Growin’ Up – A blog about life after Smith by Lauren Kaelin ’10 : The Beautiful Girls

September 27, 2010

Everyone watches Mad Men, right? 

I’ll admit, I’m a little obsessed. I would buy anything Don Draper tried to sell me. Although I missed last night’s episode and I can’t find it ANYWHERE.

Below is a still from last week’s episode, The Beautiful Girls. You know the story– ad agency in the 60’s. Infidelity, dishonesty, booze, and high-waisted A-lines.

Joan, red-haired sex bomb on the left, is the office’s executive secretary, whose character has recently had to deal with the misogynistic come-ons from the office’s newest male freelancer. Peggy, in the middle, is the character that I have the toughest time with. She’s kind of annoying– ambitious and a lil’ foolhardy, but I think that’s kind of the point. Peggy started off as a secretary and then rose through the ranks to become a copy-writer. She struggles to find her place in the male-dominated workplace. On the right is the show’s newest female lead, Dr. Faye. Right now she’s Don Draper’s love interest and has admittedly chosen a career over a family-life. A decision she is proud of. 

My sister and mother won’t watch the show because they can’t stand to see the female characters being treated so poorly. I admit, that’s part of the draw for me– I can’t look away.

On a related note. The other day I was watching my dear friend Allie ’09, get ready for work. She works at a bank, a corporate extravaganza. PUMPS and business button-downs. As I watched her put on make-up, pearls, and her “commuting footwear,” she talked about being a woman in this male-dominated workplace.

I wear heels because I don’t want them to think I’m small.

I wear my hair up because I don’t want to play with it at my desk.

When I go to a meeting, I bring a big notebook, coffee, tons of shit– you want to spread yourself out on the table–command your space. Do not shrink back and write on some dainty notepad in your lap.

Allie is an ambitious, powerful lady. One day, she’ll go on speaking tours and command audiences of young women and proclaim, “I am the new feminism!” And part of what makes Allie so smart is that she realizes in order to get to that point, in order to be the type of success she wants to be, she knows she has to play the game. And for the time being that means tailored business suits and ledger pads– a modern mad man.

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