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XO, Elisa

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"Mad Men" and maaaad women

Do you watch Mad Men?

I really like that show. It's interesting, taking a peek in a time so different from ours it seems like a different world. Of course it also makes me cringe, to see how it was just ok and perfectly acceptable to be blatantly sexists: men are copywriters and advertising executives, women are secretaries - and that's just until they "get the guy", then they become housewifes and look after the kids while their husbands go to work, enjoy happy hour and get home to a perfect roast made lovingly by their always-put-together, wear-pearls-while-cooking wives. Yikes.

Well, today was reminded of that when a blogger posted something on her blog she had written for her column at a well-known online women network. The reason why she posted it on her blog was that it was turned down by the Editor, because it didn't work with the general idea and purpose of the network, which apparently is to "encourage women to be better wives".

I read this post (and commented on it) because I saw it posted on Twitter. And like me, nearly 1,200 people. And some of them re-tweeted it. Which means that the link to that post might now be spreading like wildfire, not unlikely what happened with the stupid Motrin ad (man, what a fiasco.)

Maybe not. Maybe it won't generate that much outrage. But it might. And I'm having trouble deciding what side of the debate I'd be on.

On one side, I think it's just an unfortunate choice of words, and that even if it isn't people are free to congregate for different things, it's not like they need everybody's approval. It may not be my cup of tea, but people are different and have different tastes.

On the other end... well, read the title of my blog. It's pretty obvious that I'm not exactly the poster child for being a perfect wife/housewife. And I don't really think I'd want to be.

I love my husband. I really do. And I think it's wonderful when you love someone so much that they make you want to be a better person. But being his wife doesn't define me, nor should it. And to be honest, the idea that someone else would feel the need to encourage me or teach me to "be a better wife" is kind of offensive to me: A. because I don't think that's the area where we need support groups, like A.A. I mean, what do you do when you get there? Would it be something like this?

Me: "Hi, I'm Elisa and I'm a bad wife."
*chorus* "Hi, Elisa"

Me: "Sometimes I don't have dinner ready when my husband gets home from work, and yesterday I greeted him at the door in my velour tracksuit. Iwasn't even wearing my pearls and I had no makeup on."
*gasps all around*

B. because it seems to stem from the assumption that once a woman gets married, being a wife becomes her job, and she should work at being good at it. And yet, you won't find that same point of view about husbands. And while I'm not one for going around burning bras, the double standard just drives me crazy, sister suffragette.

and C. because that implies that everyone who doesn't fit that mold is not, in fact, a "good wife". Because if writing a humorous post about your husband makes you a bad wife.... well, something is definitely wrong with that assumption.
Because if there is a Good Wife 101, surely there are many many more important rules in it before "never tease your husband".
Because humor and good-natured teasing don't translate into a lack of respect, much less a lack of love.
Because in that case, the hundreds of mom bloggers who post about their children's less charming habits and traits could then be defined as *gasp* .... bad moms? And if you want a major uproar and outrage, that would definitely do it.

Moral of the story: clubs and "networks" are great to make like-minded friends, but make sure you don't turn judgmental.

Oh, and watch this Simpsons spoof of the Mad Men opning credits, it's awesome!

1 comment:

FoN said...

I tell my husband he's a bad wife all the time! I'm going to forward that post to him...

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