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Mary Tyler Moore Leaves Behind a Legacy of Female Empowerment

Jamie Newman | January 25, 2017 | 2:22 PM
Image Credit: Getty, Kevin Winter / Staff

Our industry is made up of many powerful ladies. MODERN’s Chicago-based office is home to 13 women, and five men. By the numbers, beauty is uniquely dominated by females.

It wasn’t always “normal” for women to be strong, self-sufficient and independent. Especially in the media, women were often portrayed in T.V. and film as a wife and a homemaker. If she had a job, it was probably as a teacher or secretary—until 1970 when that was all turned on its head.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show broke the mold on the status quo of female roles on television. In what became one of her most well-known and well-loved roles, the show’s namesake, Mary Tyler Moore, played the role of Mary Richards, an associate news producer at a local television station in Minneapolis. Richards was a 30-something-year-old single (recently separating from a fiancé) and a career woman, which of course was much different than women’s previous roles on T.V. and in film. She was also sweet, smart, sassy and full of enthusiasm.

The show won 29 Emmys during its seven-year run, four of which went to Moore, whose character Mary became a symbol of the independent 1970s career woman, according to the LA Times.

Moore died Jan. 25, 2017 at a hospital in Connecticut at the age of 80. It hasn’t even been a full week since the Women’s March, in which more than 3.3 million women and men joined in on in more than 500 cities across the U.S. (increase that tally if you add in the 100+ international “sister marches” around the world) in support of equal rights, among other causes, so it’s an extra sour taste today we all lost a feminist icon. Not to get political, but with the world still radiating in the spirit of girl power, today our hearts especially ache for the loss of Moore and for the path she paved both in the portrayal and possibilities for women, and the legacy she leaves behind.

Originally posted on Modern Salon.

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