Women’s Equality Day was this week and I couldn’t let the important day go by without taking a look at a few television characters who represent the gold standard of women’s equality.
MARY RICHARDS (THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW)
THE MARY TYLER MOORE was a groundbreaking show when it premiered in 1970. Mary Richards was the first independent, never-married career minded woman as the central character of a television series. Mary starts out as the Associate Producer of a local newscast in Minneapolis but is eventually promoted to Producer of the show. Much of the series revolved around Mary’s work and her relationship with her co-workers and friends. While Mary would occasionally date, finding a man and getting married was never the central theme of the show. Mary Richards was representative of women across America who were fighting for independence, equal rights and equal pay. Themes that are sadly still being debated today.
CLAIRE HUXTABLE (THE COSBY SHOW)
In the 80s, Claire Huxtable really did have it all. She was a African-American woman who was partner at a law firm; a mother who was present in all five of children’s lives and happily married. THE COSBY SHOW never questioned whether a woman could balance having a successful career and family. In many episodes Claire would be seen working on a big case, cooking dinner, managing her husband’s shenanigans and helping her kids with their problem of the week, all while perfecting the perfect “side eye.” Claire was smart, sophisticated, sexy and funny.
COOKIE LYON (EMPIRE)
When EMPIRE premiered this past season the character of Cookie quickly became a pop culture sensation. It’s important to note that Cookie represents more than her outrageous fashions and quotable quips. After spending seventeen years in prison Cookie returned to claim her family and music empire. While she worked on rebuilding her relationships with her three sons, she quickly proved that her value as part of the family’s music empire. Cookie can listen to a song a quickly figure out how to fix what’s wrong. While she might not have a formal education, Cookie’s confidence in the boardroom is unwavering among the many MBA’s in her presence. And when Cookie had a “reunion” with her engaged ex-husband, she made it clear that she was not going to be the other woman and if he wanted her he had to commit to her and her alone. Cookie stands as an example that you don’t have to let your past mistakes define your future.
Who would you add to the list? Comment below.