Here is fair warning. When Season 5 of this PHENOMENAL show starts, I’m gonna be writing about it all the time. The gender issues are so spectacular I could dedicate this whole freakin blog to it.
I was gonna write about something else but then I wanted a Mad Men clip and then I found these AMAZING videos with cast/director commentary and I got led in a whole different direction. So click HERE, and watch the video 409, “The Beautiful Girls, and then read on.
Seriously, I’ll wait….
Ok seriously, how good is this quote “Ok Peggy, I guess we’ll have a Civil Rights march for women.” Its just too good.
But anyway these themes link to a conversation I was having in this apartment not too long ago, inspired by another series you may have heard of, Sex and the City. I have two roomates, and they are both boys and they are both Cancers. We’ll call one Kahn Crab and one Canada Crab because I love alliteration. So Canada Crab was calling Miranda, the super smart/independent/cynical lawyer, a bitch. And I was very ineloquently disagreeing with him. Here, hopefully more eloquently, is what I was trying to convey.
When women are making decisions about their professional lives, they are always more complicated than men’s decisions. As Matthew Weiner mentions, women’s roles have been largely defined by how they relate to men. Indeed, we are trained from a young age to consider the needs of others before our own. We are always doing for others, and when we aren’t doing for others we get called names (bitch is the main stinger.) Not only that, but it’s way harder for women to get to the top of their profession and they give up more to do it (see the video posted in “Confidence“.) Overwhelmingly, women do more of the unpaid labor that occurs in the home, and so it’s a big deal deciding whether or not to be career or family oriented because ultimately, it’s harder for us to do both.
Durning this minor disagreement, I stated emphatically (read: blurted out) that men get to have careers and come home to houses that women run. Canada Crab disagreed, but I stand by that statement. Ask any married man with a career, and the overwhelming majority will tell you that its the wives who run the household. Still today. 2011. Which is why Mad Men is so brilliant, because we get to marvel at not only at how far we’ve come, but also how little we’ve moved. Faye’s speech to Don at the end could absolutely come out of any professional women’s mouth today, in this city or any other. Women still take a man’s name, leaving behind their identity so that people can know they are someone’s wife. We overwhelming take on the role of caregiver, in a variety of circumstances. And work, for women, will always have two realms: the professional, and the second shift in the home. That’s why our decisions are fraught with more tension and heartache. In a lot of ways, the stakes are higher.
And now, a fun photo of Christina Hendricks, the love of my life, who is beautiful and also brilliant at playing the complex and heartwrenching character of Joan.
Breathtaking, I know. Go rent seasons 1-3 so when they release Seas 4 and I have a party at my place you can come prepared.