Sexual Revolution Shaper: Brown's 'Toxic Legacy'

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One of the major shapers of the sexual revolution died this month: longtime Cosmopolitan magazine editor Helen Gurley Brown.

In a recent article in the Washington Times, Concerned Women for America's Dr. Janice Crouse, blasted Brown's legacy.

She discussed her reasons why Brown's legacy is so toxic and detrimental to women today with CBN News Reporter Paul Strand.

Watch that interview or read the transcript below.

PAUL STRAND: Dr. Crouse, Helen Gurley Brown just died. She was known as this sexy, vivacious editor of Cosmo magazine, author of Sex and the Single Girl.... But, Dr. Crouse, you don't think much of her legacy, do you?

JANICE CROUSE: She would never have been more than just a minor character except for the fact that she was so sensational, and except for the fact that she learned how to manipulate men.

Ironically, she was not a woman, a feminist that the rest of the feminists liked. They rejected her pretty soundly because she did not buy into the whole idea of rejecting men. Nor did she buy into the idea of rejecting patrimony.

She didn't buy into the idea that women shouldn't be sex objects. In fact, she said, 'Yeah, you're going to be a sex object. So milk it for all it's worth.' And she said, 'Give men what they want and make them pay for it dearly.'

That was her whole idea. And it would have been one thing for her to have that view herself and to live that life herself. But to sell it to two or three generations of women, which is what she did? My, the legacy she left is not one that any woman who cares about young people would want to leave.

STRAND: What do you find most ironic about the public face versus the private lifestyle of Helen Gurley Brown?

CROUSE: Well, Helen Gurley Brown told women for years, for decades, that they didn't need a man. You know, 'You make it on your own. Just use men to get where you want to go.'

But when it came right down to it, when she started losing her looks, when she realized that she was never going to rise beyond an executive secretary level, she realized she would have to have a very prominent man who was in the executive level to get her where she felt she ought to be.  

So this was a woman who traded on her looks, who traded on her image to create a myth that she tried to sell -- and sold quite successfully for a matter of fact.

She was a very wealthy woman, and even in her retirement got a stipend for more than $2 million a year from Cosmo magazine.

STRAND: What's your warning to modern women who want to live the 'Helen Gurley Brown' lifestyle?

CROUSE: Well, the very toxic legacy that she's left is very quantifiable. You look at the data and there's no question that this culture has produced very harmful effects for our young people.

More than 65 million people today in America have an STD that's incurable. And you have more than 19 million STDs every single year in this country. And of that number, most of them are between 19 and 24 years of age.  

Not to mention abortion. You know, we have had more than 50 million abortions during Helen Gurley Brown's adult lifetime. That's a tragic legacy of her philosophy, and in this country, 1.2 million a year.

Wow, talk about a toxic legacy. She alone is not at fault, of course. But she is a major part of popularizing this free sex ideal. And promoting a myth, particularly to college girls to 'Live it up while you're young and do all these things while you're young, and there are no consequences. It will get you where you want to go.'

No, it hasn't. It's ending the young women up in hospitals and in very tragic circumstances in their personal lives.

STRAND: Thank you very much, Dr. Crouse.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at