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Happy to not have been born in the ‘Mad Men’ era

I love the show ‘Mad Men’, especially for the fashion, but it always makes me all the more grateful that I was born past that era.


 Mad Men women applying makeup for “research” in advertising

Other women have already paved the way for myself and others to be in male-dominated fields and respected for it, but also just to allow us to even hold a job as a woman.

The things that those ‘Mad Men’ women went through, are quite shocking:

  • Sexual harassment — calling women ‘sweetie’, ‘doll’, or touching them
  • Lack of total respect for ability & talent (men don’t think you can do the job)
  • Sexist jokes — “Why are you like this? Are you on your period?”
  • Lack of understanding about why a woman would want or need a job
  • Lack of opportunities — “You can’t be a doctor, but you can be a nurse, sweetie”
  • Expected to use charm, femininity, wiles & sexuality to get their way — not brains!

All of this obviously still exists today, but to a FAR lesser extent than in the 1950s.

Women back then were expected to go to school, but not become too educated, find a man, get married, have babies, stay at home and take care of everyone for the rest of their lives.

That sounds like pure hell to me.

I still think we have a lot of problems today:

  • Women don’t get paid as much as men — 70 cents to a dollar I think are the current stats
  • Women get looked at funny or patronized if they try to negotiate/ask for more money — True story!
  • Women STILL experience rude/sexist behaviour in the workplace and/or are seen as a threat
  • Women are not expected to be assertive, or confident — so the derogatory term is ‘bitch’ for these women

… but we’ve really come a long way.

I’m perennially grateful to women who have changed such stereotypes by climbing up the ladder and proving everyone wrong.

I am able to work, be recognized for my talent and ability in a male-dominated field, and not feel any stigma for enjoying my job.

I only hope that the generations after me, have even more opportunities than I did, and it reaches an equilibrium sooner.

Check out this chart by Flowing Data:


  • Anonymous

    I could never get into that show. I’m not sure if it was all that bad. I realize there were sexist attitudes but I wouldn’t write off that entire period. That show acts as if every husband, male boss, male co-worker and father was a cruel ignorant pig. And yes they do it for the shock value.

    Game of Thrones is another show that over does it on the violence and cruelty for the shock value to get people to watch. It’s emotional manipulation. Both men and women are more depressed these days than they were in the 50’s and 60’s from studies that have been done. I kind of wonder if our stressful society and the consumer debt contributes to that.

    Plus a husband, wife and two kids could live on one income in the 50’s and 60’s easily, these days a husband needs to make like $80,000+ so the wife can stay at home with the kids. Most jobs are not interesting and people who enjoy their jobs are lucky so I *get* why women who can afford to quit do so.

    I’m not entirely convinced that it’s a good thing for women to opt out. It makes you entirely dependent on your spouse and what if you get divorced twenty years later and you haven’t worked for those twenty years? I know that’s why the justice system came up with alimony but these days not all women get alimony.

    It was a mixed bag then and it’s a mixed bag now. Feminism has been through so many generations and there have been both good and bad contributions.

    I wouldn’t have minded living in the era if I had a good husband who didn’t try to limit my potential and at least back then there wasn’t this nonsense of “men’s rights” and “men going their own way.”

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I get into the show for the fashion and just to appreciate what we have today.

      Game of Thrones is very overdone in violence but.. I JUST LOVE it. I’ve always liked magic, dragons, etc.

      Opting out is never a good idea in my opinion, honestly, your career takes a hit and what are you going to do then?

  • Revanche

    Yeah, I could never get into that show because as Michelle notes, there’s a lot of ignoring the rampant racism of the time.

    To Clarisse’s point: Men and women are definitely not still treated equally today. You can see this in the US in the political wars being waged over a woman’s right to choose, states alleging that fetuses’ lives are more important than the woman carrying them, women being incarcerated for defending themselves and being further victimized when they come forward to report sexual assault. Women are still expected to accept sexual harassment in many STEM fields, are paid less, and judged more harshly when being considered for hiring or promotions. Science bears this out, along with the recent study that finds that lower status (incompetent) males harass competent women specifically because they fear losing their status to a woman. That alone tells you that many men believe that women are not their equals.

    In almost all ways, women are still treated and considered the subordinate / inferior / lower social class sex, even if it’s just “subconscious”.

  • Michelle

    I love the fashion of that era (more than now) but as a black woman I just can’t get all warm and fuzzy about that time. Just saying.

  • Tre

    Unfortunately some men think they still live in the Mad Men era.

  • Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way

    Oh, honestly, I didn’t know that you can’t be a doctor, but you can be a nurse, before. Thankfully, we are now living in a time that men and women are treated equally.

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