I watched Kirstie Alley with awe and admiration as she cart wheeled and leaped onto Mak’s shoulders during the “Dancing With the Stars” finale. To see a sixty-year-old woman of solid heft able to pull off gymnastics and dance with such grace and power was inspiring. Upon reflection, I realize that Kirstie represents many of us who came into womanhood in the 70’s.
We embraced the society-changing clarion calls of Gloria Steinem, Betty Freidan, and Erica Jong. Helen Reddy sang our anthem—“I am woman, hear me roar.” We honestly thought we could do it all—find an equal partner, get the great job, raise happy children, stay thin. Participate in the sexual revolution without taking any bullets. So, okay, it didn’t work out quite as well as we’d idealistically hoped.
Kirstie turns out to be a pretty good poster-child for the 70’s woman. She found commercial success, but personal happiness has been elusive. She fought her way through a maze of bad relationships, see-sawing weight issues, public humiliation. And yet, at the end of the day, she is standing strong, heading into old age with a youthful spirit, showing the world she won’t be anybody’s grey-haired old grandma.
I doubt Kirstie takes home the sparkling ballroom trophy tonight, but she’s walking off that dance floor a total winner. She represents the 70’s woman. Our waists are a little broader, our outlooks a little jaded, but we are strong and taking on whatever comes next with courage and optimism. Hear us roar.