The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a television show related to the Liberation Movement, aired in September 1970 on CBS. It ran from 1970-1977, depicting a time of change and the rising of a woman’s power. (Television Shows of the ‘70s, n.d) A sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns is a show that would be remembered for decades and used to describe the independence of women in the 1970s. (Wikipedia)
Check here to watch the opening of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Actress Mary Tyler Moore portrayed a single woman in her thirties named Mary Richards. (Television Shows of the ‘70s, n.d) Her character connected to society during that time. Mary Richards worked for a news station, and was trying to break through as a successful woman. (Television Shows of the ‘70s, n.d.) Her driven attitude and ability to succeed was a breath of fresh air. Coming from a past society full of restrictions on women and the idea that men were superior, it was a new to television but would change the roles characters forever. Mary Richards didn’t need a man to be a provider. She was independent and able to live her own life with her own choices.
The show’s main setting was in the newsroom of WJM where Mary makes her way from associate producer of the 6 p.m. news to later the producer. Her tough boss Lou Grant (played by Edward Asner) and Mary had an interesting relationship. (Sanes, n.d.) He was hard on her, but had a sweet spot for her as well. As for Mary’s home life, she lived in a studio apartment. Her landlord and her neighbor become good friends of Mary’s as the show tackles many different issues. (Wikipedia.) Some of those issues include:
- Equal pay for woman
- Pre-martial sex
- Women in business
- Single women living in the city
Those different issues were big at the time of the Liberation Movement. Most of these issues never were accepted and to this day are not fully accepted at times. Pre-martial sex was shunned upon and the 1970s challenged the traditional lifestyle that was followed in the past. The idea of homosexuality was becoming more common in the 70s; however, it still was not an acceptable thing. Highlighting serious societal issues on television was a great way to make change and show change. I think television played a huge role in this movement.
My perspective: I feel The Mary Tyler Moore Show helped strengthen the Liberation Movement. As woman began to fight, television was changing along with them. TV producers and writers understood the idea of societal change and ran with that theme during this time. With television being a huge platform to reach a large audience, this show helped woman fight for their rights. This sitcom displays those qualities women were trying to highlight. I believe without television standing up and showcases successful women, it could have been a harder fight for woman than it already was to gain rights and freedoms for success.
Facts about Mary Tyler Moore: Mary Tyler Moore was born on December 29, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York. She is known for her role as the wife on The Dick Van Dyke Show and her role as an independent, career-focused woman on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. (Mary Tyler Moore Biography, n.d.)
Mary Tyler Moore Biography – Facts, Birthday, Life Story – Biography.com. (n.d.). Famous Biographies & TV Shows – Biography.com. Retrieved October 20, 2012, from http://www.biography.com/people/mary-tyler-moore-9413674
Sanes, K. (n.d.). The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Welcome to Transparency. Retrieved September 19, 2012, from http://www.transparencynow.com/mary.htm
Television Shows of the ’70s. (n.d.). Squidoo: Welcome to Squidoo. Retrieved September 20, 2012, from http://www.squidoo.com/70sTV
Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia. (n.d.). The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Retrieved October 8, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mary_Tyler_Moore_Show