'Mad Men' is a feminist powerhouse, even if some people don't see it that way.

It's amazing what has — and hasn't — changed since the "Mad Men" era.

Since its first season, people have debated whether "Mad Men" is a feminist show.

They've argued just about every possible position on the matter. Some aren't fans, while others have claimed that it's actually "the most feminist show on television."


According to show creator Matthew Weiner, however, it's absolutely supposed to be a feminist show.

As he's done on a number of occasions, he again chalked up the feminist interpretation of "Mad Men" as the product of his upbringing.

"I have a powerful mother, I have two professional older sisters, I have a professional, powerful wife, and there have always been a lot of women in authority on the show. My mother was what they called a women's libber. I knew who Betty Friedan was, I knew who Gloria Steinem was, I knew who Bella Abzug was, I knew who Simone de Beauvoir was, and then intellectually in college, feminism was the most prominent idea."
Matthew Weiner, L.A. Times, April 5, 2015

And he was interviewed by his older sister Allison Hope Weiner for her show on TheLipTV.

You can watch the full interview here:

So why do some people struggle to see the feminist ideology Weiner himself has tried to inject here?
For one: the era.

Set in the 1960s, "Mad Men" portrays a world where sexism runs wild, where women are expected to care for the home and children, and where the very idea of questioning a man is seen as a radical act.

It'd be really easy to brush it off as being clueless and sexist, but if you look deeper, you see that the women of the show — specifically Joan (Christina Hendricks), Betty (January Jones), and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) — face and overcome the challenges of their environment.

Are the characters accidental feminists? Maybe! Still, these three women represent what feminism is all about: pursuing goals despite their environment.

Not all activism comes in the form of marches and protests. Sometimes, just speaking up for yourself is a radical act. The women of "Mad Men" take on challenges in both personal and professional settings that involve pushing back on social norms — climbing the corporate ladder, gathering the courage to leave an unhealthy relationship, or parenting as a single mother — these are the seeds that spark social change.

"Mad Men" represents not just how far feminism has come, but how much further it has to go.

It's a period piece that didn't pull punches. It laid out exactly how bad things were for women. Now, we look at that culture with shock, but back then it was the norm.

We have to wonder how we'll look back on the present 50 years from now.

Upworthy's own Elisa Kreisinger made a mash-up featuring the women of "Mad Men" singing along to 1966 feminist anthem "You Keep Me Hangin' On" by The Supremes:

More
LUSH

Handmade cosmetics company Lush is putting its money where its mouth is and taking a bold step for climate change action.

On September 20 in the U.S. and September 27 in Canada, Lush will shut the doors of its 250 shops, e-commerce sites, manufacturing facilities, and headquarters for a day, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike taking place around the world. Lush is encouraging its 5000+ employees "to join this critical movement and take a stand until global leaders are forced to face the climate crisis and enact change."

Keep Reading Show less
Planet
Photo by Annie Bolin on Unsplash

Recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton have sparked a lot of conversation and action on the state level over the issue of gun control. But none may be as encouraging as the most recent one, in which 145 CEOs signed a letter urging the U.S. Senate to take action at their level.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The fine folks at Forbes are currently falling all over themselves trying to clean up the mess they created by publishing their 2019 list of 100 Most Innovative Leaders.

The problem: The list included 99 men and one woman. For those not so good with the math, that means according to Forbes, only 1% of the country's most innovative leaders are female.

Have you ever watched a movie that's so abysmally bad that you wonder how it ever even got made? Where you think, "Hundreds and hundreds of people had to have been directly involved in the production of this film. Did any of them ever think to say, 'Hey, maybe we should just scrap this idea altogether?"

That's how it feels to see a list like this. So how did Forbes come up with these results?

Keep Reading Show less
Innovation

There's something delicious and addicting about those trendy recipe videos circulating online. You've seen them before: the quick and beautiful play-by-plays of mouthwatering dishes you wish you were eating at this very moment.

The recipes seem so simple and magical and get you thinking, "Maybe I can make that five-cheese bacon lasagna tonight." And before you know it, you're at the store loading up on Colby-Monterey Jack (or is that just me?).

For some families, though, the ingredients and final product look a little different. As part of Hunger Action Month, the hunger-relief organization Feeding America is using our obsession with cooking videos to highlight the reality many food-insecure families face when they sit down for dinner: hunger, and no food in sight.

By putting a twist on the bite-sized food videos all over the internet, they hope to raise awareness that hunger is an unacceptable reality for too many families.

Keep Reading Show less
Family
True
Gates Foundation: The Story of Food