Mad Men as feminist history ala 60’s…

It’s interesting for me to watch this show in terms of feminism.  Not just my mother’s (this was her era) but mine ala 80’s and the differences.

I haven’t really been interested in watching television until this show — seriously.  Probably because it has so much design power.  I love the designer’s work above and also the costumes and sets.  They really bring alive that era.

Last night was most interesting — in terms of the dilemma between the office “baby doll” ala Monroeqsque type and the more serious almost pre-feminist type at work.

In that era this was on my mother’s bookshelf:

In the 70’s as a young teen I was reading Eric Jong.  So, I’d say that she informed my generation, perhaps.

The book above is one of the first little books of poems I bought.

In those days I thought I might try for an Ivy League school, but that isn’t what happened.

Like my mother, I went into fashion at first — as a job, and college came second.

I’d like to read Greer, now, to see what my mother thought.  She was very much a feminist in her own right — albeit in the world of fashion in those days.  That was one place that women had some sway.

My mother’s feminism was related to Dorothy Parker’s Sunset Gun. And this:

Simone was on my syllabus for one of the first classes in Women’s Studies I took at UCSB.

It was an elective in the History department at that time.

Here is an interesting look at a timeline on that…

1978: Congress includes educational services in the Civil Rights Act designed to eliminate sex bias in school and society.
1979: The first meeting of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) discusses the subject of whether women’s studies was a discipline in its own right.
1980s: Women’s studies undergoes an intensely self-reflective period as it grapples with the issues of how to identify the concept of “women,” which had largely been defined as white, middle-class, heterosexual, Christian, education women of privilege.
One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about as I write the memoir I’m working on called “whitegirrrl” is what feminism meant and means to the tail end Baby Boom generation.  How that was lived by my generation of women.
I was an Art History Major for the BA, so Women’s Studies in the era I was in college was all about women like Georgia O’Keefe and Frida Khalo and everything they accomplished.
I was swimming around in some quotes by Germaine Greer today, and some by Erica Jong just to see the sameness or difference.  Of thought.
Anyway, Mad Men would have been my mother’s era.  They had an episode about JFK not long ago and I remembered that event.  Holding my mother’s hand while she cried in Pasadena.
I consider myself a feminist in the same vein as Jong, because of my subject matter I suppose.
At least in terms of all the Literary Erotica I have written.  It was a feminist act to do that?
Yes.
Much like another writer Anais Nin.
My writing though, is strictly heterosexual.  I am, and my partners have been.  What I try and aim for as a writer in those pieces is truthfulness…
This is another writer who is an idol to me.  I consider her to be a feminist writer.  That’s Kate Braverman.
Her voice on the page in books like Palm Latitudes is the voice of my generation’s lived femininity as heterosexual women.
Anyway, as far as I have been a feminist?
I’m not that much different than the male lead in Mad Men.
My generation grew up like that.
My generation came of age at the end of the 70’s — 20 years after the era Mad Men is depicting.  So the women’s roles are very different.  Last night?  That dilemma between the two women in the elevator?
That hasn’t changed.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s