New York women have a long history in movies and TV - from ``My Little Margie'' and ``Kate & Allie'' to Holly Golightly in ``Breakfast at Tiffany's'' and Roseanne Barr's vengeful wife in ``She-Devil.'' Those characters and more were featured in ``Projections of the New York Woman,'' a recent show at the American Museum of the Moving Image, sponsored by New York Woman magazine. How does its editor, Betsy Carter, characterize the New York woman?
``You can't,'' she told me in an interview. ``That is the key characteristic about her.'' She is ``changing, curious, evolving. ... You couldn't just say she's a homemaker. You couldn't just say she goes to work. You couldn't just say she's a mother. In this city she can be all three. ... She's constantly in flux.''
Have movies and TV given us an accurate picture of the urban woman over the years?
``I think they've glamourized her,'' Ms. Carter says, mentioning a '50s movie about a magazine editor: ``They had a story conference ..., and all the ladies came in high-heels ..., and they all sat around a wonderful office, with hats on. And I thought: This has nothing to do with anything I've ever done at a magazine!''
Carter says Hollywood films have ``been more realistic, perhaps, when it comes to matters of the heart. There's no way to glamourize ... women with heartbreak. Women are always in beautiful apartments, though, in films. That's probably the most unrealistic thing.''
Since so many of the films in the show glamourized women falsely, was the show a good idea?
``I think it's a sweet idea,'' Carter answers with a smile. ``It's not completely nostalgia, because it's [dealing with] too short a time ago. But it reminds us how far we've come ... in a short time.''