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Screenwriting : Mad Men Episode One, Cringe Worthy? by Phillip "Ubiquitous" Hardy

Phillip "Ubiquitous" Hardy

Mad Men Episode One, Cringe Worthy?

Tonight while riding the recumbent bike, I decided to watch “Madmen” episode one. During that time, something unexpected happened. I was genuinely appalled at how many cringe worthy things main characters Don Draper, Pete Campbell and Joan Harris said to characters Peggy Olson and potential Sterling Cooper client Rachel Menken. I was raised and remain an alpha male; but found myself squirming a bit. Though I think Matthew Weiner’s writing is brilliant, I wonder if this dramatization is full of hyperbole or if it was a spot on portraying the way things were 55 years ago. I have also cut and pasted this paragraph from the Mad Men article in Wikipedia. “The Los Angeles Times said that "the sexism, in particular, is almost suffocating, and not in the least fun to watch. But it's the force against which the most compelling female characters struggle, and the opposition that defines them. The interaction with everyday misogyny and condescension—the housewife whose shrink reports to her husband, the ad woman who's cut out of the after-hours wheeling and dealing—gives the characters purpose and shape." In Salon, Nelle Engoron explained that while Mad Men seems to illuminate gender issues, its male characters get off "scot-free" for their drinking and adultery, while the female characters are often punished.” I’d like to think we’ve come a long way since 1960. That with our modern workplace so mindful about sexual harassment in the work environment, the standard of behavior seen in Mad Men has ceased to exist. But I’m not a woman so I can’t speak from experience. This week, one of Stage 32’s excellent female writers has playfully toyed with the notion of taking on a male name. Do you believe Hollywood isn’t hiring good writers because they’re women? http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/memo-to-women-screenwrite...

Danny Manus

No.

Fiona Faith Ross

I'd like to think we're in with an equal chance, and judged on our scripts, not our gender. If I thought otherwise, I'd give up before I'd powered up the Mac at the start of the day.

Chanel Ashley

Phillip, you may have framed the question incorrectly, I would suggest it is more difficult for a woman to be hired by Hollywood - if choice came down to two equally talented writers, one a male, the other female, my guess is that the former would be chosen in most cases.

Phillip "Ubiquitous" Hardy

C: the framing looks fine to me. I think it's a pretty straightforward question.

Debbie Croysdale

This thread has got to me interested to download Mad Men, cos I've never seen it. It could be that the creators of series wanted the" gut reaction" to the character portrayals. Maybe the fact Philip "squirmed" was a score/result they want, as some people did suffer a gritty and pious inequality in past. The article was interesting, never heard the one before about the shrink reporting patient to husband. Not a joke to those concerned. Can't answer the question on Hollywood preferring male or female writers, but maybe test the water with both male and female names.

Elisabeth Meier

Don't know if they would really decide for the man, BUT if they hire the woman she surely will be paid worse. Hence, the idea of using only the initials of our first names instead the full name is really something to think about.

Danny Manus

Honestly, I have never ever seen anyone choose a script (or not) based on gender. why would they care what gender the writer is?? Its bullshit. There is sexism in hwood but really only when it comes to directors, not writers. Scripts bought are based on commerciality and quality of the script. that's it.

Beth Fox Heisinger

It's also a numbers game -- there are far more male writers than female. We need more female writers! If the work is there and plentiful then gender bias will dissipate -- as said in the Memo to Women Screenwriters article; "...fuzzy genre identification or outright genre-switching is a recipe for failure;" and "It's really about the writer's ability to compete." So, let's get in there and compete! And, please, use your full name. :)

Beth Fox Heisinger

Phillip, thanks for sharing this article. :) I never watched Mad Men and probably won't for two reasons; one, I worked in advertising; and two, I really don't care to watch it because of the sexism. No thanks.

