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As a result of her advocacy, glamorous, fashion-focused women were sometimes called "Cosmo Girls". editor of Cosmopolitan The New York Times described the Cosmo Girl that Brown was after as “self-made, sexual and supremely ambitious. she looked great, wore fabulous clothes and had an unabashedly good time when those clothes came off.” In the world of feminism, Brown’s role has been highly contested as empowering women to be unashamed of their sexual urges and as creating a magazine that may live on as a sexist magazine with a body image problem.
Her work played a part in what is often called the sexual revolution. Entertainment Weekly said that "Gurley Brown will be remembered for her impact on the publishing industry, her contributions to the culture at large, and sly quips like her famous line: 'Good girls go to heaven.
million was donated to the New York Public Library, These donations have collectively created new media programs (David and Helen Gurley Brown Institute for Media Innovation) and started initiatives to benefit at-risk youth (NYPL Bridge Up) and increase representation of women and minority groups in STEM disciplines (the AMNH Bridge Up: STEM program).
In the 1960s, Brown was an outspoken advocate of women's sexual freedom and sought to provide women with role models in her magazine.
She claimed that women could have it all – "love, sex, and money".
Her employer recognized her writing skills and moved her to the copywriting department, where she advanced rapidly to become one of the nation's highest-paid ad copywriters in the early 1960s.
In 1959 she married David Brown, who would go on to become a noted film producer.
Just seven months prior to her death, continuing the work started with her husband David in forming the Helen Gurley Brown Trust, Brown established the Brown Institute for Media Innovation.
This institution is housed at both the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and Stanford's Engineering School.
In 1962, when Brown was 40, her book Sex and the Single Girl In 1964 the book inspired a film of the same name starring Natalie Wood.
In 1965, Brown became editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, then a literary magazine famed for high-toned content, and reinvented it as a magazine for the modern single career-woman.