The new season of "Mad Men" is upon us: the brilliant, beautiful, painful, inspiring, fascinating TV series on AMC about a New York ad agency in the early 1960s, and the screwed-up, rapidly- changing- but- not- rapidly- enough world of gender and race and sex during that place and time.
And it's reminding me of a rant I've been wanting to rant for a little while now:
Why are so many women hot for Don Draper?
The lying, philandering, self-absorbed, work-obsessed, emotionally warped, goes- through- mistresses- like- cigarettes, sexist prick of a lead character, Don Draper?
Via Amanda Marcotte at Pandagon, we have this charming article in the New York Observer, speculating on why Don Draper is inspiring so much lust in so many women. The gist of the article is that feminism has been too successful -- and women aren't happy with it. We've gotten our equal partners, men who share housework and child-care, men who express their emotions and support us in our careers, men who treat women with respect and value home and family more than work... and it's letting us down. What we really want is Don Draper. And we're hypocrites for expecting men to be more feminist... while fantasizing about sexist bad boys who treat women like dirt.
Speaking as someone with a mild Don Draper fetish (although Joan Holloway is the "Mad Men" character I really crave): This is just silly and wrong. It's silly and wrong for so many reasons, I can't even begin to outline them all. (Although I'm certainly going to try.)
Thus begins my latest Media Darling column on CarnalNation, Bad Boys and "Mad Men": What Do Women Want? To find out more about what the nationwide Don Draper fetish does and doesn't say about female desires and fantasies -- and why having fantasies about a fictional sexist philanderer doesn't undermine our feminism -- read the rest of the piece. (And if you feel inspired to comment here, please consider cross-posting your comment to Carnal Nation -- they like comments there, too.) Enjoy!