Phillip "Ubiquitous" Hardy

Beth: You are most welcome. I've seen the entire Mad Men series and in general, I believe Matthew Weiner's writing demonstrated a good moral compass. And, I believe that he wanted to hammer home the point of male and female role playing in the advertising environment of the early 60's. However, I entirely respect what you believe is not suitable material for the windows to your soul. Danny: I sure as hell hope you're right; because that's the way it should be. And what of writer Nancy Nigrosh's claims in the attached article that women aren't getting a fair shake on the Blacklist? She even goes as far as saying this: "I doubt an old school research tool like listing all writers by their first initial would change the numbers much. It's the genre-skirting "logline" that gives the women away, demonstrating what separates the girls from the boys. These self-congratulatory summaries border on dimorphism which, in the animal kingdom, distinguishes between male and female appearance."

Beth Fox Heisinger

Phillip: I've read reviews about Mad Men. I'm aware that the writing is great; that it captures/dramatizes social issues of the time; the acting is fantastic, et cetera. However, it's really not a matter of me considering it "not suitable for my soul" but rather a matter of interest -- I truly don't have any. After actually working in the advertising industry myself, I really don't care to watch fictional nor historical versions. And, frankly, I see enough real world sexism that sometimes I just really don't care to "watch" it too. :/

Phillip "Ubiquitous" Hardy

Beth: Word up!

Richard Toscan

Mad Men nails the era for what it was. Having said that, after watching the first three episodes of season one, I failed to work up the energy to slog through the rest. At least for me, it's the Downton Abbey structure problem (after season one): it's driven by a multitude of secondary plots that rise and fall as they weave through each other without an overriding plot keeping all these snakes in line. Obviously, millions of viewers love this approach to television series structure. And the structure has nothing to do with the gender of the writers.

Richard Toscan

Just adding that I wonder if female screenwriters may share an issue with their counterparts in the theatre: Several studies have shown that for whatever reason there are noticeably fewer female that male playwrights working in the US and the men typically churn out noticeably more scripts per person than female playwrights in a given time period. That fact -- which nobody seems to understand -- is generally agreed to at least partially account for why there are fewer professional productions in the US of stage plays written by women as opposed to men.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

I had the same problem with Madmen. There's no backbone that drives the plot forward. I watched the entire first season on Netflix. I started to watch the second Season, but by the third episode I stopped and asked myself "Why am I watching this?" I guess it was because everyone says it's good so I must think so too. It has great characters and dialogue, but not a compelling enough story to keep my attention. I feel Beth's pain when she says she's sure it's a good show, but she sees enough sexism in her real life to sit through it during a show.

Chas Franko Fisher

The force of the sexism in the show is what makes the female characters who rise above it so much more fascinating to watch in the long run than Don or any of the men. Peggy and Joan for the win!

Phillip "Ubiquitous" Hardy

Chas: LA Times agrees with you.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Yes, I'm sure the female characters had much to rise above and I've heard they were compelling. Of course, I really cannot comment because I haven't seen Mad Men. But, I have also read negative reviews about the women seeming to be "punished" on the show, that it's a bit misogynistic. Generally speaking, I'll just say as a female audience member I'm so tired of female characters' lives being controlled/affected/consumed/structured/restricted by male characters. It's exhausting. Perhaps on Mad Men, at times, that wasn't the case. However, the premise of the show just doesn't interest me. To each their own, I guess. :)

Chas Franko Fisher

If it doesn't appeal, don't watch it. But the early seasons have hands down some of the best writing every committed to television.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Oh, I won't -- as I previously said in the thread. ;) Again, to each their own -- opinion, that is. Best to you guys!

