During the fourth 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. This year we’ll help you get through the middle of the week wait for the next episode. *WARNING: Lots of spoilers follow.
Don invites Sally to see The Beatles.
And Sally’s path to become a kick-ass radical lefty of the 60s begins…. -Vanessa
I would’ve reacted exactly like Sally did. -Jos
Lane introduces his father to his girlfriend Toni, a black Playboy Bunny. Lane’s father beats him, tells him to return to England.
So we get a season where race stays frustratingly in the background, and then one of our main characters isn’t just dating a black woman, she’s also a Playboy Bunny. I think Lane was trying to rebel a little bit by dating Toni, but it does also seem like they really care about each other. It makes sense to me that Lane would only meet women in places like the Playboy Club. I’m not really sure what Toni sees in Lane, though. I hope Lane comes back from England and we get to see more of their dynamic in the future. Lane’s been such a mature presence in the often childish SCDP office, so seeing him crushed by his abusive father was especially powerful. -Jos
Joan and Roger get a referral for an abortion.
Wow, and Dr. Judgemental was the guy they trusted to get a referral from. I’m glad the Mad Men showed stigma to be a barrier that sits side by side with the lack of legal access to abortion. -Jos
What Jos said. It was also interesting to compare this doctor to Joan’s who was completely supportive and nonjudgmental. -Vanessa
Pete doesn’t tell Trudy about Don’s secret
I’m sorry, what? I didn’t notice anything about this scene except a pink ruffly babydoll nightgown. -Lori
What that was that thing was? Good god, it was terrifying. -Vanessa
I <3 sno balls. -Jos
Don sets up trust funds for his children that Betty can access.
Maybe I am just paranoid/always down for a good conspiracy theory, but I thought Don did this as a sneaky way to be able to access his money in case his identity was found out and he had everything taken from him or wasn’t able to gain access to his bank account. No? -Lori
You know, I didn’t think of that at the time of watching it, but you may have something there. (Although I predict most fans would just assume it’s because he still wuvs her.) -Vanessa
Joan in the abortion provider’s waiting room.
She is so freakin composed, even in the most emotionally intense situations. I think that is one of the most interesting aspects of the kind of femininity her character has come to represent- the unflappability, the unyielding drive to do anything to keep up appearances. In this sense, she and Betty are of the same camp- they were either raised or came to know the social value of being perceived in a certain way at all times. In one sense, this is the key to being “classy” and thus the key to their social influence and power (by association). In another sense, this is their prison, stifling their ability to express themselves, to the point of self-denial. -Lori
Inaccurate assumptions about who has abortions are a big part of how we think about the procedure today. Here Joan’s dealing with the assumption that abortion is a way of dealing with a teen girl’s mistakes – a woman Joan’s age couldn’t make such a mistake, and would want her pregnancy anyway. Did Joan actually go through with the abortion? I don’t know. Even in this scene Joan showed her strength, but the build up of stigmatizing comments from the doctor and well meaning mother could very well inform a decision not to have the procedure. Joan heard judgement from the doctor, assumptions from the mother, and self-centered reactions from Roger. We never saw her talk to anyone who actually prioritized Joan’s own personal decision. -Jos
Don has a panic attack, tells Faye about his past.
I was shocked that he did this, although it’s obvious that he was in a state of panic and felt like he had to out it to someone for some sort of release. But what was more interesting was how once he knew he was in the clear, it looks like it’s the beginning of him pulling him away from her — or at least going back to his old womanizer shenanigans. -Vanessa