Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A String of Pearls

I have several friends who watch the TV show Mad Men. So, naturally one day I decided to jump on the bandwagon at do some catching up on Netflix.

Despite the...


men drinking 24/7


every single character smoking like a chimney

ridiculous love affairs

and women who are mistreated...

I'm hopelessly addicted to the show.

The relationships between all of the characters intrigues me, and there is much more to each character than meets the eye. They are all quite complicated - and I like that. I don't completely understand and "get" each of the characters. Because of this I am drawn to the show more and more so I can better understand each of them.

And part of me wishes I could dress like this all of the time:

Or have men put effort into their clothing like this: 


OK - so we don't have to wear fancy dresses and suits all the time. But can we at least rock the fedoras on occasion or  attempt to look nicer?

Anyways - that's not my point.

Since I've started watching Mad Men - and reading a friend's blog - I've been spending a lot of time thinking and talking about women and their role in society.

In this show we see a world where men are at the top and control everything, and women struggle to reach equality with them. It is right on the edge of the feminism movement, sexual "revolution", and the fight for civil rights. For a 20 something girl living in 2011 - this seems like a completely different universe (which is odd - since my parents lived through this). The thing is is that when you really think about it - in the grand scheme of things the "Mad Men World" was not all that long ago. 

The crazy thing is - are we really all that much different?

In Mad Men, the husbands can have affairs with whoever they want and their wives can do nothing about it. To get ahead in business or to be taken seriously, a woman has to sleep with someone and dress to fit the part. 

Today, you can barely look at a book, movie, or TV show that doesn't portray that in order for a woman to get ahead she has to take her clothes off and sex trafficking runs rampant all over the world. I watch re-runs of  Sex and the City and as much as I love the show- the characters seem to put more pride into what shoes they wear than the men they sleep with. 

Lauren Lankford once posted this cartoon on Twitter: 

Now, I have no idea if Muslim women feel this way about us. It is something to think about though.

Yet at the same time - more women are going to college than men right now. Unemployment rates are higher for men than they are for women. Even in the church you are seeing more and more women in leadership roles. Then some women claim that "hooking up" with random men and wearing revealing clothing is empowering to them. 

Or we don't even have to go to those extremes. I had two conversations recently about relationships between husbands and wives.

One friend told me about a co-workers who wanted to get her hair cut. Her husband responded by telling her that he preferred her hair long. She decided that even though long hair is a pain and she doesn't like it that she would grow it out instead of cutting it. 

Another friend was telling me the other day that recently she found out her husband did not like her style of clothing. She expressed how she was torn between wearing what she wants to wear, or choosing clothes that her husband would like better.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things  hair and clothing really are not that big of a deal. It is interesting though.

On the one hand I feel like there is something to be said about putting your spouse's wishes before your own. Is there really anything wrong with wanting to look nice for your hubby, with clothes he likes or a hairstyle he enjoys? Not that I am married or have experience in this - but I feel as though part of making a relationship work is making those small compromises and putting the other person's desires in front of yours.

On the other hand when do you draw the line? Is there a line between sacrificing who you are for a man and simply wanting to make him happy? 

Some of you may remember the episode of Gilmore Girls where Rory dressed as Donna Reed for Dean and made him dinner. She wanted to see what the appeal of the "classic 1950's American wife" was. At the end of the episode she determined that it was kind of fun and she would be willing to do it again for someone she cared about. She would not do it everyday - but on occasion it was fine. 

Rory also found out that Donna Reed was quite a successful business woman at the time. Or if you look at the female characters in Mad Men - you will find that many of them could arguably be stronger than the men.

I would really like your opinions on some of these topics. 

Are we really all that far from Mad Men?

And if any of you have frugal tips on how to dress like the women in Mad Men with a modern flare - I'll take them! And I've been digging the pearls....


  1. this post is really interesting!
    definitely something to think about :)

  2. Hmmm, I'm going to have to think about that. In the mean time - I am a big fan of the men's style on that show, top notch.

  3. Is there really anything wrong with wanting to look nice for your hubby, with clothes he likes or a hairstyle he enjoys?
    I think it is more about the motivation: Are you doing it as a way to serve your husband out of love, or because he is controlling and expects obedience from you? There's a huge difference. As long as you feel like you have control over your decisions, then I don't see a reason why you shouldn't dress one way or another.

    Here's some food for thought from the other gender's perspective. In the first year or two my now-husband and I were dating, I struggled a lot because I didn't want to try to control his appearance but I really hated it when he didn't shave. Finally I told him that I was tired of feeling guilty about it and that it was just a straight-up fact that I found him unattractive when he hadn't shaved for a few days. He thought about it and said he prefers to shave before showering, so he'd be happy to shave anytime he showered (which, thankfully, is almost every day). Now he's rarely gone more than a day without shaving and we're better off for it. Does that make me controlling? I don't think so...

  4. How far are we removed from mid-20th century mores on sexual equality? I think where the biggest strides have been made is in society as a whole seeing Mad Men style behavior as unacceptable and not "normal." Does this mean that it never happens? Absolutely not. Just as Jim Crow laws have ceased to exist in the Old South for decades now, it's still quite ludicrous to expect racism to be eradicated. Where the confusion comes in is where a woman makes the choice to "dress like Donna Reed," and more importantly, why. That ties in more towards Jessica's comment above.

    Besides, I've been married for 11 years to a woman I knew for 10 before that. Like I could EVER make her do something she didn't want to. And I believe that answers the question better than anything else.

  5. Jessia- THANK YOU! You said it waaaaaay better than I ever could. I completely 100% agree. Thank you! :D

    Greg- It's not just sexual equality, unfortunately because of media that is simply the one that stands out the most. I really like that comparison you made though with how things are considered "unacceptable" now but they still happen (like the Jim Crow Laws). That's a really good point, and I think we have made some very significant strides in that. Because while people still cheat on their spouses and racism still happens - we as a society (for the most part) now recognize that this is wrong vs. "that's just how it is."

    And I feel like NO ONE could tell your wife what to do Greg! Which is why she's awesome. ;)

  6. 1) Great post! Love Mad Men.

    2) Thanks for participating in the Fall Frenzy Blog Gift Swap! It's soooo fun - trust me!!

    3) Following you!

  7. Muslim women DO feel this way. My wife wore a hijab with her Muslim girlfriend recently, and she talks about this perspective in a short video she put together about the experience. Check it out at http://odayfam.com/muslim-for-a-day/

    Oh, and I am stealing your comic and putting it on the blog post!

  8. Testing to see why that didn't post as a link: http://odayfam.com/muslim-for-a-day... let's see if that works.

  9. Dan- sweet! I'll have to check that video out. :)


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