Beth Fox Heisinger

Phillip: I wanted to also comment about the article's author and her statement about the Black List... I too find the Black List to be one-sided, or rather, it "appears" to be. Most of the "featured scripts" notices that I receive through email seem to be only male writers. Again, I do think a huge factor is numbers -- there are far more male writers than female. That overall fact will affect percentages. However, I really don't care for the icon use on the Black List either. You can look at the icons and sometimes discern a writer's gender. If they really wish for fairness they should perhaps remove those and just list genre by title or as neutrally as possible. :)

Beth Fox Heisinger

Just to add, I have long left the Black List. I have not looked at the site in quite some time, probably over a year. It may be different now. Anyway, I didn't care for it. I didn't care for the expense nor the review system. If interested, you can simply do a "general search" in the Stage 32 Lounge -- just type in "Black List" and all posts regarding the site will come up. There have been a large number of threads/discussions regarding the Black List. Many had strong opinions about the site; how it is run; about the cost; about the script reviews. Really good information should anyone be interested. :)

Phillip "Ubiquitous" Hardy

Beth: Very good observation.

Phillip "Ubiquitous" Hardy

Beth: I'm not nuts about the Blacklist either and it's one of the priciest websites for screenwriters. I paid fifty bucks for one of their reviews and the guy said my script was the worst piece of shit he ever read; and it went on to do well Austin Film Festival, Screencraft and Richmond Film Festival. It's not that I minded him disliking it as much as the completely shoddy job he did offering feedback. I understand fifty bucks isn't much for coverage; but if you commit to do any job for money, do it well. In my work judging a competition last week, I made sure I provided every writer positive and constructive feedback for their work. These writers, no matter what level of talent and ability deserve no less. I know not everyone has had luck with Inktip, but for much less money, I've have success connecting at least ten producers. Two of whom, have since become friends. I think it offers far better opportunities for writers to pitch their wares and at least monitor who is reviewing their loglines or downloading their material.

Beth Fox Heisinger

I couldn't agree more, Phillip! I had a similar experience with Black List -- the scoring is all over the place. There are much better options out there. :) BTW, You sound like a great judge. Congratulations on that prestigious position! :)

Phillip "Ubiquitous" Hardy

Damien: All I can say is Yikes!. I won't be using Blacklist again. Beth: Thanks for the kind words and I am honored to have the privilege of doing the Judge gig. I have a batch of scripts to read this weekend.

Danny Manus

I'm 30 episodes into Mad Men. And it is shocking in many ways. Almost makes you want to look at women complaining today about sexism and say "NO - THAT was sexism!" As far as Blacklist goes, I don't think its purposefully sexist. it IS a numbers game. More male writers submit, the odds are more will be featured. However, I don't think anyone ever requests a script based on gender. or doesnt request one. In fact, if an exec reads a concept they think of as "male driven" and see a woman wrote it, they are MORE likely to request it.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

"Almost makes you want to look at women complaining today about sexism and say "NO - THAT was sexism" - *face palm. The internet is an entertaining place.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Sexism is sexism.

Tony Cella

The sexism in Mad Men is meant to shock and appall. It's a socially conscious period piece. If it glossed over the inequalities of the era, the show would be a remake of Leave It To Beaver. I'm pretty done with Blacklist as well. Once I've polished my scripts, gotten notes and revised, I'll submit them to production companies or attempt to produce them myself.

Cherie Grant

Gee, Danny, sorry we complain about sexism today. I'll bear that in mind when you walk off with a bigger wage then me.

Cherie Grant

As for the show it's a remake of the era. So while I'll never watch it, because I can get any of that shit in my own life and have, I still respect the writers for being true to the era. It is what it is. Can't change the past.

Tony Cella

If I give him the benefit of the doubt, Danny's point was that worse forms of sexism were ever-present and publicly accepted back in they day, wage discrimination included. There's a big difference between using gendered insults or sex specific pronouns and firing someone before they go on maternity leave or paying them a lower wage.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Yikes, guys, just stop. Just let it go. With all due respect, you truly don't know what you're talkin' about. I know you mean well and feel society has changed for the better; and for the most part it truly has. However, that's certainly not the case globally and certainly not the case on several levels of basic humanity. Discrimination happens everywhere. Equality isn't about sameness; it's about fairness. Wage discrimination is still a huge issue among many others -- now, in modern times. I experienced sexual harassment today just going to the grocery store. And, women are still "let go" on maternity leave. Yes, we can't change the past but we all hope for a better future.

