Don Draper is Frightening

‘Mad Men’ is a fantastic television series, and if you’ve never seen it, you probably have no business reading this post (though you’re still invited to). The power of the show to me is the emotions it invokes.  The emotion that rises to the top is DISGUST.

It isn’t even a disgust that I can write off as fiction.

Equality is not something we can merely legislate, it’s a way of thinking. That way of thinking isn’t something that is fixed by pushing a button, but an accumulation of what we see and think on a daily basis.  A cumulative mix of our experiences and our ideals.

The obvious victims in ‘Mad Men’ are women. In the series, much as it was in the time period represented, women are merely objects to achieve a means, be it serving coffee, typing correspondence or boosting the male ego through sexual relations.  It’s abhorrent, and I like to think that we’ve come a long way in our country and in our world to treat women as humans. I do enjoy the comparison to where we are now as to where we were then.  It gives me hope.

But then I have conversations with women today, and see that men aren’t the only problem.  For example, I’ve had conversations where I will call out Don Draper’s callous behavior, and a woman will talk about how ‘hot’ he is.  Really?  Worse, I’ll hear, “I’d have sex with him”.

My logic is infuriated!  Having sex with Don Draper isn’t a statement on equality, it’s a ruse that encourages women to see him as he sees them.  And Don Draper is MUCH better at separating humanity from a tryst than they will ever be.  Thinking that you can outsex Don is like thinking that you can do a better job of biting chicken necks than a fox can. And this way of thinking is just as dangerous to women as not letting them vote.

The mindset does nothing more than sabotage equality based on human rights. You don’t have to be male to dehumanize another human being, women can do it too. And they shouldn’t. Because the more we see each other as a means to resolve our own insecurities, the farther we get from seeing each other as the beautiful, complex people that we really are.


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