Magazine May 4, 2009, Issue

Trail Blazer

From the cover of Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown, by Jennifer Scanlon (Oxford)
Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown, by Jennifer Scanlon (Oxford, 288 pp., $27.95)

We live in the age of the full disclosure, so I am obliged to issue one about this biography of Cosmopolitan magazine’s legendary editor: I’m in it.

Commenting on Helen Gurley Brown’s firm belief that what men don’t know about a woman’s sexual history won’t hurt them, her biographer Jennifer Scanlon writes: “Her all-time favorite Cosmopolitan piece, ‘The Contraception Capers,’ offered a humorous 1970s look back on sexual practices during the 1950s.” It was about birth control before the Pill and my original title was “The Sperm and I.” I liked mine better and so did Helen, but she decided that

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