By Tara Overzat
On Good Morning America the other morning, a guest was on lamenting that young girls don’t read Nancy Drew novels anymore (Is anyone really shocked? The books were antiquated when I was a child, and that was before the internet sped everything up tenfold.). She felt that little girls looked up to beautiful celebrities instead of brave women who thought for themselves and went on adventures.
When I was little, I didn’t know women who were lawyers or doctors or businesspeople. I did, however, stay up late to watch the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” on Nick at Nite.
(Remember when Nick at Nite showed actual old shows? The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rhoda, I Love Lucy, just to name a few? I don’t agree with putting Roseanne and The Cosby Show on Nick at Nite. It’s just another thing to make me feel old before my time- see Technology Makes Me Feel Old.)
The Mary Tyler Moore Show (MTM) starred Moore as Mary Richards, an unmarried career woman. Yes, an unmarried career woman well before this was en vogue. She had her job, her friends, and a bevy of suitors and that was it. And it was enough. Silly as it is to call a TV character a role model, she was showing that being a wife and mother wasn’t the only way to happiness and the life didn’t have to a game with family as the finish line.
I still hear from women of a certain generation today that college and grad school is a great way to meet a well-off husband. I’d much rather hear them say “Gee, going to school is a great way for a woman to have a good career and take care of herself!”
Nonetheless, there is a generation of young women ahead of me, in their thirties and forties who went to school. Some married, some didn’t and some divorced. They have good careers and strong social lives and are doing things their way.
These women are everywhere and we all know them- they may be our neighbors, our friends, our family, our coworkers or our significant others. Maybe that’s why you don’t see Nancy Drew in Barnes & Noble or The Mary Tyler Moore Show on On Demand. Who needs paragons of strength, intelligence and dignity, when they are standing all around us.