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Barbara Walters

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Barbara Walters has died at the age of 93.

I’m just old enough to remember Gilda Radner’s parodies of her on the original SNL, which were admittedly funny, but also symptoms of how a woman doing what Walters did at that time — co-hosting the Today show in 1974, and then co-hosting the ABC Evening News in 1976, both firsts for a woman — was considered on some level an automatic target for comedy.

All of which is to say that the shift in gender roles that started taking place when Walters was already in her 30s (she was born in 1929) has been an immense social revolution, that we’ve only begun to come to terms with, and very incompletely at that. Walters was in her own field an important part of that revolution.

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