Tony Cella

I absolutely agree, Beth. Women are fired or not even hired when they're married or of child bearing age. That's an injustice. Men should also be forced to take time off to care for their children after childbirth. It's not the woman's job to stay in the home and maternity leave policies should reflect that. The third world is in a much worse state than the first, as is common. Some of the things that happen in Mad Men are next to nothing in comparison to acts that occur on an everyday basis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Without discussion between men and women, there will be no hope for a better future...at least one without gender segregation.

Jeffrey Van Davis

I live in Germany, Taught at a college for 9 years. A fellow teacher had a baby last year and according to German law was able to take a year's maternity leave with pay and also receive Kindergeld of ca. 200 dollars a month until the child turns 18. On top of that her job is protected by law so after the year of maternity leave she can return to teaching. To top that off, we all participate in a national healthcare program which means that her child, like the rest of us, is guaranteed excellent healthcare. To top that off ( i know a lot of off topping) that child can study at a german university or even a film academy for practically free (tuition is less than 200 dollars a semester) And once a filmmaker the child can apply for funding for shooting a movie. I myself have received over 50K in funds from Berlin Fim Board as well as Bavaria and Baden Wurttemberg fim funding programs. The government believes in supporting the arts. But hey, that's socialism! Boy are you guys in the states ever lucky not to have to live under such conditions. Of course there is sexism in Germany, maybe even as much as in the states. The old Republican mantra: you can't legislate morality. The hell you can't. The civil rights laws passed in the U. S. means that a black person can not be refused service in a public place of accommodation. Just as the law in Germany guarantees maternity leave for woman and guarantees her place of employment as well.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Thanks guys. Thanks Tony. And, my apologies, I certainly didn't mean to "kick the hornets' nest" about sexism -- which truly is a societal problem. The more we all discuss the issues together the better. At an individual level it does boil down to trying to understand by "walking a mile in someone else's shoes." And walk we must. :) Right now, I'm thinking about moving to Germany -- sounds great! ;) Thanks for sharing, Jeffrey. And thanks for sharing those statistics, Phillip. Although upsetting, there is hope in those numbers. :)

Danny Manus

For the record, my comment was meant in jest.

Chas Franko Fisher

For the record Danny, jokes about oppression are rarely funny to anyone other the oppressors.

Danny Manus

For the record....lighten up. Anything can be funny if you make it so.

Chas Franko Fisher

Of course it can. Doesn't mean your comment was funny. As a white male, you are uniquely unqualified to judge whether racist or sexist humour is actually funny. And don't you wonder why you seem to repeatedly have this same conversation Danny? I saw the same reaction to your dinner and blowjobs "joke" on Twitter the other day.

Chanel Ashley

Chas, I think you're a little unfair towards, Danny - why are YOU in a position to tell him "as a white male, etc." - I think it may be a little insensitive on your part - SURE, disagree and have your opinion, but to tell someone "they are not qualified to judge racist or sexist humour is actually funny " - come on, mate, that's a little high and mighty on your part - it's like Adam Goodes, you disagree or criticise him, you're a "racist" - I used to love him as a footballer, but ever since he pointed the finger at that 13 year old girl…….I would almost bet you saw his act as almost heroic and watching that 13 year old marched out by security as "deserved" justice - you're right, I shouldn't judge or presume, but didn't you? Cheers, mate.

Chas Franko Fisher

High and mighty? Yup. Overly sensitive? Maybe. Insensitive? Definitely not. As a white male myself, all I know is that I cannot possibly comment, comprehend or judge what it must be like to be part of an oppressed minority. Particular women who are in many told that they cannot complain because they aren't oppressed at all. For that reason I don't comment on Adam Goodes at all. I will never be able to share his point of view. But I certainly don't make jokes about him or the indigenous perspective and then tell people to lighten up because "everything is funny to someone". Paedophiles probably have inside jokes that they find funny about molesting children. Does that mean we should all make such jokes?

