We can thank Mary Tyler Moore for making sure that women aren't confined to wearing skirts and dresses on television.
The leading lady of 1960s program The Dick Van Dyke Show convinced producers to let her character Laura Petrie wear pants, which they let her do on the condition that it was only in one scene per episode. Even though the network and sponsors were hesitant (because, you know, pants are really indecent), Moore was determined to prove a point. Her character was going to be realistic and not obsess over her perfect wardrobe. Over time, Laura began to wear pants more and more (Moore?) on the show, presumably because the producers got tired of the frequent wardrobe changes required to uphold their previous rule.
“Every housewife on television wore these floral frocks, with little bowties around the waist,” Moore once told Variety. “I want to do what I do in real life, what my friends do, and that’s be a realistic wife who wears pants and doesn’t care how she looks.”
YAS girl! In the 1960s, when women were portrayed as docile wives, Moore decided to make capris popular and acceptable for women to wear on television and, by extension, real life. Pretty feminist for a show whose pilot was originally called "Head of the Family."
Moore went on to star on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, in which Mary leaves her boyfriend of two years and emerges as an independent woman who rises in her career. Moore herself said that female viewers told her the show made them hopeful they too could be successful.
Eighty-year-old Moore died on Wednesday, and clearly we all owe her thanks for her dedicated commitment to accurately portraying women and style in 1960s television, as well as empowering women in countless other ways. Rest in peace, boss lady!