Who would have guessed when AMC debuted it’s first original weekly drama on July 19th, 2007 that they’d have such a hit on their roster.
The buzz quickly began to spread that this period piece focused on the constantly drinking, chain smoking, overtly sexist New York advertising agency in 1960 could be a commentary on our social structure of the period – and in my opinion, a social mirror of today’s similarities.
“Where the truth lies” is the series positioning tag line – and a poignant one at that. The truth in the series is evident within the main plot, and more importantly, within the morality the character’s represent. The male dominated advertising executives are ruthless, childish and unfaithful to their sense of selves, family, and greed – while maintaining a firm grip on the glass ceiling they support as ad men.
This glass ceiling was broken many years ago, as women were finally allowed to take their rightful place within the advertising agency business. But like other minorities in the workplace, they aren’t always given their due worth or respect – even in today’s litigious society. There is, (again… my opinion here) a firm grip on that same glass ceiling today – on the golf course, in the bar, other other male dominated environments.
I know several local and regional agencies that have women in the very top positions of the organization – but often as original developers of the firm, or having climbed the ranks. With but a few exceptions, I can’t count many women executives that have started their own agency, and remain the leader today. That in itself can be viewed as a sexist statement.
And so comes the poignant episode earlier this year as Don examined himself in the mirror. Finally coming to face himself as his adoring daughter looked on. At that moment, he finally faces his past, and realizes the future he has created for himself – and the man in the mirror isn’t the man he should be.
Don simply can’t stand to look at himself any more.
What’s my point? That even in today’s progressive society, with all our self-assuredness that we have achieved the equlity of sexes we so vehemently say we stand for – the truth is, there is much more work ahead to achieve that goal. It’s time we took a look at ourselves – the groups we form, and the alliances we make, and take a good long look in the mirror like Don has done on the series.
We may not like what we see looking back, but there is time to change our self-image through action.