John Wayne to Barbara Walters: “Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down”

There is plenty to read about Jill Abramson’s departure at the New York Times (Amanda Hess’s report on her influence on young female staffers at the paper is especially important, and Natalie Nougayrede’s resignation piles on to an already dreadful week for women in management roles), and I’ll add, tangentially, to the mix, this NPR interview with Barbara Walters, who’s set to retire from ABC News this week. Here she is discussing her early days working in a predominantly male environment:

It was lonely and it was painful. At one point I was on the air with a male partner who really didn’t want me on and made things quite difficult for me, but what saved me — two things that I think: one was letters from other women saying, “We’re going through the same thing,” in whatever field they were in, in whatever job they had, and “hang in there.” And I knew I had their support.

Shine Theory has been in effect for many years — and letters from John Wayne don’t hurt, either:

And the other thing was a telegram, believe it or not, that said, “Don’t let the bastards get you down,” and it was signed John Wayne. And I felt the cavalry was coming! So it was a difficult time, but if it helped other women — and maybe it did — then it’s a legacy I’m extremely proud of.