August 14, 2012 5:26 PM
RIP: Helen Gurley Brown, Nellie Gray - died 8/13
Two leaders, two legacies
Like many moms who've had to navigate the checkout lines with children in tow, I've held a special place of contempt for Cosmopolitan magazine, whose shocking headlines at kids' eye level have been polluting young minds for 40 years. Not to mention the damage to a few generations of lost young women.
The world has one woman to thank for this: Helen Gurley Brown, who on becoming editor in 1965, quickly turned a woman's magazine like all the others - with tips on food and fashion, decorating and diets - to a racy rag preaching a gospel of sex, sex, and more sex. Oh, and did I mention sex?
In Brown's vicious May-the-Sexiest-Woman-Win world, all traditions and conventions were off. So your boss is married? So he has three kids? So what? If you want him, go for it, girl! No guilt, no regrets.
Brown made her final personal headline Monday, dead at the age of 90. Wealthy but childless, but what did that matter when - according to the cultural elite - she was personally responsible for liberating young women from the goal of husband, family, home, replacing it with a sex- and pleasure-driven lifestyle - like the one eventually celebrated in Sex and the City. She empowered women, they said, overlooking the fact that she had made them sexual slaves, trying to keep happy with uncommitted sex and unconcerned with the havoc they wreaked in the lives of husbands and fathers.
While I'm not one to judge the eternal fate of anyone - because our Heavenly Father is merciful and He alone knows HGB's heart during her final hours - I felt an overwhelming sadness at the thought of her standing before Him realizing her tremendous responsibility in destroying families, lives, love and hope.
Another woman died that day: 88-year-old Nellie Gray, a more modest role model whose life was dedicated to saving families, lives, love and hope.
She was a Texan and a Catholic convert, whose service as a corporal in the Women's Army Corps (WACS) during World War II changed the direction of her life. According to Father Frank Pavone, founder of Priests for Life:
The reality of the holocaust made a profound impression upon her, as did the Nuremburg Trials, to which she often referred in explaining her pro-life position. At issue for her were not the numbers of people killed, vast and disturbing as those statistics are.
For Nellie, the horror was that a single human life had been intentionally taken. That was the point at which government transgressed its proper authority. That was the evil that had to be stopped.
In 1974, Mrs. Gray organized a March for Life, held in Washington, DC on the first anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which evolved from a one-time event into a growing coming-together of pro-life groups from all over the country which she mobilized and energized every year since. In the midst of disagreements and in-fighting among well-intentioned but passionate political players, she was a voice for unity.
Mrs. Gray was also responsible for highlighting the terrible toll taken by abortion on fathers and other family members - as well as the holocaust within the black community (While only 13% of the female population is minority, they account for 36% of the abortions).
Two women, two legacies - one for evil, one for good - both reaching well beyond their lifetimes. A reminder to each of us to look to our own, to make the most of what time we have left.
Wow! Excellent juxtaposition. Isn't that how it is? The world recognizes its own, doesn't it?
Posted by: Jan | August 14, 2012 6:16 PM
This is a wonderful article. Really shows the power of one person.
I am loving your blog. I'm a Christian homeschooling mom of 8, and I really appreciate your forthright style and wise viewpoint. I have signed up to receive your posts by email and have listed the blog on my blogroll. Thanks and God bless.
Posted by: RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup | August 14, 2012 9:10 PM
ironic that HGB lived a life that was contradictory to the one on the pages of Cosmo- she was "happily married for fifty years." Again, where's the truth in advertising?
Posted by: Kathie in Canada | August 15, 2012 7:18 AM
Wow, Barbara. What a powerful piece. I hadn't put that connection together, but that is an amazing contrast.
I read recently that HGB's father died in an accident when she was only ten years old, and her mother subsequently fell into a deep depression - i.e. her world was shattered upon her father's death. I've often wondered if perhaps all the deplorable behavior she advocated for, that has ruined untold numbers of souls, was ultimately a yearning for her father.
Posted by: Jennifer @ Conversion Diary | August 16, 2012 1:39 AM