With "green" being all the rage the last few years, it's no wonder environmental issues have become so mainstream. But media savvy and socially responsible feminists know that environmentalism and ecofeminism are not new ideas, even as many of the relationships between the planet and women's rights become more salient as the earth warms and we suffer the effects. In the next weeks, I'll be looking at a variety of intersecting issues including the human cost of chocolate, the use of fur in northern climates and indigenous cultures, soy and soybean farming, nuclear power's environmental effects, ideas for carbon-free transit, the links between racism and animal oppression, and how you can be a pro-choice vegan.
Did anyone else notice the bizarre sexism during the commercial breaks on last night's episode of Mad Men? I can accept that a healthy dose of douchiness comes with the territory when I decide to watch currently airing episodes of a show instead of waiting for it to come out on DVD, but I honestly felt creeped out by how skewed all of last night's ads were toward a male (and sexist) audience. Could it be that, because the show itself portrays a stylized hypermasculinity, advertisers are missing the context and coming up with campaigns to try and match Mad Men's outdated sexism?
I saw ads for (and this is just what I can remember): Lipitor, Viagra, NFL Sunday Ticket, and more, all aimed at middle-aged men who I didn't think were following Peggy Olsen's rise to the top all that closely. Oh, and let us not forget this gem, from Clorox:
Because, you know, sometimes even MEN do the laundry! And Clorox apparently dragged that ad out of its archives (here is a Feministing post on it from two years ago) just for Mad Men. WTF?
I admit that when I heard Mad Men was going to premiere just as I was starting this TV guestblogging gig in the otherwise rather deserted month of August, I breathed a sigh of relief. If there is one television show that not a one of my communist, death-panel-supporting, child-killing liberal feminist friends is ashamed to admit to loving, it is Mad Men.Mad Men, in short, has an acceptable television pedigree. In my particular case, and I am not kidding about this, I started watching it because it was recommended to me by none other than Joyce Carol Goddamn Oates at a talk I attended a long time ago at the NYPL. Talk about your "I-don't-even-have-a-tv" bookworm street cred. And Feminist bloggers love Mad Men too. In fact, it's just about the only television show that gets universal coverage in the feminist blogosphere, and all week, everybody's been gearing up for the Big Event. DoubleX is live-tweeting it. Some other prominent feminist bloggers, including Pandagon's Amanda Marcotte, are having a salon about it at RHRealityCheck. And pretty much everyone I know who loves Mad Men loves to talk about how very, very feminist it feels to have so many nuanced portrayals of women on a single television show.
I, too, think that there is a lot of feminist merit in Mad Men - more on that in a second post this weekend, and I'll have thoughts on the premiere next week, it's gonna be a Mad Men heavy guestblogging experience - but I find it really problematic as a show to recommend to people who aren't feminists, or who aren't, at the very least, what I would call ready for a serious discussion of gender roles.