Mad Men Mondays: Tuesday after Labor Day edition

During the third season of Mad Men Feministing writers will offer some of our thoughts on feminist moments, scenes, and themes in the new episodes in order to start a discussion about these topics in our community. *WARNING: Lots of spoilers follow.
Peggy moving to Manhattan. “You’re gonna be one of those girls?” Peggy: “I am one of those girls.”
I love this! Own it, Peggy. Her response seemed aspirational — especially given her exchange with Joan over the ad and her initial meeting with the roommate. She doesn’t quite think of herself as “one of those girls” yet, and this new apartment is an important step. -Ann
I loved this line so much. My crush on Peggy continues. Though it’s clear from her meeting her potential roommate that she’s not quite one of “those girls” yet…but she’s getting there. -Jessica

Bobby: “War is bad.” Gene: “Maybe, but it makes a man out of you.”

Gene’s attempt at teaching Bobby masculinity – it’s all about violence and sex workers. Don is uncomfortable with encouraging the violence of war. Perhaps he prefers the version of masculinity he teaches by example – absenty father and husband, infidelity, using sexual violence to get what he wants… -Jos
This is also interesting in the context of Don’s story — war isn’t where he became a man, it’s where he became a different man. And you can see how much he dislikes Bobby’s interest in his grandpa’s war stories. -Ann
I thought it was intriguing how Don humanized the story Gene was telling as well by telling Bobby there was “a person in that helmet.” -Jessica

Sal and Kitty.
What a completely heartbreaking scene. Kitty watches Sal perform the role of a seductive woman and she just knows. Does Sal think about what he’s putting Kitty through? Sal’s closet is a terrible place and he’s crammed his wife in there too without her knowledge. I’m so glad Mad Men is showing what happens when the closet forces a gay man into opposite marriage and the impact this has on his wife. -Jos
This moment, I think, was only the second time that Sal’s sexuality has been anything other than infinitely subtle and barely perceptible. It was also a bizarre echo of Peggy’s private Ann Margaret impression in front of her mirror a few episodes ago. For me, it just drove home the sheer craziness of the idea that you could be married to and live with a person and really know almost nothing about them (and it reminded me that Betty, too, is married to and living with a man who, in many ways, she barely knows). -Chloe
Betty’s relationship to food, weight, and her parents. Betty and Gene’s attitudes about women working.
It’s easy to criticize Betty’s parenting, but this week we got some hints about how she was raised, including where her unhealthy relationship with food might come from. Eating the peach left in her dead father’s car reflected a theme seen in a lot of the parent/child relationships in this episode – an act of resistance against her parents and simultaneously an attempt for connection. -Jos
Ugh it’s just broke my heart when Gene talks about Betty’s mom making her walk home as a way to force her to lose weight. Though I did find it interesting that Gene took such an interest in Sally and her being independent and the juxtaposition between that and Betty insisting that she’s still Gene’s “little girl.” -Jessica
Joan gives Peggy advertising tips.
Joan breaking down what the housing ad was really about, exactly like the ad execs do in meetings. She should be in a corner office and she knows it. Sadly, Peggy is the only person she can take it out on, since it’s so much easier to target people who are closer to your position of power and privilege. -Jos
I heard this as Joan’s nostalgia for her single life, given that married bliss is not all it cracked up to be. Was it also a reference to her former roommate, who was in love with her? -Ann
The first thing I thought was that Joan should be a copywriter! She knew immediately what Peggy was looking for. -Jessica
Peggy tells her mother about moving to Manhattan. “You’ll get raped, you know that.” “There’s a man, isn’t there.”
No one was ever raped in Brooklyn in the 1960s. Pretty sure of that. -Ann
It’s curious that men are positioned as both the lure for independence, and the punishment. If you move to the city to more freely have sex with a man, you deserve to be punished with rape. -Chloe
I also noticed that her mom threw in a “why would I ever believe anything you say”? Maybe a not-so-subtle hint at Peggy’s pregnancy? -Jessica

Sally deals with Gene’s death.

Sally’s just lost the only adult who took some time to talk with her, who did more than chastise her for eating too much and tell her to go watch tv. The astonishing thing about the scene in which she yells at the adults for laughing is that not one of them gets up to comfort her. Then the tv — the thing that her parents think is the ultimate balm — just has more violence to show her. Another hint of the upcoming political turmoil to come. -Ann
I’m with Ann, I couldn’t believe that they just sent Sally off after her breakdown. The last scene with her lying on the floor in her tutu as the adults talk in the background just about killed me. -Jessica
I think Betty almost connected with Sally for a brief moment – as Sally passed behind Betty, both looking so similar after crying, Betty’s eyes subtly followed her daughter. But no, nothing, no connection. Brilliant work by January Jones, as usual. She elevated the material in an episode that didn’t excite and engage me as much as others this season. -Jos

Boston, MA

Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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