As a writer, I rarely know exactly where my next article will come from. Writing primarily when inspired to, new pieces are a culmination of things I see, read or that show up for me in often most unexpected ways.
My latest inspiration happened on one of my last days of walking the beach on my recent Florida getaway. As I walked watching the clouds above me, (where you’ll most often find my attention), my eyes were drawn earthbound to a very pregnant woman in a neon orange bikini proudly displaying her “about-to-give-birth” belly to the world.
Comfort In Our Body
Her comfort at showing her body immediately took me back to earlier times, my mind traveling from one decade to another on a trip down memory lane. Similar to how my stories meander in my book Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie.
First stop was August 1991, where I was reminded of the infamous and controversial Vanity Fair cover shot of an almost naked Demi Moore, seven months pregnant with her daughter Scout. This cover, photographed by the legendary Annie Leibovitz, was “culture jolting“, forever changing from that moment forward (against staunch outrage), what was acceptable to share and how we looked at the pregnant woman’s body.
When Pregnant Was Taboo
Then I travelled back even further in time over 60 years to 1952, when a pregnant Lucille Ball tried to tell her husband she was expecting a baby on her widely popular television series I Love Lucy. The script for “Lucy Is Enceinte” is famous for having to dance around even saying the word “pregnant,” as CBS deemed the word too vulgar for air. The result was the French word for pregnancy in the episode title.
This episode was considered scandalous at the time. Back then, Lucy and Ricky slept in separate beds and anything relating to the taboo subject of “sex”, was never shown or mentioned. We’ve come a long way from those days for sure.
You’ve Come A Long Way Baby
Then my mind shot forward to the very brilliant advertising campaign that surfaced back in the summer of 1968, hot on the heels of the Woman’s Liberation Movement. For of all things, a cigarette brand aimed at women. Yes, smoking was still acceptable to both women and men, as the health concerns related to smoking that are so prominent today, weren’t in the consciousness of most people back then.
Being a business/marketing major studying current advertising trends at the time, I clearly recall this unique campaign. After all, as one of only ten women in a class of four hundred male business students, a campaign aimed at women was revolutionary and immediately captured my attention.
Do you remember the rather tongue-in-cheek Virginia Slims commercials with their witty tribute to women and how far they had come? The tagline “You’ve Come a Long Way (Baby)–to get where you’ve got to today”, became a mantra for women everywhere. The campaign was wildly successful on several fronts. It not only sold lots of cigarettes, but to this day remains one of the most famous ad campaigns in U.S. history. Its tagline became a national cultural catchphrase. Watching the commercials again online brought back memories, cementing how cutting edge and entertaining the message was for those times.
How Far Have Women Come?
It got me thinking of how very far we women have come. And then I questioned, “Or have we?” In researching my most recent article on beauty from the inside-out I realized that women are still seen (or at least they perceive that they are) for their physical appearance first and only very gradually are perceptions being shifted so that “smart” is just as important as beautiful.
Kudos to brands like Dove (the grandmother of them all, for their campaign for Real Beauty) and Always (#likeagirl) or Sport England (This Girl Can), for all making strides in sensitive emotional based advertising campaigns. All speak to women and girls, with the goal of bolstering their inner confidence and self-worth, knowing that our image and beliefs about ourselves are formed during those childhood and teen years.
Keeping it Real
Immediately I thought of the recent photo of supermodel Cindy Crawford that went viral on Twitter, showing her gorgeous body (with stretch marks from childbearing), in a bikini. The picture was applauded for being a stand for women, honestly reflecting what women look like. And it was both beautiful and real. It was a topic of much conversation and universally women embraced this realness which we rarely get to see. Keeping it real with no touch ups or photo shopping.
The Oscars as a Platform for Women’s Rights
Fast forward a week, to the unexpected and now much talked about pointed Oscar acceptance speech by Patricia Arquette. She offered a timely message for us all, her speech being called “badass”, something that not too long ago would ever have been accepted in the media anywhere. The podium became her platform to take a stand for women and women’s rights, rights that have been a long time coming and still seem so far from happening. The impact of Arquette’s message is still reverberating out into the world, as the equal pay bill has been stalled and blocked from passing by Republicans in the U.S. Senate. It’s a reform that has truly been long overdue.
