In 1962 Helen Gurley Brown changed the conversation with her book, Sex and the Single Girl. Though some of the ideas may seem antiquated in 2014, her book was the genesis of molding baby boomer women who were struggling with all the contradictions they were facing. She made being single and choosing work over a husband and family a valid choice. She made waiting to marry and have children until women were in their 30s or even 40s a valid choice. “A job can be your love, your happy pill, and your means of participating, instead of having your noise pressed up against the window pane wondering what else is out there while standing among the diaper pails in your 20s.” For once, women starting thinking that they could be equal in the bedroom and in other venues as well. Within a few years of publication of her book, Helen Gurley Brown was the Editor of Cosmopolitan.
Also in 1962, another soon-to-be-famous author published an article about sex and college women. Gloria Steinem, was just beginning her writing career. “The development of the autonomous woman is important and quite new. She expects to find her identity neither totally without men nor through them. The real danger of the contraceptive revolution (Blogger’s Note: the birth control pill had just been released and was creating quite a stir), may be the acceleration of the change of the woman’s role change without any corresponding change of the man’s attitude toward her role.” She eventually became the creator and editor of Ms. Magazine.
[Blogger’s Note: I grew up listening to interviews from and reading articles by these two amazing women. I remember Helen Gurley’s Brown’s basic shirtwaist dress worn with pearls and her straight forward words about subjects I never heard around my home. And I remember Gloria Steinem walking out on some daytime television show in her blue jeans and sweater, long brown straight hair, and oversized glasses on her 40th birthday. The television host said, “You don’t look 40.” She looked directly at the camera and said, “This is what 40 looks like.” That simple statement released women from thinking they had to look a role, or an age, or anything else. I was a faithful subscriber to Ms. For several years.]
Reference: Douglas, S. (1995) Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media. New York: Three Rivers Press