Sunday 1 March 2015

CULTURETAS: The Mad Men Mirror

Photo via The NYPost.

By Ariana Basciani.

There’s no man like Don or any woman like Peggy. And the same time we are all Don and Peggy, or any Mad Men characters for that matter: we are a bunch of weaknesses wrapped in masks.  In Mad Men, running away is a logical reaction when there is fear, a feeling that can actually achieve to become their lifestyle. That is a somewhat negative -but honest- value of Mad Men that has been sustaining for seven seasons. The half of last season was undeniably exquisite though. Not only because of Don Draper's character but because of the entire cast. 

Every episode I noticed the quality of the construction of these characters, both male and female, and talking specifically of this season, I discovered endless hyper-texts in between the dialogues that are so characteristic of the current daily life that dazzle me. I'm drooling and wanting to watch more. It is amazing that one series can involve us so deeply from the very beginning to the end.

An antihero who accepts his weakness, struggling not to lose his mask, finally lose it. He appears defeated, incomplete, but then he (and us) realizes that there is a new person that has managed to balance his strengths with his weaknesses and that he feels at ease with that; a triumph of psychoanalysis some might say. This is exactly what happens to Don Draper in the last season. Yes, we know that men, we have felt identified his peculiar personality that in order to survive must be  elusive and social at the same time. Also in this season, many men have felt identified with that sudden feminine strength displayed by Megan or Peggy.

Women adore and understand Don, we love the character. We also learned to identify ourselves with his way of understanding and looking at the world, and specially when he managed to get over himself and put his guard down. Then it's game over. Even when he looses, Don Draper always win. And it's spectacular when gender stereotypes breaks and intersect in a series that have sold to us the typical (very 60s) "macho men" ideal. 

Many of us have known better from the beginning and we have delved further to observe, study and understand the male gender under a broader scope, reading the subtle messages offered by the scriptwriters; we have understood as well that women have been always the true heroes of the series with their pros and cons, and their skills, jealousies, fantasies, eroticism, kindness, genius and insecurities.

Hurry up Mad Men, hope to see you in a few weeks and have the opportunity of kiss you (and Don) goodbye!


This article was originally published (in Spanish) in Culturetas, culture with boobs, a great website situated at the intersection of culture and femininity. Culturetas are our new contributors and we are delighted to have them. Have a look and say hello to them!

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