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Then vs. Now: We’ve Come a Long Way, Baby!

  • modeling shots of Twiggy and Maye Musk


    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.”


    Model Behavior

    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.

    — Left: George W Hales/Getty Images Right: John Lamparski/WireImage/Getty Images

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  • mother giving glass of milk to a boy and mother holding girl while typing on laptop


    Snappy Homemaker


    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!

    — Left: H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Getty Images Right: Getty Images

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  • woman touching her toes and woman boxing


    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!

    — Left: Lambert/Getty Images Right: Blend Images/Getty Images

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  • images of Phyllis Diller and Margaret Cho performing


    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.

    — Left: Gary Null/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images Right: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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  • black and white woman on the left with a typewriter and glasses and a portrait of Sheryl Sandberg on the right


    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.

    — Left: Mirrorpix via Getty Images  Right: Matt McClain for The Washington Post via Getty Images

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  • Marlo Thomas on the left in That Girl and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in VEEP


    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.

    — Left: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images  Right: Lacey Terrell/HBO

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  • groom carrying bride and older groom kissing bride


    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.

    — Left: SuperStock RM/Getty Images Right: Getty Images

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  • Linda Carter and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman


    Heroine Superb


    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.

    — Left: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images Right: Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

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  • Older woman sitting on a bench and older woman holding a cell phone


    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!

    — Left: Shepard Sherbell/CORBIS SABA/Corbis via Getty Images Right:Blend Images/Getty Images

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  • Tennis player Billie Jean King on the court on the left and Sarah Paulson with Holland Taylor on the right


    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.

    — Left: Bob Thomas/Getty Images Right: Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic/Getty Images

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    Corey Root is a writer and a gen-xer working for the homeless.  

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