Chas Franko Fisher

But to an extent I'll agree with Danny. Humour should be transgressive. Push boundaries. But the thing is, you only get away with it if you are funny. And if you are joking about oppressed people, you only get away with it if they find it funny. Did you find his comment funny Chanel?

Chanel Ashley

I don't believe in putting people down, and I don't think Danny was guilty of such - if you're referring to his comment "NO - THAT was sexism" - well, isn't he correct? Wasn't it worse in that era compared to today? I would have said YES - sure it exists today, but substantial inroads have been made - I have often read Danny's remarks and don't mind his "humour" - I appreciate you expressed your parameters re "not knowing what it would be like to be part of an oppressed minority " - I respect that sentiment, but they are YOUR parameters, I think it inappropriate to impose your way of thinking, people can decide for themselves - I don't recall anyone stating "women can't complain because they aren't oppressed at all" - maybe I missed it - I believe "humour" is important, it can raise issues and bridge issues - re your last comment, yes, I see humour in his remarks, you didn't - there is no right or wrong, our interpretation of his comments was not the same, but it's dangerous to tell someone they are not "qualified" - pity about Goodes, interested in your thoughts re that 13 year old girl, Adam lost me as an admirer of his incredible talents, cheers.

Cherie Grant

wow, this went south fast. thanks. fun read.

Jean-Pierre Chapoteau

I have a pretty sick sense of humor, but no matter how much I read Danny's comment, I can't seem to find the "humor" in it. I guess the use of the word "complain" as if woman are nagging about sexism? I don't know. I just don't get it. But I googled "Adam Goodes racism" And had a laugh for the morning. That was hilarious. What an asshole, but that little girl deserved it if she really said something racist to him. lol! She was so shocked that he stopped and pointed at her! And then she was ACTUALLY removed! LMAO!

Chanel Ashley

I think there were 80,000 people at the football game, the 13 year old girl was behind the goals, insults are not exactly uncommon in sport, let alone football - somehow, with 80,000 screaming fans, Goodes heard her yell "Goodes, you're an ape" - he immediately stopped playing, walked towards the girl and pointed at the girl until security came and forcibly had her removed from the ground - it's become a famous photo of him pointing - Yes, he was vilified, but it's not RACISM - a handful of people bad-mouthed him out of 80K, years ago 20K would have used inappropriate language, so there has been massive improvement - this incident has made Adam Goodes extremely unpopular, he's famous for staging free kicks and "protected" by the umpires because of his high Aboriginal profile - whenever you criticise him, you're immediately a racist - anyway, I used to be a fan of his, but not anymore, disappointed with the way he conducted himself in that and other incidents, cheers.

Beth Fox Heisinger

I didn't find Danny's comment funny. Not at all. I found it to be in poor taste. A simple "sorry" would have been appreciated instead of a defensive and dismissive tone. It's easy to make jokes at the expense and suffering of others. Some of the same issues that existed in the 60s still exist today. These are not "individual parameters" nor "individual opinions" these are real world issues. There are no variants of degrees or levels or versions; sexism is sexism; racism is racism. NO matter the age of the person. Lighten up? Really? C'mon people, aren't we better than this?

Beth Fox Heisinger

About the football game... Isn't anyone even shocked that a 13-year-old girl did something so publicly brazen and racist??!!! That is horrific!!! We, as a society, will never get past these issues because they are passed on through generations -- this behavior is taught. Another possible reason the player stopped in the middle of the game was that the girl being behind the post was regarded as a safety issue. In the U.S., I believe, anyone on the field without permission can be arrested. Frankly, because she is a minor her parents should have been fined, at least for trespassing.

