RIP Helen Gurley Brown, the Original Cosmo Girl

Fact: Cosmopolitan used to be a family magazine.

That’s right: the magazine that is covered up in most grocery store aisles used to feature articles for kids. That is, until Helen Gurley Brown took over in 1965. This lady knew what she was doing. Her bestselling 1962 book, Sex and the Single Girl, was arguably the first public statement that women could “have it all,” a how-to manual not “on how to get married but on how to stay single—in superlative style.” (Another fun fact: Sex and the Single Girl would later inspire the HBO show “Sex and the City,” whose narrator was the alum of a certain sex-positive school…) She popularized the radical notion that women could be more than pin-ups and housewives, that they could be part of the working world, have fun without husbands, and simply that they were—get ready for it—able to enjoy sex. Needless to say, the idea sold itself.

Brown passed away this Monday at the age of 90, and even though she stepped down as editor back in 1997, she was still a regular presence at the Cosmo offices. Here, some advice from the original Cosmo girl to remember her by (jury’s still out on that tip from #7). Okay, so her message is a far cry from that of FemSex or a GNSS seminar—what is “it all,” anyway?—but still, we at Brown share more than a name with the phe who made it cool to talk about orgasms. HGB, we tip our hats to you.

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Student group spotlight: FemSex

FemSex, Brown’s Female Sexuality Workshop, is holding info sessions this week for its spring semester workshop. The workshop requires that students attend an info session and fill out an application to be eligible, so make sure to attend if you are interested.  Info sessions are Wednesday (Feb 1) at 6:30 and Thursday (Feb 2) at 6:30 in Wilson 302. In order to learn a little bit more about our most intimate non-academic seminar, we spoke to Darcy Pinkerton, a FemSex facilitator.

What is FemSex?

I’ll respond with our mission statement:‪ The Female Sexuality Workshop is a 12-week not-for-credit workshop that aims to destigmatize and demystify female sexuality by providing comprehensive sex education in an inclusive, non-judgmental environment. We believe that sexuality can serve as a foundation for discussing power and privilege as they relate to the intersection of race, class, and gender. As part of our larger commitment to dismantling oppression, FemSex strives to deconstruct the powerful assumptions present in everyday language and to find non-violent alternatives… In an intentional space founded on reciprocal commitment and consent, participants can challenge their ideas, validate their experiences, and take ownership of their bodies, desires, and self-expression.

FemSex meets for two hours twice a week, either on Mon/Wed or Tues/Thurs. A FemSex section is composed of about 15 participants and 2 peer facilitators who have already taken the workshop. FemSex runs for 12 weeks throughout the semester, for a total of 23 classes, ranging from Privilege, Language & Identity to Body Image to Masturbation to Sex Toys to Communication & Consent.‪

Can guys do it?

FemSex is open to people of all genders and sexualities, and we believe that having a diverse array of experiences and opinions represented in section is crucial to forming a learning space where we can hear from experiences that are not our own. I think anyone interested in FemSex should apply!  If sex ed in a safe, egalitarian space sounds good to you, we’d love to have you apply. Continue Reading