"Misogyny has been an integral part of "Mad Men" since its first episode," says Sady Doyle in The Atlantic, but it is served up with a side order of "moral superiority." We are encouraged to shake our heads at the "sexist jokes [and] chronic philandering," and reflect on how out of control sexism was in the 1960s compared to our own egalitarian times. Although "Mad Men" allows us to "imagine that [sexual discrimination] is just one more of those things that We Don't Do Any More," the truth is we haven't evolved as much as we like to think. Here, an excerpt:
Of course the 1960s were sexist. But something about the show's Grand Guignol presentation of discrimination and contempt for women makes it feel unfamiliar: Our own lives, after all, are nowhere near this dramatic. And the fact that it's all being undergone by people in funny, old-fashioned outfits makes it feel comfortably distant...
To people who actually lived through the 1960s, the sexism of their culture didn't seem dramatic; the men who objectified and infantilized women probably bore no specific malice, and the vast majority of the women who found their lives constrained by those men didn't imagine that things could be different. Their oppression was invisible, because it was normal. In other words, they were like us.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Who are the real gay marriage bigots?
- Why is American internet so slow?
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- What the collapse of the Ming Dynasty can tell us about American decline
- Religious liberty should be a liberal value, too
- Watch The Daily Show mock Fox News' confused man-crush on Vladimir Putin
- Don't worry: World War III will almost certainly never happen
- The new bride who had a horrifying allergic reaction to her husband's sperm
- 22 TV shows to watch in 2014
5 surprising facts about left-handed people
Subscribe to the Week