Has 'Mad Men'-style sexism really disappeared?
Fans of "Mad Men" shake their heads at its portrayal of sexual discrimination in the 1960s, says Sady Doyle in The Atlantic. But things haven't changed that much
"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.