Realest Moment on TV This Week: Peggy and Joan’s ‘Mad Men’ meeting

We know, we know, a lot of what we see on TV isn’t actually true to life. But every now and then there’s a moment on a show that just speaks to us, and puts into perspective all of the emotions we’re feeling in our hearts. So we decided to bring you those glimpses of realness on a weekly basis, because we can’t bare to keep these kinds of TV moments to ourselves. Presenting, the Realest Moment on TV This Week. . .

This April marks the beginning of the end of an era: Mad Men is finishing up the second half of its final season. This past Sunday we watched, Martinis in hand (of course), as the psychedelic scenes of the seventies unfolded before our eyes. What we learned in this premier episode: The world progressed tremendously from the 1960s to the 1970s, but in the category of basic respect for women, there were still major strides that needed to be taken.

Thank god the day has come where we aren’t being constantly objectified and belittled. Oh wait, it hasn’t. Forty years later, the sexism Joan faces in this episode still feels very accurate. Joan meets with executives at McCann in attempt to get Topaz pantyhose sold in department stores. These men blatantly ignore what she and Peggy have to say and go straight to making snide, offensive remarks about Joan’s body.

This scene felt SO REAL, even for today. Sure we now can get through a day without being openly harassed as Joan was in this scene, but I am still personally shocked on a daily basis by the general attitude held by society that women, no matter how intelligent and no matter how high they’ve climbed in the work place, exist primarily to be visually and physically pleasing to others.

The most upsetting part of this scene is the way that these men focus on Joan’s figure instead of her brilliant mind—and insist on talking about her in a degrading manner that sends the underlying message: “You might look nice but you are as worthless to me as a Barbie doll.”

The scene does an impressively REAL job of conveying what life was like for women during this time, but, sadly, the dialogue resonates as super-real for today too. The main difference between then and now is that today people are encouraged to keep their sexist remarks to themselves, while back then they were celebrated for getting them out in the open.

Yes, I am grateful that commentary on my breasts during a meeting would be highly prohibited today, but I dream of a day when women will be fully celebrated for their minds regardless of what they look like, and anyone who insists on treating women as an inferior gender will lose their job on the spot.

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