Danny Manus

Thank you Chanel for the comments, I appreciate it. I have no idea who Adam Goodes is or the story so I'm not gonna comment on that. And Beth I am sorry if I offended you. Or anyone. However, I do need to say this... For someone to tell me that I can't find something funny or comprehend something because I'm a white male is the most insulting and stupid and racist/sexist thing I've ever heard. Flip it around...what if I had said to someone "Oh you can't talk about that - youre a woman" or "You couldn't possibly understand my point - you're Black." You'd think I was a disgusting racist. But its okay to say that to white men? You can still be a sexist racist even if youre insulting the majority... There is no limit on humor if it's funny. I'll admit my comment wasn't very funny. Granted. But screw anyone who tells me I can't say it. If you're overly sensitive to a certain type of humor, that's YOUR issue. Not the humorist's. Some racist jokes are funny. Some sexist jokes are funny. Some Jewish jokes are funny (I'm Jewish). I even heard a hilarious 9/11 joke from Jim Jeffries that made Me LOL. That is what humor is for. To make it okay to laugh about painful things. I am sorry if I offended any women by my comment it was not the intent. And for the record I'm in the middle of the 4th season of Mad Men and Peggy & Joan are the only characters I really like.

Chas Franko Fisher

Thanks Danny. As you continue, I suspect Joan and Peggy will continue to be your favourite characters. For the record, I never said you cannot say something. I am very pro free speech. But I stand by my comment about comprehending. You and I will never ever understand what it will be like to be a person of colour or a woman (subject to drastic surgery ;) ). That's not to say you can't make racist or sexist jokes. But I think you need to be prepared for pushback on that. Because we as white males have the majority of power in this world. And laughing about those with less power because they have less power is not likely to be funny to those people. It will be offensive to them. And if you do not care about that, fine. But I suspect you are a person who does not want to unintentionally hurt anyone. If that is the case, perhaps take a bit more care with your jokes. Continue as you will. There are plenty of forums and meme generators that will love your sense of humour. Maybe you need to select your forums better. Plenty of women-hating comedians out there.

Chas Franko Fisher

@Chanel: love how you think calling an indigenous man an ape isn't racist. "Yes, he was vilified, but it's not RACISM". What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Chanel Ashley

Chas, you obviously have no comprehension of some appalling language used at some sports venues, I could use examples here of what I would deem "racist" remarks, happy to send you an email and compare the language - called an ape, from my perspective, doesn't compare with "you black c…" etc, - YES, there is racism and sexism, but geez, it has improved and been cleaned up dramatically - Mad Men would depict how bad sexism was in that era, has it improved? Language at football games was APPALLING and SHOCKING in the 80's and 90's, the language isn't even close to what used to be said, it's no longer tolerated, which is great - I'm not defending a position, outside the fact that in our country it has IMPROVED DRAMATICALLY.

Chanel Ashley

Oliver, what would the supporter reaction be like at a Manchester United game versus Liverpool, the language perhaps CAUSTIC and LIVELY - very rare for violence at Australian football games and many have crowds exceeding 70,000 spectators - remember that footage of Chelsea fans in Paris pushing that black man off the train while they sang "we're racist and we like it" - foul language, poor taste and vilification is a separate issue, not every negative is racism.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Thanks Danny. Much appreciated. Sometimes humor backfires. I shared my personal thoughts about why I chose not to watch Mad Men. I've already apologized for my unintentional part in "kicking this hornets' nest." Perhaps I started this mess. So, please, let's all stop kicking the damn thing and move on. ;) Thanks everyone.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Yeah, I was a little confused about the Australian comments as well. But, again, perhaps it's best to move on. :)

Chas Franko Fisher

"Man, thank goodness we only waterboard people now instead of cutting their limbs off. Things are so much better now." I am not arguing that things aren't better. I'm arguing whether they are appropriate or not by our standards today. Here is a man who comes from a race that was decimated and dispossed 300 years ago. His race today has half the life expectancy than most other races in his country. Twice the amount of poverty. His parents generation were kidnapped by the government and put in schools to be raised to be white and thus resulted in the loss of many cultural practices and languages. Despite all of this, he has risen to the pinnacle of achievement in his field. While performing he hears a 13 year old white girl racially vilify him. Should he do nothing? Or should he draw a line in th sand? Tell the world that this is not appropriate. That 13 year olds should not be brought up this way. You think that little girl will ever racially vilify someone again? Again: I'm not judging whether his actions were appropriate or not. I do not think I have the right to judge them nor the ability to understand them.

