An Ode to Mary Tyler Moore and the Modern American Woman
Mary Tyler Moore, the ultimate lady hero, was an important and influential woman for a lot of people. At Modsy, we are a company founded and run by female leaders, and we would like to thank her for paving the way for us and other fierce females.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the first program to feature a single, independent, career-driven woman in a leading role. The show also marked one of the first instances that time prime-time TV turned an eye towards issues such as sex, birth control, and women in the workforce. Mary’s humorous, compassionate, and lively character offered a new depiction of the American Woman to her prime-time television viewers.
To celebrate Mary Tyler Moore’s legacy and her memory, we designed a modern version of her studio apartment for our twenty-first century single (and career-driven) ladies. Like Mary’s, this apartment, also set in snowy Minneapolis, has an open floor plan that is divided into a living/dining and entertaining space, a small office area, and a bedroom.
In the living room we selected a golden velvet sofa and the bold floral rug, inspired by Mary’s studio apartment on the show. We ditched the coffee table in lieu of a small cocktail table that can be used for dining and entertaining – multi-purpose pieces are important for small-space living. The two mismatched side chairs create the sense that the space was designed in pieces with objects collected over time, as the apartments of many young adults are.
For the bedroom we opted for a canopy bed to bring some drama to the space. Studio apartments mean that everything is on display – if people are going to see your bed, why not make it a statement?
Designed spaces communicate identity; our homes are not only the places where we live, but they embody elements of who we are. In the mid-twentieth century, apart from Mary Tyler Moore and her studio apartment, the only other depiction of women and their homes in the media was of the suburban housewife. By contrast, the alternative home-based identity for males was that of the single, heterosexual bachelor who lived in his trendy, urban penthouse.
Images of such “bachelor pads” were showcased in Playboy Magazine alongside centerfolds of naked women. These were dwellings created for the educated, tech-savvy, elite male with ample disposable income and sex appeal.
Mary Tyler Moore, by comparison, was also a single woman, living in an urban area, and focused on her career rather than finding a husband. Her home, as a trendy studio apartment communicates this, and she provides the female role model to her male, bachelor counterpart. Like the playboy bachelor pad, Mary’s home is open, designed for entertaining, and full of an eclectic mix of Mid-Century Modern and more traditional furnishings.
We love Mary Tyler Moore and are continuously inspired by her go-getter, boss lady attitude. Thank you Mary for being the incredible woman that you were, and for paving the way for the rest of us. Together we are going to make it after all.