Before Sex and the City, we had Holly Golightly, the fabulous single lady portrayed by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. In the upcoming book Fifth Avenue 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman, author Sam Wasson argues that Hepburn's portrayal was one of the first to glamorize the single, city-dwelling woman.
In the 1958 book on which the movie was based, Truman Capote made Golightly a racy call girl, a far more controversial character who was tamed for the big screen. In the latest issue of New York magazine, Wasson says the casting of Audrey Hepburn made Golightly a more aspirational figure:
"Before Hepburn, there was the prude and the slut, and the reality of in-between had no cinematic correlation. If Monroe had played her, she would have just been a hooker. That was when I got the power of the movie, and the genius of casting Audrey Hepburn."
In a much-discussed season two episode of Mad Men, the creative types at Sterling Cooper argue that all women fall into two camps: the Jackie or the Marilyn, the Madonna and the whore. But being a "Jackie" also means being a mom, so for single women, perhaps the Marilyn vs. Audrey dichotomy is more accurate. What do you think?