Two of the leaders of the feminist movement passed away this past week. Most people have heard of Helen Gurley Brown. For me, her idea of of the movement was having it all as long as the sex was good. And her magazine, Cosmopolitan, was just an off-shoot of Playboy, exploiting women under the guise of feminism.
Now, Phyllis Diller was a true pioneer. She was the first female stand up comedian to make it big. She went were no woman had gone before and she did it without using sex to get there. With her frazzled looking hair, the non-form fitting dresses, that wonderful barking laugh, the cigarette in that long elegant holder, and her hands and arms encased in long black evening gloves she poked fun at the "beautiful people". She was one of us, and we loved her for it.
She proved that women didn't have to be beautiful or sexy to make their mark on the world. All we needed was a sense of humor and the ability to laugh at ourselves. She opened the doors for the women who came after her like Joan Rivers and Roseanne Barr. It's still not easy for women to step out into what's considered a man's world but Phyllis Diller showed us what could be done with grace and a raucous laugh.