“Nothing fits both sides of a woman better than Playtex.” This headline is one of many female directed ads that appear on the AMC hit show Mad Men. Set in the 1960’s, Mad Men takes place during a time period where men are the bread winners and women are the pretty housewives. The show follows the activities at Sterling Cooper, a fictional advertising agency in New York. These men who work in the field of advertising are labeled as “mad men”. The show dives down deeper into the social rules of gender and allows the viewer to see what it was actually like during these times. Mad Men accomplishes this by capturing how characters live their everyday lives. As the show continues, the characters evolve and fans get better insight on how females and males were supposed to act and think during the time period. While the show focuses on both male and female gender roles, Mad Men skews most of its controversy from the women of the show.
In today’s day and age, women are independent hard workers in many fields, in Mad Men however, this is not the case. On the show women are viewed as weak and accessories to men. Several of the women are seen as either housewives or secretaries. Back in the 1960’s this was viewed as normal nonetheless. Women in this era were limited by the constructed social norms of society. Throughout the course of the show, there are female characters that can represent the types of women during this time. One of these women is Peggy Olsen.
Back in the sixties, a woman’s usual job in an office setting would be as a secretary. This is where Peggy Olson started at the beginning of the show. Peggy is an ambitious woman who wants more than just being a secretary. Unlike the other fe...
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...should be. As a child she was observant of her mother and the lifestyle she lived. Later in the show Sally is introduced to Megan and her independent lifestyle. Sally’s character represents the confusion that many young girls had about their lives. Many did not know whether they should aspire to be like their mothers before them or strive for something different.
While Mad Men has many other issues that it addresses, gender role is a topic that usually comes up in every single episode. What the show does well is bring to light the obvious problem of sexism during this time in America. Through the voices and actions of the female and male characters on the show, Mad Men gives insight to the viewer about how different gender equality was during this time. Mad Men sells its portrayal of women, showing that their advertised life was not as fabulous as many had thought.
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