Marlo in her pre-techie days
When you have lunch with Marlo Thomas, you certainly don't feel like you're talking to someone who could be celebrating the 45th anniversary of her own hit TV show. These days, she's tweeting, blogging at Marlothomas.com, creating dynamic online videos for her own show on AOL, Mondays with Marlo, and curating women’s content for HuffPo. See her latest, on women in television and all the strides we've made, here. Indeed, she’s doing that That Girl thing again: challenging the stereotypes.
We’re both all about 24-7 connectivity. For both of us, it’s not just about keeping up, being in the know, or taking care of business; it’s all about proving that technology is not the new gender divide. Whether we’re on the blackberry (me), the iPhone (Marlo), or iPads (both of us), we consider ourselves proud early adopters, women who aren’t afraid to learn how to use the world’s most cutting edge technology. After all, these gadgets allow women to do what we’ve always been best -- connecting with one another -- even better.
Women all over the world are early adaptors and effective users, but you wouldn’t guess it from ad campaigns, tech conferences, or by reviewing the headshots of Silicon Valley executive lineups. Not too many women in the C Suites. Of course, as Marlo and I know firsthand, as two women who started and ran our own production companies, there have never been many women media CEO’s and even fewer women media owners.
Now that technology companies are becoming media companies, old media stars like Marlo are hot new media personalities. Truth be told, some of Marlo’s new fans online may have never seen her on TV, but they’re connecting with her ideas and liking her style. I remind Marlo that some of this resonance may come from the power of a TV show she produced, which also became a best-selling children’s book called Free to be You and Me. It liberated millions of young boys and girls to be whatever they dreamed they could be.
Now with global connectivity and social media tools, freedom has some new allies (in most parts of the world, in any case.) Marlo reminds me, women have a new ally, too: technology. By the end of our lunch we decided we will travel to Silicon Valley together and stir up some momentum for a high-tech feminist movement. Who’s coming?
This post originally appeared at the Paley Center for Media's Pat Connects blog.