SHE-FORCE: Lessons from "Mad Men"

Woman to Women SHE-FORCE: Lessons from Mad Men We’ve come a long way, baby, but what’s in store for 2060? -Holly Mandel If you haven’t seen the series Mad Men on AMC, you should. It’s pretty fantastic and does a great job showing what life was like for women in 1960s New York City. Mad [...]

Woman to Women

SHE-FORCE: Lessons from Mad Men

We’ve come a long way, baby, but what’s in store for 2060?

-Holly Mandel

If you haven’t seen the series Mad Men on AMC, you should. It’s pretty fantastic and does a great job showing what life was like for women in 1960s New York City. Mad Men brilliantly exposes the very narrow and constricting options that women faced nearly five decades ago, compared to today.

When watching Mad Men, I feel suffocated, imagining what it must have been like in the culture that existed for women at that time. Our options were pretty limited in those days: We could choose to be perfectly dressed, happy and pristine housewives or be “working girls” with tight skirts and loose morals, all too willing to play the game of cat-and-mouse with men.

Just think of those Doris Day movies, and what she was trying to uphold in the face of this newfangled work culture. It makes me think, what role would I have chosen? Neither – thank you very much! It makes me even more appreciative of how far we’ve come in these last 50 or so years, and of what women had to wade through and push against to get us all here.

The show also got me thinking about what women will say about us 50 years from now. Will there be a TV program (if they’re even watching TV anymore) that exposes the plight of women in the workplace in 2010 and beyond? What qualities will seem as constricting to future women as wearing girdles and pouring the boss’s coffee with a smile seems to me?

As a new SHE-FORCE, we would want to be interested in that. We’d be a force of women working together in a new way; we would take on all the old artifacts that we still have in us that we just don’t want around anymore: competition, manipulation, need for affirmation, having our emotions play too large a part in how we see what’s REAL, etc.

What is most exciting is that there isn’t really a structure “out there” that is preventing us from creating the kind of relationships we want to have with each other.

Are things perfect? No. But there aren’t the kind of rigid and very anti-female protocols, ways of thinking and even laws out there that there once were. The next frontier is wide open … we just have to decide, consciously, what we want to create and then grab the tool belts and start building.

Our fore-sisters fought very, very hard to pave the way for us to have social, economic and legal freedoms that women had never had before, anywhere. So what are we going to do with those freedoms? Certainly they’re not just so we can become Pussycat Dolls. Sexual freedom is one dimension, but it certainly is not the gold medal. I think what they fought so hard for and sacrificed so much for was so that we – all of us reading this right now – could come together, think, and then make the world we want to live in and what we want it to mean to be women.

If we did that together, on all fronts, THAT would indeed be a SHE-FORCE.

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