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” implored a fiery Arquette. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”
The crowd went wild and those of us witnessing from the comfort of our homes, caught the impassioned support of front row attendees Meryl Streep and Jennifer Lopez. Women themselves who command enormous sums for the work they do, yet still not even close to equal to their male co-stars.
Pay Inequality Between the Sexes
Then I remembered news from a few months ago, about the defaming leaked email correspondences of Sony Pictures co-chair Amy Pascal, which ultimately led to her firing. In an interview she admitted that women at the studio were being paid significantly less than their male counterparts. The equal pay issue on a higher playing field.
Pascal said the problem was much bigger than just her studio. “Here’s the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I pay them less money,” she said. “Women shouldn’t work for less money. They should know what they’re worth. Women shouldn’t take less. ‘Stop, you don’t need the job that bad.'” What about all the women who do need the job that bad? Who will stand up for them?
The Conversation Continues
As my beach walk was coming to an end, I stopped for a moment and smiled as I reflected on how far we women have come. Yes, we’ve come a long way ‘baby’ and I’m very grateful to have been here to be part of these advances women have fought for and made. I also know we still have a long way “to get to where we want to be”. Keeping this conversation alive can only continue to move women one step closer to being recognized and respected as equals, regardless of—anything.
Love to hear your thoughts. In what ways do you see that women have come a long way and what would you love to finally see women recognized for?
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Well, Beverley, you have a whole new chapter to write after the Women’s March. It’s sure going to be some interesting times going forward.
Joyce Hansen recently posted…Before You Stress Out Your Productivity
Agree with you completely, Joyce! I certainly do have a lot more to write about and to say and yes, we are now smack dab in the middle of very interesting times indeed!
I too feel women have come along way and have more opportunities within their reach.
I remember that Demi Moore shoot and i was only 11 back then!
Thanks Sonya! It is wonderful to hear how many of us do see how far we women have come, and yet there is a bittersweet addition to that…we still have a long way to go. I think that Demi Moore magazine cover was very memorable because it was the first and it actually outraged many people. Come a long way…let’s keep going!
I believe that we have come a long way but there is still a long way to go. Not to mention the new United States president (Not My President) trying to revert us back to a time long ago. I don’t care for Hillary Clinton either but love the fact that somewhere in the future there is going to be a female president. Like some of the protest signs declared this past weekend, ‘why do we have to even protest this stuff’.
Rachel lavern recently posted…Why You Need a Highly Effective Marketing Calendar
I am with you 100% Rachel, and even though I live in Canada, you echo my sentiments about what is happening in the U.S. and now around the world. I have the same question: Why DO we have to still protest the same things we fought for and one many years ago. Somewhere in our future, we will see the feminine energy rise on the planet and there will be welcoming and open arms for a female in any position, including president.
Fantastic post, Beverley, and timeless! I remember the controversy when Demi Moore was on the cover of Vanity Fair cover. We have made many steps, but there are still so many to take. I agree. We need to keep the conversation going! Thank you for taking us on this journey.
Thanks so much Robin! Yes, this seems to be a timeless and ongoing conversation in our world. We’ve come so far and yet still have so far to go, it seems. I also remember that Vanity Fair cover of Demi Moore and how outraged people were. It seems we have to keep pushing the barriers to finally get to the place where we see true equality for all. Appreciate your thoughts!
Great subject for an article Beverley! I think women have gone leaps and bounds and through the hoop.to the get the rights they so deserve. Although it depends on the woman who’s talking. In so many situations there is still astonishing amounts of inequality happening. It really is up to us to make the change big or small and we will get there.
You’ve really brought up a good point, Gilly. Some women seem to have come a long way and then there are still so many women who have not. There are still marginalized and discriminated people, both men and women and I believe it is up to us all to support them and speak up to encourage change for them. I am also optimistic and believe we will get there…it asks us all to take part and be active for the changes we want to see in our world.
Wonderful post Beverley!
