Summary: This video is an advertisement for Mad Men, a television show about ad executives in 1960s New York. True to the time, women in the show are either housewives, or generally relegated to low-paying, low-skilled jobs. This clip satirically illustrates gender inequality in the workplace by offering three rules for success: dress for success, be attentive, and watch your figure. These pieces of advice clearly objectify women, suggesting that a woman’s place at work is to stay out of the way and serve men. Later in the video the announcer says, “because women are unable to engage with men on an intellectual level, it’s extremely important that they stay in shape to hold a man’s attention.” Again, it is the physical appearance that matters because women are not useful for any purpose other than being desired by men. The video can be used to discuss the role of power in gender discrimination and how occupational sex segregation reinforces gender inequality. Explore similar issues of gender inequality and discrimination in the workplace in another Mad Men clip or this 1980s film, and challenge students to think about how gender socialization has or has not changed using these videos.
Submitted By: Abby Kaye-Phillips and Meredith Hills