Peggy Olson is a character on ‘Mad Men’, played by Elizabeth Moss. I didn’t really like her in the beginning (too mousy), but a recent episode of ‘Mad Men’ made me have a newfound respect for her.
She has started to realize that she is worth more than what other people are telling her she’s worth and she’s taking control of the situation.
Season 5, Episode 4: Mystery Date
Roger: I need you to work up something for Mohawk [client].
Peggy: Well I’m sorry. For Mohawk, your quote man is Ginsberg.
Roger: Let’s say you were to do this for me, and on Monday, you explain to Ginsberg and Campbell that I asked you to. Only I asked you sometime last week.
*hands her $10*
Peggy: Do you have a brief?
*Roger shakes head*
Peggy: Did Ginsberg have a brief?
Roger: I never told Ginsberg. Okay!? You have to remember that!
[cue creative ad talk]
Roger: I don’t want to do any of this. I’ll see you Monday.
Peggy: Hold on a second.
*slaps pencil down*
Peggy: You want me to work up an entire corporate image campaign for $10?
Roger: I can make you do it for nothing, I’m the boss.
Peggy: You’re right. The work is $10. The lie is extra.
Roger: Incredible. What do you make a week, sweetheart?
Peggy: Hmm you don’t know huh? That’s helpful.
Roger: You know I could fire you.
Peggy: Great. There are some portfolios in Joan’s office. Maybe you could find somebody tonight.
Roger: Why are you doing this to me?
Peggy: Because you’re being very demanding for somebody who has no other choice.
*Peggy sits back and folds her arms*
Peggy: Dazzle me.
Roger: Fine. How much you want? Peggy: How much you got?
*Roger counts bills from his pocket*
Roger: $400. Peggy: Give me all of it. Roger: Jesus!
*slaps the bills on the desk*
Roger: It better be good. *points at her*
Peggy: Do you want me to take your watch?
Even if she feels bad for ‘acting like a man’ (her words), and that she wants to act like a woman (as per 1950s rules), I see it as being two things today:
1. You act like a woman because you are a woman. You act like a man because you are a man.
That never changes.
Women are different, and have different personalities, the same as men.
Some are more assertive, others are more submissive — it’s who you want to be, and I wouldn’t want everyone in the world to act exactly the same. Not everyone can be the boss and not everyone wants to be the boss.
2. Being professional doesn’t equate to having to act like a man.
It’s acting like a professional person. Period.
Whether you are a man or woman, if you act like a professional, then it has no gender.
It’s just that people mix the two up and think that being assertive and confident = man, and being submissive and the peacemaker = woman.
3. You have to know what you’re worth rather than assuming people will treat you fairly all the time without prompting.
Roger wanted to pay her $10, not $410. He knows she’s worth it, which is why he asked her to do it in the first place, but he thought as the boss, Peggy is an employee who is essentially a slave at the company who does his bidding because she’s paid for that.
She’s paid for the work, not for the lie (which was his fault, not hers), and she said it perfectly:
You’re right. The work is $10. The lie is extra.
Because you’re being very demanding for somebody who has no other choice.
Ultimately, everyone is out for themselves, so if you give courtesy to those who don’t extend the same courtesy back to you, then you’re the sucker in the end.