‘I’d Rather Be Peggy than Betty’: Female Audience Responses to Mad Men

  • Katixa Agirre


The music starts and a graphic animation of a businessman enters an office. Suddenly everything starts to dissolve: the man loses his grip and starts falling from the top of a skyscraper. The fall is accompanied by the abundant adverts covering the building. Most of them are women’s products and tell us about a powerful, new target: the new woman. After all, these are the sixties, and the times, as everybody knows, they are a-changin’. So the man falls and nothing seems to stop him. But relax — we are told. The freefall was just a bad dream; suddenly the man is again in his office, relaxed, smoking a cigarette. After some episodes enjoying these opening credits, the audience will recognise Don Draper, creative genius of fictional ad agency Sterling Cooper, as the man who falls and then lights a cigarette as if nothing had happened. And viewers will learn that the fiction is taking them to a time when the reign of the white male is still in force. That is what Mad Men, successful AMC historical drama, is about: the joy of the white male hegemony just before its decline. Or to put it in other words: the fun display of bad habits, negligent parenting, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and many other vices of the time.


Focus Group Sexual Harassment Popular Culture Feminist Issue Modern Woman 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Katixa Agirre 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katixa Agirre
    • 1
  1. 1.University of the Basque CountrySpain

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