"You've Come a Long Way Baby": The Women's Movement, the Mass Media and the Rise of the Superwoman
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During the height of the feminist movement, from the mid to early 1970' s, films, television and literature altered their portrayal of women to include the liberated woman: the woman who demanded a wider range of experiences than that of mother and wife. She was opinionated, educated and overtly sexual, a far cry from the composed, well-coiffed lady of the early 1960's and 50's. Yet, certain feminine ideals remained, just as the theme song to Alice illustrates. The song immediately refers to her appearance. Because of her "fresh, freckled face," Alice's struggle to live on her own is charming instead of depressing. Although the movement called for a lessened emphasis on female appearance, something powerful enough to change fashion, beauty remained important. What it meant to be a woman in the 1960's changed dramatically; women consciously searched for themselves outside of traditional bounds. Yet, as a testament to the rapid change wrought by the movement, many of the trappings of traditional femininity remained. A female television character could be a single mom and blatantly reject traditional gender roles in order to find herself, but she had to be attractive and non-threatening while doing so.