I stumbled across the article pictured to the left while doing some unrelated research this past weekend. It’s an AP story in a 1972 edition of the Richmond News Leader, a terrific newspaper that served as the afternoon equivalent of the morning Richmond Times-Dispatch (except with a superior sports section) until the latter bought the former and merged the papers in the early 1990’s, thus ending the existence of the News Leader. This particular edition is from years before I was born, but provides a snapshot of the attitudes of the time, particularly as it pertained to women in sports.
The context is that Betty Burfeindt, a relative newcomer to the LPGA, had won back-to-back tournaments after previously struggling as a professional golfer. Note that the article recounts a tale of her having to sell her mink coat(!) to make ends meet meet and continue her playing career.
The notable fact about the article is the headline. Burfeidnt is not identified by name, but, rather, as “Blonde,” as in “Blonde Wins 2d Tourney In 2 Weeks.” The body of the article mentions “[t]he 26-year-old blonde from Caanan, N.Y. . . . ”
The AP—I’m assuming the AP crafted its own headlines then, but I don’t know that for certain—chose to refer to her simply as “Blonde,” despite the fact that she had just won her second consecutive tournament, a feat that might have otherwise been worthy of a more specific noun. The article also uses the classic convention of referring to unmarried women as “Miss [Last Name],” rather than merely “[Last Name].”
I suppose others would become irritated or, depending on the person’s proximity to a college campus at the time, even infuriated by this, but I just find it to be an interesting and mildly amusing cultural artifact from a much different world than the one in which we now live.