This book was featured as one of thirty-four Epic Feminist Books in Teen Vogue magazine.
This book offers interpretive and contextual tools to read the AMC television series Mad Men, providing a much-needed historical explanation and exposition regarding the status of women in an era that has been painted as pre- or non-feminist. In chapters aimed at helping readers understand women's lives in the 1960s, Mad Men is used as a springboard to explore and discover alternative ways of seeing women. Offering more than a discussion of the show itself, the book offers historical insight for thinking about serious issues that "modern" working women continue to face today: balancing their work and personal lives, competing with other women, and controlling their own bodies and reproductive choices. Rather than critiquing the show for portraying women as victims, the book shows subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) ways that feminism functioned in an era when women were supposedly caught between the "waves" of the women's movement but when, the authors argue, they functioned nonetheless as empowered individuals.
By doing so, it provides historical context and analysis that complicates traditional interpretations by (1) exploring historical constructions of women's work; (2) unpacking feminist and non-feminist discourses surrounding that work; (3) identifying modes of resistance; and (4) revisiting forgotten work coded as feminine.
Erika Engstrom (PhD, University of Florida) is Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She is the author of The Bride Factory: Mass Media Portrayals of Women and Weddings. Tracy Lucht (PhD, University of Maryland) is Assistant Professor at Iowa State University. She is the author of Sylvia Porter: America's Original Personal Finance Columnist. Jane Marcellus (PhD, University of Oregon) is Professor at Middle Tennessee State University. She is the author of Business Girls and Two-Job Wives: Emerging Media Stereotypes of Employed Women. Kimberly Wilmot Voss (PhD, University of Maryland) is Associate Professor at the University of Central Florida. She is the author of The Food Section: Newspaper Women and the Culinary Community.
Contents: Erika Engstrom: The Women of Mad Men: Workplace Stereotypes Beyond Kanter - Jane Marcellus: "Oh, and Men Love Scarve": Secretarial Culture From Bartleby the Scrivener to Joan Holloway - Kimberly Wilmot Voss: Mad Men and Reasonable Women: Selling Lipstick, Exploring Workplace Power, and Raising Babies - Tracy Lucht: Sisterhood in the '60s: Joan, Peggy, and a Feminist Awakening - Erika Engstrom: Mad Women and the Marriage Gradient: The Risks and Rewards of Highly Competent Women - Kimberly Wilmot Voss: In Defense of Betty: The Role of Gender, Motherhood, and Social Class for Homemakers - Jane Marcellus: "Where the Truth Lies": Gender, Labor, and "Other" Relationships - Tracy Lucht: Race, Religion, and Rights: Otherness Gone Mad.