Mad Men Midweek Fix: Chinese Wall

Mad Men Midweek FixDuring 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.

Peggy and Abe hook up.

Hot hot hot. -Samhita

Ew ew ew! I love Peggy, but Pete, Duck, and now this self righteous guy? … OK, in all honestly, I just want her to hook up with Joyce. -Jos

Pete handles the Lucky Strike departure while Trudy is in labor, goes to a funeral after she delivers.

The juxtaposition of the funeral and the birth was interesting, poetic almost. Birth of a new time, death of an old client and this change will lead to some major restructuring at SCDP.  Also, the ethos of business first, personal life was reconsolidated. It was acceptable for Pete not to be by Trudy’s side and it was also acceptable to go to a funeral in search of new clients. -Samhita

Good perspective Sami, totally didn’t catch that. Pete going to the funeral instead of the hospital was interesting — and I don’t doubt we’ll see more of this with him being a daddy now in terms of the lack of real presence that fathers had in their childrens’ lives during that time. It also reminds me of a conversation that I had with a friend some weeks ago about the fact that several working fathers with young children that she knew would always opt to go for drinks or to some other social function after work rather than spend time with their children. It’s like they avoid them. In short, I think this kind of attitude and acceptance still exists today (to a degree). -Vanessa

Roger pretends to visit Lucky Strike, seeks comfort from Joan. Joan: “I can’t do this anymore.”

Joan is so over Roger being an irresponsible child. Good for her!-Samhita

For decades, people have referred to women who do administrative work as “the backbone of this office” or something like that. What I really liked about this episode (and the last one) is that they show the toll that attitude takes. This season we’ve seen Joan constantly harassed and dismissed, only to be leaned on when things get tough. She has all of the responsibility of being the boss, with none of the respect. Roger’s treatment of her is just an extension of that. -Ann

Peggy’s sensual take on Playtex gloves, Abe’s “package delivery.”

Yum. -Samhita

I kind of want to hate him but can’t help loving Abe. -Ann

Don confides in Faye, asks her for insider information about other clients.

Business first! -Samhita

I’m glad they went there with the Don and Faye relationship. This dynamic — of a couple where both parties are successful in the working world — is one that’s been as yet completely unexplored in Mad Men, for obvious reasons. Questions of where to draw the line when you’re dating someone in the same professional field are still incredibly relevant. And I’m not surprised to see how this exchange went down between Don and Faye. I really hope that her decision to help him out doesn’t come back to bite her. -Ann

Stan tricks Peggy into closing her eyes, kisses her. Peggy: “Why do you keep making me reject you?”

Hi, sexual harassment! Oh wait, that didn’t exist back then, did it. -Vanessa

Ah, so much narcissism bound up in the notion that, if Peggy seems a little turned on today, it must be because Stan is sooooo sexy. *facepalm.* -Ann

Peggy does the Playtex presentation with lipstick on her teeth.

Stan is such a petty asshole. -Ann

It seemed like the presentation went well, though! Seemed like Peggy got the sympathy vote, where I think last season we’d see her getting laughed about/at. I think the presentation going well has a lot to do with how Peggy’s gotten better at her job – she was confident and personable, so the client felt more like helping her than mocking her. -Jos

Don and Megan stay late, have sex.

Same ole Don. -Vanessa

What I did like about this scene was it revealed how complicated it is to sexualize the boss/employee relationship. Megan was the initiator, even though Don is clearly the one in a power position. Also, I wonder how honest Megan’s comment was that she wants to someday work on the creative team. If she was telling the truth, someone needs to grab her by the shoulders and ask, “How do you think Peggy got to be Peggy? By NOT screwing Don!” -Ann

Well that’s not what I expected. Megan’s been treated as just an eye candy secretary, made a few self-deprecating comments about her own work performance, and has been shown to be nurturing and good with children. So far on this show we’ve seen women who are focused on fulfilling pretty traditional gender roles or women who are focused on advancement at work. I was pleasantly surprised to learn about Megan’s professional goals. It was also nice to hear a conversation about expectations related to sex. Now, sleeping with Don? Probably still not such a good idea, beyond the sex part. -Jos

Roger and Jane, Don and Faye.

I think this is some negative foreshadowing about where Don and Faye’s relationship is headed… -Ann

Agreed. Roger and Don spent the episode leaning on women for support. And then we saw Jane and Faye each literally lean on them after Roger and Don’s strength was seriously undercut all episode and after we saw both men aren’t honest supports for these women. -Jos

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