Boy, us women have sure come a long way! It is so cool to think that we can be anything we want to be all we have to do is set our mind and believe and we will get there!
Back in the day, women were supposed to stay quiet and never upstand a man lol I am so glad I never lived back then, because I do not think I could of kept my mouth shut !! LOL
Thanks for sharing your insights and great thought on this topic 🙂 Always enjoy reading what you are thinking 🙂
Thanks so much Joan! Glad you enjoyed this post. I think we have come a long way, however, I am aware, like you are, that we still have a long way to go! You have stated exactly what part of the issue continues to be. An old school way of thinking about ‘a woman’s place’ in both the home and the world. Yes, things have changed but that patriarchal way of thinking somehow still persists. Time to stand up and speak up. Women have the power and it seems like it is time to use it. 🙂
Talking with my 20-something son recently reminded of how far we have come. He travels for his job as I did back in the 70s and 80s. Recounting how I carried luggage through the airport in hose and heels made me shudder. Love that jeans, flats, and rolling luggage have come along! Yes, even since the 80s, we have advanced!
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Great memories of your time travelling in the 70’s and 80’s Robin! When we look back, it truly is fascinating the things we did back then and how far we’ve come. Yes, thank goodness some of those things have changed. Now when we get to equal pay and equality for all…then we’ll have really taken a leap forward!
Well we do have come a long way, though there is, of course, always more to do regarding women’s rights, what to be able to say and do, etc. Though lately it also seems that the world is moving backwards…
Katarina Andersson recently posted…Monterotondo – Traditional Winemaking with Passion in Tuscany
I couldn’t agree more with you in your observation that the world is moving backward, Katarina! It seems we’ve taken two steps forward and then been thrust back five steps. We definitely have a long way to go when it comes to women’s rights and human rights too!
This blog is a great instigator of thought Beverley.
Having been on the cutting edge of the Feminist Movement in the early 1970s, I don’t see that we have come a long way. Actually, I think many of us women have, but there are many that have not. Today I am a successful business owner and have a fantastic life, but it did not start out that way. Most of my early jobs were ones where male bosses sexually harassed me. I remember being a struggling single mom with two young daughters working at Woolworths. Everyone got a free turkey for Thanksgiving as a bonus, except me. For me to get the bonus I had to do my work and sleep with my boss. Of course, I said no, but at that time I also used the food bank to put food on the table.
My comment here is not charged with anger or fear at all, but continued awareness is helpful in regards to equality. Women have an opportunity to become empowered and speaking out is important. Today women make 80 cents on the dollar to men. While that is much better than the 59 cents of the 70s, that is 21 cents in 40 years. We have the power to vote locally and nationally to make a difference.
Thanks for sharing your own memories and experiences with women’s equality, Candess. We have come a long way from where we were, but I agree with you, that we truly have not come far enough! There is so much more work to do and so many more walls to break down. I see part of the problem that we still have an ingrained patriarchal mentality in our culture. When more women rise up and stand up by both voting and even by running for office, that’s when we will truly see the feminine power rise and see the changes that are long overdue, happen. I appreciate your thoughts and reflections!
Timely article for me as my partner and I discuss the price points of our upcoming launch. We tend to want to price lower for more clients. But we are both resisting that idea and if it takes longer then, oh well, “we don’t need the job that bad”. It’s the truth! Thank you!
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That’s an interesting reflection, Anne! Women do often price themselves lower than they are worth, however, there are more coaches suggesting we make sure to value our expertise. It’s so important to show our worth in all we do!
It is fascinating to see the changes in how women are perceived today as contrasted with my youth. I remember clearly entering the work force and seeing that the proper dress code for women executives was a navy or black skirt..corresponding blazer, white blouse and that ridiculous bow tie scarf. Thank goodness we have stopped trying to look like men and have embraced our feminine side
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You and I are from the same generation, Alene and if I think back, I am not sure if we had a dress code when I entered the work force. I was afterall a business admin/marketing student, so I think pants were okay by then! I love how far we have come too, but see how far we still have to go too…
Sometimes the power is in the ability to have the conversation. Just this morning my wife and I were discussing her first job and how her boss wouldn’t promote a woman. Last night a friend stopped by and discussed how she couldn’t get her boss to talk to her but he would talk to her male counterpart. We just have to keep talking.
