Friday, September 26, 2008

Truly? Madly? Deeply? Sexist or Feminist?

I think lots of you watch Mad Men out there and as I was thrilled to see it receive Emmy after Emmy because I think that it's savvy not only about the sexism where women are victims of ignorance and sensitivity but also all the subtle forms of power and power dynamics of the late 50s early 60. I think that those have morphed into other versions and that the show shows awareness of that to me, at every single turn. There was a real driving force in the sexism that came from women and men within the Madison Ave. advertising world and the women, men and families connecting into it and that force is employed variously, uncomfortably and surprisingly from episode to episode. Don Draper, for example, is slowly grappling with the difference between the smooth, debonair above-it-all figure he thinks he is and is starting to realize that he is seedier, more darkly-violent and weak than he ever imagined himself to be. I see that as deep indictment of the "heroes" that world. But because intelligent people don't necessarily agree with this reading of the show, I am wondering what all of you think about it.
Do you think its characters are self-aware and interesting in their gender relations both socially and personally? Do you think that the series is reveling in some way in the sexism it displays?


Amber L said...

I think you have some idea of how I feel about the show. I'm working on articulating my opinion in a venue better than the facebook wall. Stay tuned.

a-smk said...

I actually posted this because of your comment. I am genuinely interested in what people think about the show. I've been trying to get my mom to watch it as it was her era, her kind of office (almost) and seems to be really familiar. I'd be curious to see. She isn't super-theoretical or anything so it is more of interest to me personally, historically, but still. I've had lots of offline conversations about the series and they've been interesting.

a-smk said...

It's a hot topic, BTW, so a better venue might be (publishing-wise) very worth your while.