Bring Back the Liberated Woman

By Sarah Teegarden

This week we dived into the 1970s and I loved it. The chapter on liberated women and the new sensitive man was extremely interesting. I think that workplace sitcoms like The Mary Tyler Moore Show did a great job of displaying women’s desire for equality without making women appear mean or angry.

Judy Kutulas talked about how feminists had a negative stereotype during the 1970s. Feminists were considered bra-burning, angry women. Liberated women on the other hand were braless, independent women. This concept of the feminist woman versus the liberated women got me thinking about the women’s movement today. Kutulas mentioned in her video that the liberated woman idea is outdated, but I couldn’t help but question why?

Today, feminism focuses on sexual freedom, as Kutulas mentioned. I fully support women arguing to be powerful and sexy at the same time, that wearing tight dresses and heels doesn’t make her less smart or independent or authoritative compared to a man. Yet, I also think that the sexually free, modern feminist doesn’t embody feminism today.  Along with our sexual freedom, women still need to fight for equal pay and respect in the workplace. The 1970s liberated woman fought for those things in workplace sitcoms, and I think it is something that sitcoms need to continue to do. Yes, there are shows like 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation that show authoritative, respected women in the workplace but it’s not necessarily realistic. The whole point of the liberated woman was that she fought for independence and respect, while not being wealthy and already in a position of power; her struggle for respect was realistic and relatable for all women. In my opinion sitcoms should bring back the liberated woman. By doing so, sitcoms will realistically portray the fight for equality and respect in the workplace that women still experience in the 21st century.


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4 Responses to Bring Back the Liberated Woman

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with you. I feel that when shows try to portray exactly what a liberated woman is the get mixed up with the stereotypical sense of the ‘workplace’ woman and it is very unfortunate. Unfortunate because of the fact that the woman will continuously be misunderstood by society as they fight to gain independence and respect that they deserve as members of society.

  2. mediaphiles says:

    Last post by: Kim Bowen

  3. marymdalton says:

    Great post! I agree — let’s bring back the liberated woman (since I like to claim both liberated and feminist as titles!!!). Also, I think Kim raises an important point, and I think we need to think about liberation in both the public (work) and private (domestic) spheres!

  4. mediaphiles says:

    Yes! It’s almost like modern day shows focus too much on current feminist discussions and forget that there are still inequalities that exist in the workplace. Would be nice to have more focus on liberation like the shows in the 70’s while still focusing on current feminist messages.

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