A new social movement took center stage in the 1970s. It followed the lead of the civil rights movement, as well as the mounting protests against the Vietnam War. In this volatile era, the women of the nation were determined that their voices be heard above the din of discontent.
The women's movement of the '70s was in part a reaction against the type of happy homemaker that was often portrayed in television sitcoms of previous decades. Like it or not, girls growing up in the '50s would have been exposed to role models such as the housewives inLeave It to Beaver,The Donna Reed Showand Father Knows Best, women whose career goals were getting the kids off to school and serving dinner on time. A working woman as role model didn't come along until the late 1960s and early 1970s when shows such as Julia--where Diahann Carroll starred in the first nonstereotypical network TV role for an African-American woman as Julia Baker, a single mom who worked full time as a nurse--andThe Mary Tyler Moore Showin which Moore portrayed Mary Richards, a career-oriented single woman who is a news producer for a TV station in Minneapolis.
For many women, this change in viewpoints created a conundrum regarding long-held beliefs about a woman's role in both the home and workplace. They were caught between their desire to nurture and create a safe haven for their families and the desire to move beyond the confines of a life centered only on home and family. As they stepped forward into this new role, many were hindered by their own naivete regarding the politics and difficulties of surviving in a world that had previously been restricted to "men only." This is the feeling I have tried to capture in The Steel Canyon Legacy.