June 16, 2009

hindsight is scary-scary

A fictional character's actions in a fictional situation on a fictional tv show just made me SO ANGRY. I can't even explain it. There was just something about the situation, as it unfolded, that plunged me into numbing shock, followed by a small version of fury that could have easily escalated to a full-on version if there were any reality to what I was watching.

It was the second or third episode of the first season of Mad Men, and because we don't have cable, we decided to try it out through Netflix. If you haven't seen it, it's set in the 50's and therefore is full of somewhat predictable chauvinism and double standards- some of which are entertaining, and some are not so much.

So, the part that made my jaw drop involved the main character's wife, who is young but has periods of time when her hands go numb, usually in not-so-convenient situations (Parkinson's?). No doctor can diagnose the problem, and one finally suggests she see a psychiatrist. Because, of course, women's brains are half feathers and half jello, and also susceptible to their "nerves", whatever that may mean. Farther along in the episode, she sees the psychiatrist, uncomfortably muttering on the couch while he silently takes notes. At the very end, her husband comes home, makes sure she is safely in bed, and then heads to his office where he calls the previously mentioned psychiatrist and gets the low-down on her session.

WHAT? I mean, I realized that at this time women were confined to specifically outlined roles, and generally understood to be the weaker (emotionally, mentally, physically) sex, but would this lack of doctor-patient confidentiality be realistic? Were women really perceived to be as inept as children? I'm sure this situation wasn't too much of a stretch, but I also wonder if they're playing up the circumstances of the era for dramatic purposes. Probably a mix of the two.

I'm still not sure why it got to me the way it did... I guess all I can say is I'm thankful to be alive when I am. And where I am. No era is without its injustice and suffering, at any given place on the planet. I'm just blessed, I guess, to have a husband who views me as more than a dishwasher and a baby maker.


  1. what's so wrong with baby-makers?


    but yes, we are lucky. having a vagina really made life difficult in centuries past. and though, unfortunately, it's probably just as hard for women in some parts of the world, or even in some homes in the good ol' USA, today, we have come a long way.

    we should continue this conversation over tea. or coffee. or alcohol. in person.

  2. also, bryan says, "it's not having a vagina that's the problem, it's NOT having a penis."

  3. just baby-makers who also lack souls and brains. :) and, I second your idea.