In support of all alliterated proper nouns that equate to 2,000 in Roman numerals, here’s my much-delayed tribute to AMC’s Mad Men. The series gets plenty of press on pink-skinned fashion blogs and glossy covered style mags, but my own two cents are about how realistic MM’s fashion is, not how fantastic and vintage. Mad Men is authentic in a way that other shows aren’t, in a way that has always specifically annoyed me in how they portrayed anything remotely attempting everyday life.
One of my favorite characters (and I realize I have to share her with a good chunk of the rest of the Mad Men-loving world – Fortunately, she is a whole lot of woman. [And did you know she’s engaged to the guy in Garden State that’s caught up in a pyramid scheme? What a lucky man…]) is Joan. Joan, Christina Hendricks, is–Damn. She’s so much woman in a show that, authentically, limits everything about women, that it really surprises and impresses me that Joan sometimes wears the same dress twice. A female icon in a well-styled series wearing the same dress twice. That simply never happens. Dressing TV characters in totally unique outfits episode after episode is like when two characters talk in the front of the car and the driver, never once looking at the road, miraculously gets from Point A to Point B without causing any sort of a crash.
I do love the fashion in Mad Men, though. January Jones, with her fantastically graceful-yet-sad face, seems so perfectly built for cinched waists and full skirts. It’s like a beautiful layer of frosting over this cake of garbage that is the 60s female image. Despite interning at an all-women’s press, I have never identified myself as a feminist. I don’t want to believe that I take my position for granted, but seeing how those men treat those women really blows my mind. Without being proactive about it, I’m drawn to strong female characters, and seeing how Joan, Peggy, and Betty get through the decade is a total mind trip.
I am particularly rigid with issues of fidelity, so “Dammit Don Draper!” has become a nightly exclamation as I am led to appreciate how wonderful my personal relationships are. The chauvinism oozes down the walls and more and more, I’ve been thinking I can’t keep watching this show, I just can’t stand womens’ positions in that era. It’s eye-opening, though, and makes me very thankful just to be allowed to mouth off in modern day America.
I know it shouldn’t have been the first thing on my mind, but in “A Night to Remember,” where Betty confronts Don and his asshole ways, Betty is wearing the most awesome dress. The AMC bloggers don’t seem to enjoy it much, calling it “childlike” and “cheap.” I say you can’t choose what you’re going to be wearing the day you have to dole it out on someone, so you may as well look great! It’s a fun dress, and while the writers were probably thinking “Let’s make this super ironic and awkward and juxtapose Betty’s act of strength with this unexpected party dress,” I was thinking “She may as well look fantastic calling out that dog!” I don’t know if I could have been strong against Don if I was living in that day and age. There was no better, more iconic dress for Betty to be wearing in her two-day stupor. It’s corny, but to a degree, I hope she socked it to him while she looked so fabulous. “Look at me. Look at me, in this. You’re lucky I’m standing in front of you. Get your act together.”
Well done, wardrobe!
I am currently two-for-two on the hypothesis that most adults don’t know what “sycophants” are.