years you don't need a husband."

ABOVE: Helen Gurley Brown holding her book Sex And The Single Girl in 1964

"Nearly every glamorous, wealthy, successful career woman you might envy now started out as some kind of schlepp."

"A man likes to sleep with a brainy girl. She’s a challenge. If he makes good with her, he figures he must be good himself."

"Beauty can't amuse you, but brainwork -- reading, writing, thinking -- can."

"Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody."

"Even if sex isn’t great every time, it's a unique form of communication and togetherness that can help you stay together with a good degree of contentment."

ABOVE: The legendary Cosmopolitan editor influenced millions of women

"One of the paramount reasons for staying attractive is so you can have somebody to go to bed with."

"You can have your titular recognition. I'll take money and power."

"Feeling insecure is good for you. It forces you to do something better, use all your talents."

"How could any woman not be a feminist? The girl I’m editing for wants to be known for herself. If that’s not a feminist message, I don’t know what is."

Related

FeministBooks.jpg

50 essential feminist books

femalpioneers.jpg

Revolutionary pioneers

HERO.jpg

The world's most influential women

Comments

More

Lily Allen reveals she suffered from PTSD following son's stillbirth

She was attacked online trolls shortly after the admission

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Feb 2017

Watch the hilarious 2017 Oscars edition of Celebrity Mean Tweets

“Go f**k yourself, Ryan Gosling”

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Feb 2017

Emma Stone has her say on that awkward La La Land mix up

“I don’t mean to start stuff, but…”

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Feb 2017

The best non-romantic couples at the 2017 Oscars

From friends, to mums, to siblings

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Feb 2017

Why ‘The Salesman’ speech was one of the most important of the Oscars

Iranian-American Anouseh Ansari delivered a powerful critique of Trump’s travel ban on behalf of director Asghar Farhadi.

by Moya Crockett
27 Feb 2017

Jennifer Aniston tears up as she remembers lost friends at the Oscars

“All were loved, and all will be missed”

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Feb 2017

Viola Davis’ empowering speech completely stole the show at the Oscars

She’s the first black actor to win an Oscar, Emmy, and a Tony

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Feb 2017

The best behind-the-scenes Instagrams from the Oscars 2017

Pre-party pampering, post-win celebrations and obligatory bathroom selfies

by Moya Crockett
27 Feb 2017

Emma Stone uses Oscars 2017 dress to make powerful feminist statement

The Best Actress winner decided it was time to get political on the red carpet

by Kayleigh Dray
27 Feb 2017

Helen Mirren on lacking confidence and self-esteem

“I thought I looked stupid when I smiled”

by Amy Swales
24 Feb 2017