Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mad Women

Let's face it a show about high powered advertising executives in Manhattan set in the 1960's is bound to be a little sexist if not fully riding the chauvanist horse to its burning stable, and yet the women of 'Mad Men' (2007-) are the ones getting most of the notice (arguably, considering Jon Hamm has now hosted SNL thrice, and people suddenly recognize the name Vincent Karthreiser). But it's pretty much the trifecta, big city big boobed hussy Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks), awkward and somewhat cunty Peggy Olson (Elizabeth Moss), and the incredibly delectable poop of angels porcelain goddess Betty Draper (January Jones). 
Don Draper was voted the #2 most influential man behind Barack Obama on Askmen.com, conversely it was reported in The Telegraph that the climb in breast implants demand is due pretty much entirely to Christina Hendricks.
I think its safe to assume that women who watch the show are already by the second episode picking out which character they first are most like, and second want to be like. The answer to the first part is probably going to be Pegs, and the answer to that second part as almost always  Joany. No one can be Betty Draper, the dead ringer for Grace Kelly, it's just not feasible, on top of that she's pretty boring and stuck up. 
There are winey and catty housewives, sex starved cougars, and uptight stenographers enough to make their own satiric show that highlights how different those times used to be. Most of the other women from the Mad Men steno-pool are pretty much always treated with contempt and sarcasm and look almost identical, thereby are all rather forgettable. But if you're making a show set in the 1960's in New York, about high powered executives, there is a certain level of sexism that is unavoidable. But it doesn't seem to venture into objectification, or at least that which is unwanted. Joan's got ridiculously large breasts, they're there, the end, and her demeanor suggests that she could teach all of us a thing or 12 and can stand toe to toe with any of the smug office men and cut them down to size pretty fast. She's definitely the Mulveyian personification of the castration complex and she gets my vote. Now I have to learn to walk so boldly that people feel the impact tremor on the other side of the room, stuff pudding balloons into my bra, and speak so assertively and yet softly that men feel simultaneously threatened and turned on. Being Joan Holloway is an art, and a delicate one. Good luck all you Peggy's out there (including me)
Now that that's over, lets all vote for our favorite Mad Man, mine's a definite check in the box next to Ken Cosgroves name. I know that sounds generic, but I have to go with who appeared in my erotic dream first, and it was him, sorry John Slattery. 

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