Times change, women change and attitudes change. Take a decade-hopping tour of the evolution of women’s roles — what we were then and where we are now. We have come a long way — but don’t call me “baby.”
In the ’60s, model Twiggy was an emblem of youth culture that ruled the runways and beyond. Plenty of tall teens occupy the catwalk today but mature models like the silver-haired Maye Musk now strut alongside their younger counterparts, diversifying what used to be an age-limited space.
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The prototypical 1970s’ housewife was a homemaking goddess, conducting her suburban nest, children and husband — aided by a bevy of household appliances into domestic bliss. Today’s mom is often older and might be single (and happy about it), using apps and hacks to facilitate her overscheduled kids’ activities while attending to her own career, partners, aging family members, pets, etc. And that’s just a Tuesday!
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Let’s Get Physical — With Great Hair
In the ’50s, there wasn’t much mainstream physical fitness outside of the serious jocks and gym class — where the goal for many was not messing up one’s hair. Today, we’ve all got fitness plans (even if we’re not following them), and going to the gym is about achieving new personal bests in deadlifting, sweating your tail off in spin class or perfecting that booty twerk in Zumba!
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Take My Punch Line … Please!
In the ’70s, comedians such as Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers cracked one-liners that often made themselves the butt of the joke. Today comedians don’t have to dim their bulb to get a laugh. Comedians like Margaret Cho and Leslie Jones use their perspective — and their power — to make you think and make you laugh. No wacky wigs or feather boas necessary.
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Dreaming about the Boss? Now I Am the Boss!
In the ’50s and ’60s, the office “gals” were usually young and single, many of them pursuing the future career of “boss’s wife.” Today, women are chockablock in the C-level suite — such as Sheryl Sandberg “leaning in” at Facebook. They’re changing the workplace culture, incorporating family-friendly policies — and even adding a tampon machine to the West Wing.
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All the Single Ladies
In the ’70s, Marlo Thomas and Mary Tyler Moore showed us that a single girl could make it on her own, even if she still needed to be rescued sometimes. Compare that with Veep’s Selina Meyer in 2018, played by the one and only Julia Louis-Dreyfus: She’s single, sexually liberated and a grandmother, managing her office staff and … oh yeah, did we mention … running for president — again.
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I Do ... Not Want to Be Married
In the ’50s when you walked down the aisle, barely out of your teens, you were headed into a happily-ever-after binding contract. Divorce was rare, so when you got married (and most people did), you were wed for life. Today, marriage is no longer the default setting. Women are getting married later in life, often getting hitched at the giddy age of 65 and older. That may, in fact, be the perfect time to pick your mate for life.
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In the ’70s, Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman got the bad guy, sure, and looked stunning while using her bullet-deflecting bracelets and lasso of truth. But in 2017, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins shifted the character to be a bona fide female-warrior badass played by Gal Gadot, who rides horses and shoots arrows — not to mention shoots arrows while riding horses — and is charged with full-force Amazonian feminism.
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When I’m 64 ...
In the 1970s, most 64-year-olds were considered to be on the sidelines of life — the furthest thing from being relevant outside the canasta circuit. Today, those 64 and over are very much in and of the game — starting new careers, reinventing romantic lives, running companies, joining the Peace Corps, climbing Mount Everest, learning tech skills, keeping fit, binge-watching Riverdale. … So much to do!
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Did You Know I’m Out?
When Billie Jean King was the first big celeb to come out as lesbian in 1981, the world skipped a beat — messy lawsuits, press conferences, a plethora of media coverage. Today gay women live their lives and love their loves, like Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor, with little to no fanfare. Often, celebs don’t even bother to formally come out — or they do so with a tweet and a smile.
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