As seen on Huffington Post
This was supposed to be about Mary Tyler Moore.
As a young broadcast journalist, living by myself in a studio apartment, I couldn’t help but liken myself to Moore’s iconic character, Mary Richards, associate producer of the news at WJM-TV. Besides sharing the name Mary, we both produced the news—she in television and I in radio at the local NPR station. Mary modeled for us independence, encouragement, integrity and, that plucky quality her boss Lou Grant hated—spunk. I wanted to be just like her. Truth be told, though, I was a Rhoda, more bohemian and sarcastic than the well coifed, tailored and graceful Mary Richards. Still, to this day, when I think of that studio apartment—the first place I ever lived all by myself—or any young woman living alone in a studio, it always conjures up visions of Mary.
What was it about that apartment in Minneapolis? It encapsulated the freedom we had achieved through the women’s movement: to have career ambitions, to not need a man to support us or children to legitimize us, to have a place both literally and figuratively to call our own. And, like Mary, didn’t we all want to hang our initials on the wall to claim ownership of our place in the world?
Which is why this isn’t really about Mary Tyler Moore.
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