Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Man Men and the question of feminism

In honor of Mad Men season 2 released on DVD this week, Jezebel has put together 15 feminist moments in Mad Men. They range from women actively taking control of their lives to men exerting privilege over women in both domestic and public spheres. Regardless of if you've seen the show, it's worth checking out.

The implicit and explicit logic behind this list is that the show is, indeed, feminist. Mad Men's creator, Matt Weiner, believes his show is feminist "exactly because of its painfully accurate portrayal of the treatment of women in the workplace in the early 1960s."

I'll put this point up for discussion - in a show that frequently depicts vastly unfeminist actions - blatant sexual harassment, patronizing attitudes by male characters towards female characters regardless of relationship (boss/secretary, husband/wife) - can we consider it feminist? Does the stark portrayal of this world expose the sexism of the times and put it in absurd contrast to the inherent sexism of today?

Or does it fail, unable to make that leap and just remains to reinforce patriarchy in a work enviornment?


DaisyDeadhead said...

I love MAD MEN! I can remember all of the furniture and fashions from my own childhood; my mother had a hairstyle just like Betty's.

I consider the show is VERY feminist. (And I love Christina Hendricks !!! That photo at Jezebel is stunning!!!) Peggy's pregnancy is one of the best pro-choice storylines ever.

lindsay said...

Or at least pro-sex education and pro-birth control! If you're pregnant and don't know it, something was missed in school.