One wouldn't think that a comedy that premiered almost 50 years ago would be so relatable for women in 2017, but it certainly is. The Mary Tyler Moore Show had some revolutionary moments that were a huge deal in the 1970s. Thanks to Mary Tyler Moore, an inspiring, life-changing, and empowering character for women was brought to life.
Through Mary Richards, Moore showed that a woman doesn't have to live up to society's standards or apologize for who she is and how she acts. I'm sure many women felt the power to take their lives by the reins and create the ones they always wanted.
For seven seasons, The Mary Tyler Moore Show told stories for that time particular period, which are still extremely powerful today. From workplace sexism to equal pay to women embracing their sexuality to the topic of birth control, among many others, this certainly wasn't your typical '70s comedy. It was so much more.
With the unfortunate passing of Moore on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at the age of 80, it only seems right to reflect on just how revolutionary her show was. She and the series were known for paving the way for every woman, but especially women in the acting business. Even though she is gone, Moore and The Mary Tyler Moore Show will forever be inspiring forces in the eyes of many.
1. The Comedy's Overall Premise
First of all, this was a '70s comedy featuring a leading woman as the main star. Yes, that was a huge deal back then. Secondly, the fact that the series was about a single, independent, career-focused woman made it all the more revolutionary.
2. Mary Standing Up For Childless Women
Mary didn't have kids and made sure every other woman and man out there knew that women didn't need to have a child to be fulfilled.
3. Mary's Sexual Experience
If you scroll to the 3:30 mark, you'll hear a conversation in which Mary say, "I’m hardly innocent. I’ve been around. Well, all right I might not have been around. But I’ve been nearby." Mary openly discussing her sexual experience was huge and also showed that you don't have to be a married woman to take part in sex.
4. Mary Richards = "Undersexed"?
Around the 22-minute mark, Mary has a very candid conversation with her friend Rhoda (Valerie Harper) about whether or not she is "undersexed." You see, she had a date over and he wanted to stay the night, but Mary said no. Then, she became concerned if she wasn't having enough sex. Both Mary wondering aloud about sex and deciding for herself when and where she wanted to have sex was a big deal.
5. Talk Of Birth Control
In this particular episode (around the 18-minute mark), birth control is mentioned in a nonchalant way. Mary's mom says, "Don't forget to take your pill." At the same exact time, Mary and her dad answer, "I won't." Boom.
6. An Equal Pay Discussion
Equal pay was an issue for women in the '70s just like it remains in the 2010s. Can you believe that this is a fight we're still fighting? Mary Richards brought to light that the man who previously held her position was paid $50 a week more than she was. How fair is that? Scroll to the 3:50 mark to see her stand up for herself and her rights.
7. A One-Night Stand
Yes, one-night stands were mentioned on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Specifically, Lou (Ed Asner) had one with Sue Ann (Betty White). The episode opened up with Lou expressing his guilt for it to Mary. As Mary said, "So what? What's done is done."
8. Mary's "Walk Of Shame"
Even though it really shouldn't be called a "walk of shame," because no one should feel shamed for coming home in the same clothes they wore the night before, Mary went out on a date and came home the next morning wearing the same clothes (15:30 mark). This scene spoke volumes back then.
9. Ask Her More
In the very first episode of the show, Moore showed exactly what type of show this would be when her character called out Lou (around the 6:40 mark), her boss, for his interview questions. She stood her ground and, obviously, she got hired.
10. Mary's Wardrobe
From time to time, Mary wore skirts and dresses, but she also donned pantsuits. That's right, a woman doesn't only have to wear clothing that shows off her legs. And guess what? Mary totally pulled it off. According to The New York Times, Moore made sure even when she was on The Dick Van Dyke Show, that her character would wear ballet flats and capris, not a skirt and heels, when vacuuming.
11. When Moore Directed An Episode
In 1974, for Season 5, Episode 11, Moore acted as director. Just like it sadly is today, a woman director was a rarity in the '70s, so to see Moore take on the role is something that should absolutely be applauded.
Thank you, Mary Tyler Moore, for being such an icon for women.