Chas Franko Fisher

Sorry Beth, just saw your comment. Moving on now.

Danny Manus

Chas thank you for your comments. And I may never experience the world thru a woman's eyes, but i like to think I can comprehend issues. And I'm far from a woman hater!! I love women! I voted for Hilary and I will again. Doesn't mean I can't find sexist humor funny sometimes. What I actually hate are when other white men lecture me with righteous indignation on behalf of a group that isn't even offended. Do you know that the only people who complained about my "sexist joke tweet" were 2 white MALES. Not one woman. Same thing here. Not that we can't defend our fellow (wo)man. But if there is no outrage from those who should be outraged then maybe everyone else needs to calm down.

Danny Manus

And yes Beth, I think its time we all move on. sorry, just saw your comments...

Tony Cella

I didn't read Danny's comments as humorous, but which is why I offered a less flippant explanation of what he was saying without condemning or condoning. Judging a person being for the views of their forebears or their station in life de-humanizes them. We make our own choices. Looking at each white man as a vehicle of oppression is narrow minded, ignorant and disrespectful. For example, I live on public assistance with my parents, and will likely continue to do so into my thirties, because of a lack of journalism jobs, health issues and the devaluation of college degrees. The powerful are not all white or male, but they are all rich. Something to think about... ...and discuss in the Anything Goes forum.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Thanks guys! Much appreciated. And, yes, perhaps some of this subject matter could move to "Anything Goes" should others wish to continue. For this thread, it is best to move on. :) Now, weren't we talking about Mad Men?

Beth Fox Heisinger

Yeah, I read that article, Tony. Those men's rights activists, they’re not used to male characters being subjected to that kind of "confinement," poor things. But, yet again, I cannot comment any further. I haven't seen the film. Also, I believe in the Lounge we currently have three or more separate threads going on right now about Mad Max; Fury Road. So, perhaps we should keep this one to just Mad Men. :)

Beth Fox Heisinger

Chas: I read that article and although it's a fun read and is sprinkled with fun advice I personally didn't find it... ummm, helpful? The only line that had any resonance for me as a solid social observation was; "Guys are holding on so tightly to male protaganism because it perpetuates male privilege." Perhaps I'm too old -- I prefer to think of myself as being more wise. Perhaps I'm simply coming from more life experience... Other than that, I don't know. I found this article to be a bit trite and it used a combative ineffective crass tone. It was hard to take it seriously. I'd like to say that I tire of all this gender stuff. Enough already, right? I will always stand firm in the quest for equality. I will always "stand up" for a cause for women -- along with a lot of great men. :) However, I much prefer to talk about ourselves as individuals. Who we each are not who we are as a gender group. I'd much prefer to talk about all of us being creative human beings. We are more the same than we are different. Wasn't that part of Mad Men? That both the men and women characters were lost, broken people striving for the same thing -- self-fullfillment; self-realization. That they, or we, need to be much more than just our jobs.

