Monday, July 26, 2010

It's a Mad, Mad World.

Just bringing you a wee bit of Mad Men-related self-promotion while I prepare several other posts for the blog. That said, stay tuned in the next week for my thoughts on the films Inception, The Kids Are All Right and (possibly) Salt.

First off, my article, "Feminism in a Mad World," is out in the current issue of Ms. set to hit newsstands August 10th (subscribers should receive or have already received the issue this week). I'll post a brief excerpt here, but you'll have to check out the print version to read the rest:
Set in the tumultuous 1960s and exploring the lives of philandering ad men, discontented housewives and sexualized secretaries, Mad Men may not immediately leap to mind as a great exemplar of feminist television. And yet, since the show emerged as the sleeper hit of 2007, going on to win the Emmy for Outstanding Television Drama two years running, it’s been a hot topic on the feminist blogosphere and around water coolers everywhere, alternately lauded for its strong female characters and criticized for its nostalgic rendering of the halcyon days of sanctioned workplace misogyny.

It’s true that Mad Men doesn’t shy away from the fast-paced, chauvinistic world of 1960s advertising and all that comes with it: the unchecked sexual harassment of pretty secretaries by male executives; housewives with little to do other than raise the children and serve as eye-candy at business dinners; uncensored racism, homophobia and anti-Semitism; and an old-boys-club atmosphere, complete with office drinking, smoking and philandering. But amidst all this homosocial revelry, Mad Men gives us a cadre of women characters who, like Peggy, are multifaceted and prodigiously fleshed-out—a rare treat for a television drama, a genre in which women are often given short-shrift in favor of the male protagonist.
If you just can't wait to think and talk about the intersection of Mad Men and feminism until the Summer 2010 Ms. hits the newsstands, feel free to pop on by the Ms. Blog and comment (please do comment, even if you want to argue with me!) on my review of the season four premiere (it's funny, so much has changed on the show, and yet my opinion of the show and its relationship to feminism hasn't changed that much in the past few years).

And...if you don't feel like reading at all, you can listen to my recent radio interview with Steve Jaxon on KSRO The Drive--again, discussing Mad Men--or catch me on Mary Glenney's Women's Show on Saturday between 10am and noon.

ETA: You can find a recording of my second interview about Mad Men here.

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