“Helen Gurley Brown enjoys needlepoint and stitching hip slogans onto pillows. One of her favorites is, ‘Good girls go the Heaven, bad girls go everywhere.’ Here is a charming example of the arithmetic fallacy – by adding anything to something, you automatically enrich it. Adding ice cubes to Dom Perignon does not improve its richness. Additives can have a destructive, as well as a diluting, effect. Being good, however, is not limiting. Not knowing where to draw the line, on the other hand, can be self-defeating. She wants us to believe that being good is a terrible deprivation. In reality, it is all we need. Good is good enough.”
Helen Gurley Brown was also, not surprisingly, an advocate of legal abortion. She never had children, but wrote a letter to her non-existent child in her memoirs. DeMarco noted:
“Nonetheless, she concludes her memoir with a 13-page letter to her fantasy child, whom she calls Anna Marie. She informs her non-existent offspring that, ‘Your mother doesn’t believe in God … but I do believe in the okayness of everybody here on earth.’ It is difficult to read this final entry of her memoir and not sense that, at 79, Helen Gurley Brown knows in the inner recesses of her soul that she has not had it all. Anna Marie will not be receptive to her mother’s advice. Her mother’s words will fall not on deaf ears, but on no ears. They will echo within the mind of the childless mother, emphasizing all the more that no children will grieve for her or carry on her legacy once she is no more.”
It’s all very sad, but sadder yet, her promotion of abortion and a spiritually corrupting lifestyle would have led more women to make the same mistakes she did. Carolyn Moynihan, deputy editor of MercatorNet, noted Brown “dished out a lot of bad and harmful advice about how young women could ‘improve’ themselves” and “unfortunately” it “obscured some very good messages: be ambitious, work hard, dress up, marry – and stay married.” Moynihan wants Gurley Brown to be remembered for that advice.
But the Cosmo editor comes as a parcel, and her promotion of having it all – the possibility brought to young women through the miracle of abortion-on-demand – led some women down a road they regretted and might not have taken otherwise. Some women truly do not want children, but according to survey data, there are quite a few women who regret their decision not to have children (about 10 per cent), realizing that they’ve missed out on something. Helen Gurley Brown, as a popularizer of the lifestyle she lived, shares some responsibility for that.