The Male Protagonist
Man of Mad Men

“MEN BACK AT WORK!” Finally, a date is set for the premiere of the fifth season of Mad Men. In this EW photo, Mad Men’s mad men Jon Hamm and John Slattery “share an off-camera laugh on the set of Mad Men.”

What’s that fuzzy blur in the background? Oh. It’s a woman.

I’m torn about Mad Men. Talk about a show with fantastically complex and interesting (pretty white het cis) female characters. And yet ultimately, the show is Mad Men, and Don Draper is the star.

Don is the show’s keystone character. Mad Men features episodes without Betty, without Peggy, without Joan – but never an episode without Don. Don is the only character with whom the viewer experiences flashbacks.

Don is the silhouette in the opening credits:

Don is the figure on the DVD:

Don is the character on the website:If there’s one thing Mad Men has impressed upon its viewers, it’s that a hell of a lot of thought goes into advertising campaigns. Mad Men’s campaign seems to be Don Don Don Don Don Don Don Don.

Whether or not Mad Men is a “feminist show” has been hotly debated. I don’t know whether we ought to classify it as feminist, but I do believe that Mad Men is valuable to feminism because it fosters much-needed conversations about representations of women and men in popular culture.

For instance, Don Draper inspired this hilarious critique of idealized masculinity:

Stay tuned to Vagina Dentwata for a series of Mad Men culture chews…

See also: “What do you do around here besides walking around like you’re trying to get raped?”

2 thoughts on “The Male Protagonist
Man of Mad Men

  1. If you’ve ever said you wanted a “man’s man” sample some Don Draper. If you can get by the infidelity, manipulation, and bucket o’ secrets, have at. He IS really handsome.

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