The girls of Gen X say goodbye to favorite Angel
Dear Farrah Fawcett,
I'm sure you understand why Michael Jackson's death has taken over the airwaves and blogosphere, but the folks you've touched remember you, too. You might not be on the front page, but people are still talking.
People are talking about The Poster. People are talking about The Hair. People are saying you were a pretty face, but more than that, too. They're praising your battle with the disease that finally killed you. And they're talking about The Poster some more.
One swath of your adoring public is isn't talking about The Poster so much. Gen-X women are talking about Jill Munroe, the character you played on "Charlie's Angels," and how you taught us to kick butt.
For an entire generation of girls, that was your legacy. And even some of the girls born later who are fans of Sigourney Weaver in the "Aliens" franchise, Carrie-Anne Moss in "The Matrix" and even "Xena," know that Jill Munroe & Co. were the first soldiers on the female action hero front line.
The grown-up critics at the time derisively called the show "jiggle TV," and maybe it was, but that was lost on us. To us girls, "Charlie's Angels" was an exciting fantasyland where cool ladies in sweet outfits got to pack heat and run down the bad guys.
The feminist elders at the time dismissed the show as sexploitation, and it certainly may have been, but that went way over our heads. All we cared about was that now we had this fun game to play with each other after school. Some kids escaped into cops and robbers, but the girls of the '70s played "Charlie's Angels."
It went down like this: Everyone would pick which Angel they wanted to be. Farrah, I hope you know that everyone fought over who got to be Jill Munroe. And then, we'd run around together, our fingers twisted into pistols, acting out all sorts of scenarios where we'd outsmart the criminals while flipping our hair.
It felt like true liberation to find this funnel for our energy: to run, jump, roll on the ground and have purpose in our play. We fed off of each other the way we saw the Angels do it: friends before all with a little sass for everyone else. It wasn't lost on us how the Angels often used their feminine wiles to entrap clueless men. So who was being sexploited again?
Farrah, you only stayed on the show for one season, but your gift of Jill Munroe still lives on with the grown-up girls of the 1970s. They took to Twitter to offer homage.
"I was a Charlie's Angels gal. In the neighborhood, I was Jill until Kris (Munroe) came along. I had the silk jacket," said one. And another: "RIP Farrah! My 5th grade hair do was the Farrah and Jill (Munroe) taught me girls could be beautiful AND kick butt! Best hair toss ever!" And this one, too: "So sad that Farrah Fawcett lost her battle with cancer. Rest in peace Jill (Munroe) (I was totally her when we played Charlies Angels)."
Know that there are lots more just like it out there, Farrah. It's not wrong to be remembered for The Poster, The Hair or The Battle, as long as it's not forgotten that you've left a lasting legacy for something very different among a bunch of women who used to be little girls.
Girls of the '70s