"She was interested in women developing themselves in their work life as well as their personal life," said Coontz. "But she also believed women had a right to their sexual feelings and were entitled to sexual gratification."
On the other hand, said Coontz, Brown portrayed women as "second-class citizens" in the work force who used their sexuality to get "treats."
"You had to make sure that the man pays for all the liquor that he drinks at your house -- and getting the best cuts from the butcher. There is some debate. Women people think it's empowering to use your sexuality that way."
In an interview in 2000 with ABC's Juju Chang, Brown was asked what she thought was the key to her success.
"I've said frequently," she answered, "that sex is one of the three best things we have. And I don't know, what are the other two?"
Her husband finished for her: "Money and food, I think, for Helen."