Renee groskreutz recently posted…Time Is A Giant Pain In My
Those are such great examples of how necessary it is to keep encouraging conversations, Renee! The key is to have both parties willing to engage in the conversation though. Yes, we do have to just keep talking!
We have come a long way, thanks to the brave and dedicated women before us who worked so hard for change. Because of them, I believe our path towards equality has been made much easier and will be achieved faster, even though we still have a long way to go.
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I truly hope you are right about our path being made easier, Tami. We have had many people stand up for change for decades now and it looks like we all need to stand up, speak out and contribute to the change we want to see.
Great article that really examines the differences of the past and how far we have come. Although we have a lot to go we have made a lot of strides which should be acknowledged. Thanks Great Article.
Thanks Lori! Glad this post brought up some points about how far we’ve come for you. We definitely do have a long way to go!
When I was younger I thought there was no limit to what I could achieve. Most days I still feel that way, but there is a reality that not all things are equal. I am so glad that I have lived and worked with strong women and wonderful men that have encouraged and supported me in all aspects of my life. It is my joy and privilege to do the same.
Like you Christy, I have always believed that there were no limits for me and that the world would be ‘fair’. And also like you, I see that isn’t the way things always play out, but am also grateful I’ve had men and women in my life who have encouraged me and supported me to follow my dreams.
I totally agree. We have come a long way. I am a true advocate for women and female entrepreneurs. My focus on both my blogs is to inspire women to be able to do what they want for themselves. I found that many men in management positions want to give women more, but their finance department ties their hands. Some years ago, I had a wonderful boss who went to bat for me so I could be paid more since I did work for the national company and not just my region. It was very inspiring, and I was grateful to him. I learned that unless your boss realizes that you are an asset, things will not change. So, the goal is to stand-up and make myself heard. Thanks for sharing.
What great experiences you’ve had in this area of equal pay, Sabrina, and I love that you have taken that as a guiding force for your two businesses. It’s really important that women support and speak up for other women. I thank you for doing that for us all!
I am so of 2 minds about this, Beverley. Yes, we’ve come a long way. Yet and still, the president-elect’s stance and statements about women make me physically ill. Worse yet, that half of this country accepted them and didn’t care.
Yes–we’ve come a long way. But we have a VERY long way to go . . .
Susan Mary Malone recently posted…Womenâs Rights are Human Rights
I’m with you completely, Susan! Yes, we have come a long way and like you wrote about in your post this week, maybe we have to remind ourselves sometime and not be complacent about the advances. I do feel that we are in danger and at a tipping point as well. This is no time in our collective history to stand by and wait and see what might happen. The more of us who speak up and out, the more chance we have to preserve the gains we’ve made and then to move forward. Indeed, we’ve come along way…got a long way to go…
You raise the question, have we really have made progress since we are still talking about it. I say yes, we have made tremendous progress AND to keep that going we must still keep talking about it. Mainly it seems it is women talking, but that’s ok. Just keep talking & someone will take some action for change & the ball starts moving forward. Heck, we could have a female president. That is change & her salary will be the same as her predecessor.
I agree we have made progress as well Roslyn. The key as you mention is to keep the conversation alive and as part of the bigger cultural conversation. Watching the presidential primaries I do see this is one of the key issues that is being discussed and this is why so many young people are turning out to support candidates like Bernie Sanders and possibly Hillary Clinton. Change is inevitable, and it takes many voices raised together as one to move the needle on this big issue. It has been a long time coming!
Great post, Beverley. I especially connected to the part about women’s pay and not needing the job that badly – but what if you do?! Great question. Of course, I connect a lot of it to self-worth and self-love, and women’s natural generosity and humility – oh this? It’s just what we do naturally. It’s time we value our own contribution more, much, much more. Thanks for a great discussion. xo, Reba
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My sense is we are moving quickly towards more equality, Reba. It just takes more women to stand up and speak out and continue to unite and keep the conversation alive and in the world. Some people are “stuck” because they do need the job and in many ways the “system” has been designed to keep certain groups of people down. As we all rise up both individually and collectively, I do believe the status quo will change. Thanks for your thoughts. xo
What a lovely look back at what’s been accomplished, snapshot of where we are now, and honest recognition of what’s still left to do. Thanks!
Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest) recently posted…Anatomy of a rebrand — part 1
Thanks so much Sue! Even though we have come a long way, we do have a long way to go. Appreciate you weighing in.
Women HAVE come a long way! You have covered a most complete list of just how far we have come Beverley, and I totally enjoyed reading this. Now, it is time to believe we have everything we need inside us to enjoy our journey with confidence!
Thanks so much Cheryl. Glad you found some of the things in this post, memorable and a recap of women’s progress through the last several decades. I agree with you too. We do have everything we need and it is up to us to keep the conversation alive to move forward, and hopefully implement even more advances for ourselves as we continue the journey.
I, too, think women have a come a long way. Would I would like to see happen going forward is to have women become more confident in their worth, skills and abilities. I want them to be proud of their achievements and tell the world about them. I want women to speak up for themselves, so they each parity. OK — that’s a good start!
We have come a long way, Jackie. And we do still have a ways to go. It is about embracing and acknowledging our worth and talents as you mention and then having the confidence to go out and share ourselves with the world. I also want more women’s voices in the conversation, as that is the only way to actually get the shift to happen. That is a good start! Thanks for sharing.
The gift of motherhood cannot be overemphasized. Your example of a pregnant woman who is proudly displaying another life soon to see the light of the world is a manifestation on how great a woman is. The intricacies of pregnancy is beyond compare.
Lorii Abela recently posted…Top Signs He’s Not Into You
Being a mother is definitely a glorious experience and the fact that women will now proudly display their pregnant bellies, is truly a sign of how far we have come, Lorii.
Lovely, thoughtful insights about our journey as women.
Another idea that’s emerged is around how women presented in the workplace and boardroom.
We used to feel the need to come across more masculine to compete with men. Now, we want to be respected but retain our femininity.
Thanks for your lovely comment here, Sharon. Yes, women have also come a long way in regards to believing they need to appear masculine to compete with men. The wonderful part is it appears to be somehow equalizing the genders. Men are realizing they can show their more feminine side and women can relax and retain their femininity.
You’ve got that right, we sure have come a long way… though I wish the men would come to the same time… where we should all be equal… we are working but yet still “have” to manage the house and the family on top of that… urgh
Kristen Wilson recently posted…The Goldmine of your Business
Yes, Kristen, we’ve come a very long way and I believe we are seeing more advances in “equality”, maybe than any other time in our history. There are so many cultures who have no value at all for women and even here in North America, somehow there does seem to be a lot of things that need to change. My rose-coloured glass optimism likes to believe we are getting there!
The word “pregnant” was considered vulgar? Seriously? Thank G-d we’ve evolved but I think we still have a long way to go especially if you look around the world at countries that still treat women like they are property.
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Yes, indeed, we have come a long way Beth! And yes, saying someone was “pregnant” was taboo for many years. Hard to imagine, but true. And yes, we have come a long way, yet we do have a long way to go. Especially as you point out, in countries where there is no equality at all for women and they are still considered to be property. I hope that things continue to change and evolve on this planet. And maybe one day the word “equal” will actually be a truth.
Another insightful post Beverley! There are so many ways in which we (women) have ‘arrived’, ‘made it’ or however you want to phrase it. I believe until women support women we won’t have true strides in pay (for example). Hopefully, as celebrities go public there can be incremental changes for all of us!
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Thanks so much, Liz. Appreciate that you found this one insightful. I agree with you, that when women support other women, we will have many more shifts in areas that still need to change. We have come a long way. There is no disputing that. How much farther we still have to go though. And yes, as more voices join the conversation, celebrities or not, the chances for change increase exponentially. I see it already in how brands are speaking “to” women where they are at, not “at them” which has been the way things have been for so long. The times they are a changing. And it is exciting to see the momentum as we move forward.
