The Way We Were: Life Magazine Photos Of Women In The 1970s

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As you may know, the Life magazine photo archive is now online, and we've been showcasing images of women in different decades; the 1930s, the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s. Now, the 1970s.

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I've been wondering, while searching, why I haven't been getting as much variety as I'd hoped. Using the search engine, I've used the keywords "women" "woman" "female" and "fashion" or "style" or "models" or "actresses." And last night, it FINALLY occurred to me to try "girls." And of course, all these pictures of women came up. Surfer girls, chorus girls, girls in mini skirts. That's how they were captioned back then. It never dawned on me that I was being too modern about it. So. If you want to see "girls" of the 1930s, "girls" of the 1940s, "girls" of the 1950s or "girls" of the 1960s, I encourage you to poke around, and supplement my galleries of women in these decades.

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And now: the 1970s.

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California Girls. 1970.

The dog and the chick are living the dream.

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Weightlifting Girls, 1972.

Former gymnasts and ballet dancers: Can you recall that thick itchy texture of the aptly named, unflattering thing known as the leotard?

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Aspen girls, 1971.

Wow. Just wow. There's a whole series of shots on the "Aspen girl" lifestyle, which seems to involve skiing, swimming and booze.

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Illustration for article titled The Way We Were: iLife/i Magazine Photos Of Women In The 1970s

Youths waiting at Battery Park to see Pope John Paul II. New York, 1979.

Only one young lady doesn't mind waiting to see the Pope. The others are all, "Come on, your holiness. It's freakin' raining."

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LIFE Cover 4/2/1971 of pregnant teenager reading in front of class.

Don't you love when the years change and the headlines stay the same?

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Enthusiastic and resolute women in large parade down Fifth Avenue on the 50th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted the women the right to vote, as they march for further women's rights. New York, September, 1970.

As the kids say: Awesomesauce.

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Six generations of women from an American family. 1972. Photograph by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Amazing! So cool how some of them have glasses and all of them have the same wide mouth.

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Illustration for article titled The Way We Were: iLife/i Magazine Photos Of Women In The 1970s

Signs saying "Women Unite" carried by women supporters during "Women's Liberation" demonstration on Fifth Avenue and on Wall Street. New York, 1970.

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That is unite, not "untie."

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Renate Stecher (R) in action during the women's 100 meter race at the Summer Olympics. Munich, 1972.

Do the American uniforms look like Garanimals?

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US track athlete Mabel Fergerson in action at the Summer Olympics. Munich, 1972.

Fantastic shot.

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Navajo woman modeling turquoise pins & a squash blossom necklace made by Native Americans. New Mexico, 1972.

Gorgeous. Want!

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80 yr. old actress Mrs. Judith Lowry on motorcycle with grandson. 1970.

You don't even have to check Ms. Lowry's IMDb page to know that she is your new favorite person.

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Congresswoman Bella S. Abzug attending political rally. 1972.

The word champagne and that hat and that dress = not politics as usual.

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A female employee checking the gun that her boss keeps in the building for security purposes. 1972.

Note to self: Don't work here.

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Female engineer Janet Petra Bonnema who was banned from a tunnel construction site because of superstitions. 1972.

Those fools! Have you ever heard of such an idiotic thing?

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Democratic Reprsenative from California Mrs. Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. 1972

Yvonne Brathwaite Burke was the first African-American woman to represent the West Coast in Congress. She was a member of the California State Assembly from 1967–1973; was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives initially representing portions of Los Angeles from 1973–1979; represented the 4th district of L.A. from 1979–1980, and retired from the Los Angeles County board of supervisors on December 1 of 2008.

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LIFE cover 08/21/1970: Mini skirted woman looking at a midi skirt for possible purchase.

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This is an amazing photograph and proof that hem length is news-worthy!

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Young African American girl blowing on a whistle. 1971.

I had a dress like that. Smocking was big.

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Director Matt Cimber (R) directing the making of porn film "The Sexuous Woman." Hollywood,1970.

Sorry, but sex in that car cannot be comfortable.

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Comedinne Phyllis Diller listening to the heart of a young woman during a "Stop Smoking Cruise." 1970.

El oh el at her eyebrows and watch!

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Bizarrely dressed woman spectator at Watergate hearings. June, 1973.

"Deep throat is people!"

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Gloria Steinem kneeling down beside Bella Abzug during the Democratic Convention. 1972.

This one seems like a good Hanukkah gift, no? Don't forget that any of these can be purchased framed!

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Naked woman modeling body paint, which consists of a lei around her neck and pieces of fruit on her abdomen. 1970.

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Yes, but: Why?

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African American woman sitting on a motorcycle w. her child, part of the growing numbers of black motorcycle enthusiasts. 1971.

That kid definitely knows his mom is cooler than all of the other moms.

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Employees of Saks Fifth Avenue watching a fashion show promoting midi-length skirts. 1970.

That front row is all disapproving malcontents. Love them.

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Actor Rock Hudson sitting on MGM lot w. eight midi-skirted starlets who play opposite him in "Pretty Maids All In a Row." Hollywood, 1970.

Each of these dresses is wonderfully ridiculous in its own special way, and Rock Hudson knows it.

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Instant Dress, 1972.

This dress also came in blue, and hopefully with instructions. It was called the "Instant Dress" but appeared to be a nylon sarong.

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Instant dress, 1972.

Serving suggestions.

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Actor Curt Jurgens w. wife and two female companions lathering up in a bathtub he had built in his den. France, 1972.

I want to go to there.

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Candace Bergen, 1970.

This woman should always be surrounded by pastel rainbows.

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Jane Fonda, 1971.

Jane Fonda, doing what she does best — bucking the system.

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LIFE cover 05/07/1971 Feminist Germaine Greer.

Oh, hey!

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Newlyweds kissing in heart-shaped tub on honeymoon at Cove Haven resort in the Poconos. 1971.

That camera on the tripod just left there all alone is Creepcity, USA.

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"Lance Link - Secret Chimp" - TV Program. 1970.

Really? Really, America?

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Contestant and Life Magazine reporter Judy Fayard on TV game show, "The Dating Game." Hollywood, 1972.

Sending out a big kiss to one of the best shows ever!

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Cover of LIFE magazine dated 06/09/1972 w. pic of feminist Congresswoman Bella Abzug.

Again: Don't you love when the years change and the headlines stay the same?

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Graduating African Americans wearing African style fashions at Howard University, during commencements. 1970.

Loving those glasses on the far right.

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Kids' Wigs - J.C. Penny's Dept. Store. 1970.

Kid wigs! Click to see more styles!

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Children at school bus stop. North Carolina, 1971.

Headband? Check. Glasses? Check. Braces? Check. Short-shorts? Check. Floral notebook? Check. Graphic jumpsuit? Check. Awesome sneakers? Check. Too cool for school? CHECK!

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Life Magazine Photo Archive [Google]
Earlier: The Way We Were: Life Magazine Photos Of Women In The 1960s
The Way We Were: Life Magazine Photos Of Women In The 1950s
The Way We Were: Life Magazine Photos Of Women In The 1940s
The Way We Were: Life Magazine Photos Of Women In The 1930s

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DISCUSSION

otherginger-old
otherginger

Is that really Germaine Greer, as opposed to Meryl as Karen Silkwood?

Amazing to think how "revolutionary" a mid-length skirt could be - enough to constantly refer to the "midi"ness.

God we wore hideous clothing as kids in the late 60s/early 70s. I can remember a purple and green poncho I loved; it had fringe, and various ecology-related slogans all over it. Went fabulously with all the plaid pants...