Chas Franko Fisher

Hey Beth, I'll try and be quick as I am at work ;) The article's tone is probably due to the fact that it was a speech, not an article. But as for your point about championing individuals as opposed to the whole gender, here is one piece of advice that I loved: "So you gotta go for it. Just do me a favor and FUCK SOME SHIT UP. Surprise yourself, wake up your actors, get wild with your performances, try shit, put in that funky dialogue you’re embarrassed of—in fact, rub your fucked-up-ness all over your scripts, add some shame and embarrassment and glee, and then dare yourself to shoot it, SERIOUSLY. Go big or go home—be a creature unlike any other." In other words, be the most individual you can be. Bringing it back to Mad Men, I think Peggy and Joan were two of the most captivating characters because the sexism of the time period was an external antagonist. Most of the male characters - Don especially - were their own antagonists, plagued by internal conflicts. But there are only so many times you can watch a character self-destruct and have it be compelling. Peggy and Joan had their own internal issues as well as being up against a world that thought them incapable of simple achievements, let alone the dreams they were striving for. They had to beat their own insecurities and then the world in order to get anywhere. Much more compelling. As for playing in the 60s sexism sandbox, my only concern about the show is exactly some of the reactions we have seen in this thread: that people will watch it and give themselves a pat on the back "Thank goodness we aren't sexist anymore." Just because the sexism has been driven underground, become slightly more subtle, doesn't mean it isn't there. But hopefully the show just more overtly highlights the issues still plaguing women and men today.

Beth Fox Heisinger

Hey Chas, I appreciate that the article, or speech, reached you; inspired you. That's great. Thanks for sharing it. :) I find it somewhat ironic that her speech was directed towards women and yet for me it fell completely flat. I thought, "meh." For others that may not be the case. For me, that kind of crass, cocky bravado just isn't interesting, certainly not inspiring. This will sound weird but I don't care for some feminist messaging -- too polarizing. I love in-your-face, profound, comedic opinions, but after reading that I regard her with skepticism and disappointment. That's just my opinion. Again, to each their own. ;)

Chas Franko Fisher

If it's one thing I've learned, it's that there is no one way to be a feminist. My views changed radically after having children of my own. So much of gender is baked into our DNA and body chemistry. Not everything is a choice or created by social conditioning IMNSHO.

Cherie Grant

I so want to argue that point with you Chas, but I don't want to keep this thread off topic.

Chas Franko Fisher

Can argue in the messenger :)

Chas Franko Fisher

And for the record, I am not arguing against the power, prevalence or importance of social conditioning. I have bought my sons dolls and I try to keep my daughter out of dresses (she's only 2 months old). But where my opinion changed was that gender was ENTIRELY a social construct. Elements of it is. But there are elements that I see in infants too young to be conditioned. Much like we can't choose our sexuality.

Beth Fox Heisinger

I could also debate against some of your points, Chas, but I'd rather not. You know, if your daughter's mother would like her to wear dresses, or if later your daughter wants to wear dresses, she should. Why mess with some of the cute fun of a baby girl? Plus, dresses are more diaper-changing friendly. LOL! Besides, you know she'll decide all on her own. Just the fact that your children have each other, they will grow up with a sense of compassion, tolerance and understanding for each other and their genders -- even if they fight all the time. ;) Congratulations on your newest family member!

Chas Franko Fisher

Thankfully my wife is a lot more sensible than me and so my daughter wears dresses. But why is no one arguing for me to put my son in a dress? What I rail against is the idea that we need to identify by our gender from day one. That I need to tell the world, this is a little girl. Look at her pretty dress. When I don't have to do that for my son. Gender is going to be a massive part of who anyone is already.

Chas Franko Fisher

But everyone keeps telling me to calm down. That the most important thing is to just be relaxed, happy and caring parents. Everything else will work itself out ;)

Tony Cella

Better question: why don't you raise the kids and let them decide what they want to wear when they're old enough?

Beth Fox Heisinger

Yup, that's great advice, Chas. :) Just focus on your children as little individuals. Support their interests. Be their everything. :) They go through phases as they discover the world and themselves. It's a blast! Enjoy! :)

Chas Franko Fisher

Will do.

Chanel Ashley

Chas, no need to rail, perhaps you should try wearing a dress yourself, it should then through personal experience allow you to decide whether it would be such a good idea for your son, cheers.

Chanel Ashley

Chas, my friend, has it perchance dawned on you that you may be off topic? - but then again, the topic IS Mad Men, lol.

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