We have definitely come a long way, baby! Thanks for such a great article.
Thanks for Christie! Glad you enjoyed the post. And we have indeed come a long way, baby. Still got a long way to go…
This is such a great article and it sure takes me back… Yes – we have come a long way. I personally love chivalry. I think it all depends on the woman. I personally wouldn’t want anyone to see my naked body when I was pregnant or now, for that matter. Somethings just don’t need to be out there – to the world – in my opinion.
Bobbi Raffin recently posted…31 Days of Proverbs – Day 19 – Grow A Wise Heart—You’ll Do Yourself A Favor
So happy to hear that this piece took you back in time, Bobbi! And that you get how far we have come. I agree that each of us has our own way of knowing what works for us, and I still believe that chivalry can go hand-in-hand with women being empowered. I am also a person who wouldn’t be comfortable at all showing my naked body to the world. That is the great thing about the times we live in. We all can choose what works best for us.
Very interesting journey through time. I forgot about Lucy and Ricky’s separate beds lol. Things have definitely changed and it took reading this to realize how much. So many good changes and many more to come.
Thanks Michael! Glad some memories were stirred up in this piece. And yes, we have come a long way and times have changed. There are indeed many more changes on the way as well.
What a brilliant post, Beverley. You’ve really summarized the progress of women in the USA particularly and it’s an article worth bookmarking. I remember all those examples very clearly and hope that this undone step, giving women equal pay for equal work will happen soon.
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Thanks so much Beth! I do appreciate your support and how you “get” what I am writing about. And always happy to take people on a trip down memory lane too. Women are gaining momentum and I believe the next step is on its way. There is a lot of conversation in the world about this topic now, so the more people who let their voices be heard, hopefully the sooner the shift happens. Thanks for adding your voice to conversation!
I feel that women now have so many more opportunities to them in the work force and that it will continue to grow even more as time continues.
Thanks for the blog post Beverley.
There are definitely a lot more opportunities, I agree Heather. Times have changed dramatically in a short amount of time and there are still many more changes to come. Appreciate you reading and commenting too.
I just had this conversation with my 28 year old son, but it wasn’t me trying to educate him, it was him educating me. Change can be made if women become more aware of the divide between pay for men and women. Not to become depressed or feel helpless, but to do exactly what you’re doing…by educating, reminding, and generating a conversation. Thank you Beverley.
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Thanks for your input on this topic and interesting to hear how your son was giving you a bit of educating. As more women become aware of possibilities they can raise their voices and with so many in the conversation, I believe things are sure to change. The key is to keep the conversation alive and as you said, by educating and reminding people how far we have come, and how far we still have to go. Appreciate your voice in this conversation, Kristy!
Thanks for a great post. And I think women and their rights have come a long way. Over here where I live now in Italy women still have quite a long way to go, even if in their context they have come quite far. But they need to act more, claim their rights, and not as often play the passive role of not being able to do anything, that others should fight for them…etc. 🙂
It is interesting to hear how women in Italy have still not claimed their rights and play passive. Even here in Canada, many of the older Italian women still embrace the traditional roles of looking after their husbands and households, even if they go out to work. I know some women who plan everything around their husband and his schedule. I never really got this and might have been a bit of a rebel, as I did what was important to me, as long as it didn’t hurt and hinder the important people in my life. Thanks for sharing an inside look at your experience living in Italy!
Love your memory/history lessons. I feel like I’m watching jeopardy and having to think back in time or go to a related category. You do a great job capturing and keeping my interest. As always.
Thanks for coming along with me on the trip down memory lane! Glad that what I write holds your attention and your interest. Love having you share here. Thanks Roslyn.
Absolutely fabulous post, Beverley! So much progress. Yet, so little progress. One step forward on this front; whoops, two steps back on this one. You have identified the key element here: keep the conversation going and keep on moving forward.
Thanks so much for reading this one, Deb. It is such a hot topic to observe of how far we have come and yet how far we have to go. And yes, keeping the conversation going is the key. Vital to transforming it and moving it forward to stay.