Mad Men, Feminism and Why it Still Matters

This post is for young women. I see it as improving their relationship with themselves because history matters. Mad Men just began Season 4 on July 25 on AMC. Without question, it’s the best drama currently on tv. As a boomer, I delight in the accurate memories; like a kid spinning around in a plastic bag, who is simply told to take it outside. It captures a world I remember and a world I never knew, like the the upper class drinking volumes of alcohol. A Father in law offers $500 if a girl is born and $1000 for a son. The actresses even wear the pointy bras from the 1960’s which is only one of the many details they get right.Mad Men, Feminism, Peggy

It is watching Peggy who grows from a secretary to “one of the guys” who writes copy for advertising that reminds me why feminism mattered so much then. Her ideas are often laughed at even though later, she’s right. She was demeaned when she asked for a raise when the guys make a lot more. Peggy has more dignity and speaks up for herself and even said no (in the last episode) for the first time when they asked her to get coffee. Things have improved since then. I wish all young women 35 and under would watch to really learn how much has been accomplished.

Then on July 29 I heard Margaret Geller, an astrophysicist, give a lecture at Chautauqua. Someone in the audience asked about women being equal in her field. She was very forthright about how very difficult it is for women to succeed and there are very few women in leadership positions.

This morning I was reading Newsweek and the August 9th issue has an article called, “A Real-Life Comic Book Superhero.” Lily Renee Phillips began in comic books erasing mistakes in other people’s drawing in 1943. She went on to become a talented illustrator and story-teller. She is very important today because she, “inspires women fighting for a place in the mostly male world of comics.”

We’ve come a long way but not far enough. Many young women don’t realize the history of the women’s movement and what was important still has relevancy today.

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