Dr. Scholl's & Sex Roles.



Dr. Scholl’s sandals, the ones with the wooden soles.


Tab in the bright pink can.


Hamburgers cooked in a grease-filled frying pan.


Eight-track tapes.


Feathered hair.


Rotary phones.


While watching CBS’ new salacious and intriguing summer soap, “Swingtown” – set in the summer of 1976 in a Chicago suburb -- it’s hard not to get caught up in nostalgia. At least it was hard for me to stop reminiscing about my own 70s childhood while watching the show, starring Grant Show (best known as Jake from “Melrose Place”) . . . though I wasn’t nostalgic for the “swinging” part of the 70s as I hadn’t the faintest idea of what that was back then. (The show’s creator says he wrote the “Swingtown” scripts based on his memories of watching his parents and their friends during this era.) With distinct memories of my own parents listening to eight-track tapes of 70s music that dots the “Swingtown” soundtrack, I recognized clothing that my mom wore from that era on the show’s actresses, like the wide, denim skirt with the tie in front and the button-up red, white and blue patchwork blouse.


It was a time before the advent of cable TV, personal computers, the Internet, cell phones, MP3s, AC in nearly every vehicle, cassette tapes, fax machines, tele-commuting and infertility treatments. It was a time before women really stormed into the workforce en masse. Before people had even conceived of the phrase “work-life balance.” Before women started outnumbering men on college campuses. Before the Berlin Wall was rendered obsolete. Before the Soviet Union was no more.


Yet . . . here we are, in 2008, talking again about high gas prices like folks did in the late 70s. “Women’s lib” may not be an issue today per say, but, after the first serious female presidential candidate has folded up her tent and gone home, some of her supporters are still saying that garden variety sexism was a major factor in sinking her campaign. Also back from the 70s: Bell bottom pants, platform shoes with cork heels, clogs and espadrilles. The style for young men and boys’ hair is shaggy (think Zac Efron of “High School Musical” fame). Big sunglasses that practically cover half of your face have likewise been seen on the today’s celebs. Vinyl records are even enjoying a mini-renaissance.