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Mad Men Mayhem

I must begin by apologizing for the uneventfulness of this post, I am currently in the warm and beautiful costa rica where internet access is limited and technology has yet to catch up, both are thing that make this place what it is in my opinion. Despite this, I would never dare miss a blog post or any opportunity to reconnect with the our class for that matter! So, in regards to our blog prompt this week and with last weeks discussion weighing heavy on my mind, I have decided to write about the AMC’s show “Mad Men,” and their disrespect of women in the workplace.

Mad Men has become a resounding success on television, as many critics enjoy their accurate representations of the prototypical 1960 advertising industry. Within this industry, there is rampant alcoholism, frivolousness, and a general, lack of respect towards women. The video clip that I must ask you to follow yourself (as the technology here does not allow me to embed the video or any links) represents some of these behaviors. In accordance to our discussion last week, this is the exact type of representation that many women resent being put out there in media. I cannot help but observe two different viewpoints for this discussion, the first acknowledges the disrespect such a program exudes towards females while the second celebrates this extreme angle for its use today.

For my first argument, one need to only look so far as their own tendencies and his or her parents’ tendencies to understand how imitation plays a role in development. In fact, imitation is our primary means of learning that helps us form a fundamental backbone towards our own decision making at any time. Therefore, as this show is broadcasted to individuals across America at different points in their lives, the implications its actors’ behaviors may have on an incoming generation of workers is unknown. While these actors are held on a pedestal for being exhibited by a prominent television show, there could perhaps be individuals believing that they became successful based on their behaviors, thus these individuals will replicate such tendencies. When these tendencies are bigotry, alcoholism, and sexism, good outcomes are generally few and far between. Therefore, this show may be teaching the incoming (or current) generation immoral, unethical, and improper tendencies within the workplace.

The second argument acknowledges the teaching aspect that media has on individuals, yet presents the opposite case. This side agrees that these actors are implicitly affecting viewers, yet the absurdity of the program and of the actors’ actions make the viewer recognize their imperfections. This, I believe, is the primary goal of the show producers. They want to present such a striking side of how advertising used to work in the ’60s that viewers should observe these actions and scoff at the improper way individuals conducted themselves back in this day. Utilizing such an approach, the producers are playing with fire, but ultimately in a beneficial way to society. As my father points out (he is an avid watcher), observing how the business world used to be allows us to appreciate and further the developments made in this generation towards respecting women and people of all backgrounds in the workplace.

Being presented with such an argument, I turn the question to you: how do you feel about this show? Do you fall into either of these arguments or do you find your own condoning or upholding the shows’ depictions?


About Derek

I am a senior at Bucknell University where I am double majoring in Management and Psychology.


6 thoughts on “Mad Men Mayhem

  1. Your video clip is an excellent choice to support your argument. While I have never seen the show, I only need to watch the 1 minute clip to understand what you mean. Your post reminded me a little bit of Ben’s post on Grnad Theft Auto. Both Madmen and the video game may be teaching viewers and gamers unethical and immoral behaviors, including violence, sexism, objectifying women, etc. Then, these people will learn the behaviors and possibly imitate them in society. This is wrong and while shows/games like this are humorous/entertaining, I think that they sometimes send the wrong message.

    Posted by Lauren McGuiggan | March 6, 2012, 9:12 am
  2. Derek, I’m glad you posted about Mad Men because I’ve heard it’s a great show, but also brings up inequalities in the workplace that our present society is trying to change. I’ve never seen the show, but maybe I’ll get to that over Spring Break. As for your post, and the Mad Men show itself, it reminds me of Beth’s post “Pass The Chicken Nuggets.” She describes the culture of her internship workplace to be that of a frat house, with subtle inequalities towards women. While you make a good point that Mad Men shows us what not to do anymore in the workplace, it also makes us think twice about our own experiences and whether or not society has progressed as much as we think it has. Is Beth’s experience abnormal nowadays? Is Mad Men contributing to these types of behaviors? I don’t know the answer to these questions but they’re interesting starting points when thinking about today’s workplace and how we will act once graduate into the corporate world.

    Posted by Ben K. | March 6, 2012, 4:35 pm
  3. Even though I had Mad Men on the list of shows in my head that would be really boring to post about when I wrote this blog prompt, I guess your post is alright. I definitely disagree with the first view you mentioned. People would have to be completely oblivious to the premise of the show if they were to accept this view. Obviously it is about business many decades ago, and at that point in time women were treated poorly and people drank at work–fact. I think that in reality Mad Men shows the stark contrast between how business and society have been changing, while also in a sense presenting a sort of warning for what it could potentially go back to and the many inequalities that existed and still exist in some fashion. Have fun in Costa Rica!

    Posted by Catherine Gibbons | March 6, 2012, 4:45 pm
  4. Derek, I have never seen the show but it seems quite interesting. I am curious to see more episodes. I can appreciate a show who’s writers are willing to take risks, it makes the show more unique and refreshing. By what you’ve presented, I can see that there are plenty of examples of un-ethical behaviors. The time setting provides seperation for the viewer, allowing it to be entertaining without being too personnally thought provoking. I have to ask myself though, “How far removed are we from these sort of business practices?” My bf has been to Costa quite a few times to surf and says its beautiful there . . . enjoy.

    Posted by Amanda Skonezney | March 6, 2012, 9:28 pm
  5. Like Catherine, I don’t think anyone watching the show today are going to replicate the actions they observe on the show in their own workplace. But Ben does bring up a good point in referencing Beth’s post that maybe we haven’t made the strides we think we’ve made in corporate America today. I was in Costa Rica (Osa Peninsula) over winter break…it’s awesome! Are you surfing that super long wave??

    Posted by Lauren Daley | March 7, 2012, 1:50 am
    • Appreciate all the comments everyone! But unfortunately not Lauren, (I’m assuming you mean Ollie’s Point from the Endless Summer?) I am staying more towards Playa Grande (also in the movie) and Playa Avellana near the Tamarindo. Although, I did have lunch across from Robert August, star in the movie, on Saturday!

      Posted by Derek | March 7, 2012, 8:27 am

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Blog 5 before session 6 What (interest) or Who (person) Inspires You? For this week’s prompt, the Blog Council wants you to examine how this class relates to your own interests. So, please write about how this class relates to some of your own intellectual or other learning interests. We are NOT interested in how it relates to a specific career goal. Plan B: same idea, but based on a person. See whole post for details.

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