Helen Gurley Brown

A food chain is evident in the words of Helen Gurley Brown, the longtime editor of Cosmopolitan magazine who died at 90 in New York City. Her universal term of endearment was pussycat--warm, fuzzy, with all that's feral in the pet implicit. Then there is a word she coined, mouseburger, which came to be applied to a timid woman whom a pussycat could feed on and spit out--the opposite of the Cosmo girl.

One part of Brown's genius was that she recognized the consumer marketability of female libidinal instinct in the quest for romantic happiness. She became a household name in...

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