Kristen Northrup's Reviews > Bad Girls Go Everywhere: The Life of Helen Gurley Brown

Bad Girls Go Everywhere by Jennifer Scanlon
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Jun 01, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: fromlibrary, nonfiction, womens-studies
Read in August, 2009

This would be a great choice for an ambitious book club, because I spent a lot of time going "Yes, but..." and frustrated that there was no one around to actually discuss it with. I did read Sex and the Single Girl about a year ago. The academic defending-a-thesis tone isn't too heavy, although it leads to some distractingly odd (ivory tower?) statements (by the author, not by Brown) about things like why women dye their hair, what is a healthy daily calorie count, and what a grain elevator does. Lots of interesting cultural history and context, and I ILL'd several books from the bibliography. Love that she suggested a tv series set in an advertising agency and the studio said no one would be interested in that setting. Totally unsurprising that Cosmopolitan is most successful in Russia. Would have liked more explanation of why she thought college never would have worked for her. Impressive that she tried (if not very hard) to get positive pieces on abortion and homosexuality published way before their time and insisted on leaving in the career and finance columns even when reader polls said they didn't care. Useful discussions of how class privilege enables social protest, but it still seemed like Scanlon was too lenient with the whole courtesan thing, not to mention the infidelity angle. Scanlon was also surprisingly accepting of the 'universal' fear of the 'ravages of aging.' And what the heck was with the spoon bending?

Now to go read the Caitlin Flanagan review in The Atlantic.
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