July 27, 2010

Mad Women: Any Guesses As To Don Draper’s Safe Word?

Filed under: Gender,Media — Tags: , — Rachel @ 6:19 pm

While most recaps focus on the entire aspect of a show, this one’s going to be a little bit different.  As this is a feminist blog deconstructing images and portrayals of women in pop culture, why spend an entire post rambling on about the men of Sterling, Cooper, Draper, Price.  Instead, these recaps will focus on the women of Mad Men – the main ladies: Peggy, Joan, and Betty, and any new additions or guest stars – hence the title “Mad Women.”

Peggy
Peggy has a new haircut this season, which I think is her best yet (not to be snarky, but thank god those bangs are gone).  She has a new coworker, who’s name I didn’t quite catch, except that Peggy says in a breathy voice “John” and he returns in the same tone “Marsha.”  (Thanks to the A.V. Club for providing explanation of this.)  It’s great to see her interacting and joking around, having her own office, running things.  However, Don was still an asshole to her (annoying considering how much she’s done for him over the years she’s worked for him – both personally and business related.)  Oh right Don, she’s never bailed you (literally) out of a bad situation, right?

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July 23, 2010

Mad Beauty

Filed under: Body Image — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 3:12 pm

I found Meghan Daum‘s latest article, ‘Mad Men’ shares a lesson on beauty, in yesterday’s Los Angeles Times fascinating.

The women of the 1960s and their ‘period bodies’ with normal proportions are rare today, and something to be envied.

The fourth season of “Mad Men” starts Sunday, and with it another round of opportunities to both marvel and gasp at how much things have changed since the early 1960s. Much of the genius of the show, of course, lies in its ferocious attention to period details. From the entrenched womanizing and nonstop drinking and smoking (even while pregnant!) to children who play with plastic dry-cleaning bags and family picnics that end with a flourish of litter shaken insouciantly onto the grass, “Mad Men” leaves no antediluvian stone unturned.

That includes body types. Watch some of the commentary features on the DVD editions and you’ll hear the show’s creator, Matt Weiner, refer to “period bodies.” What he means is that just as the show applies painstaking care to finding sofas and kitchen appliances exactly like those you would have seen in that era, it also seeks bodies — particularly female ones — quintessentially of the time. That means no ripped abs or fake breasts, no preternaturally white teeth. (A lot of people wear eyeglasses too — the horror!)

Read the complete article here. Thanks to Diahann for sending this my way.

February 15, 2010

For the Love of Christina!

Admittedly, I do have a disturbing, and probably diagnosable, addiction to “Mad Men.” From the word go I was stoked about the presence of the self-assured, beautiful, quietly defiant, and, of course, red-headed (!) female character, Joan Holloway. She was not so defiant that anyone would call her a bitch, and not so promiscuous to provoke the use of slut. Not an out-right activist or poster girl for any one’s feminism, but all the same she was fabulous. I remember being surprised that her body hadn’t been the topic of more hushed chatter. Well, until now it hadn’t. 

After this years Golden Globe Awards ceremony, New York Times blogger, Cathy Horyn, blogged/critiqued “you don’t put a big girl in a big dress. It’s rule number one.” Being one who automatically jumps to the defense of people I love (it’s a flaw), I was pretty irritated. Her husband, Geoffrey Arend, came to her defense discussing how hurtful the comments had been to her. As for Christina, in a recent interview with New York magazine she says that all the questions about her body “put a bad taste” in her mouth.

As the viewing public, we feel entitled to pick her out and discuss her body because she’s in the limelight and stands out from the normal, Hollywood-sized 22″ waist. The fact is that we are not entitled. We have to understand no matter how benign the comment seems when it first rattles around in our tiny, little brains these kinds of issues are a sensitive and contentious topic for most, if not all, American women. So, from the most seemingly innocuous, to the most obviously offensive we have to think twice before we speak these kinds of words as they breed insecurity and potentially harmful habits. We have to actively encourage and advocate for positive body image and self-confidence in our sisters, girlfriends, wives and daughters every time we have the chance.

So, for Christina, you are a stunning, confident, and talented woman! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, sister!

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