On ‘Mad Men,’ Past is Prologue
Maya RockeymooreDr. Maya Rockeymoore is president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions, a social change strategy firm in Washington, D.C., and the Center for Global Policy Solutions, a social change nonprofit dedicated to making policy work for people and their environments. She is also the co-chair of the Commission to Modernize Social Security. A regular guest on radio and television shows, Dr. Rockeymoore has appeared on NPR, CNN, Black Entertainment Television, ABC World News Tonight, Fox News, Al Jazeera and C-SPAN.
Mad Men is about to make Emmy history with the highest number of nominations for a drama series. The show depicts an era of American history when the priorities, preferences, and opinions of men prevailed in the public and private spheres of American life, often to the detriment of women. While the show is set in the 1960s, we could imagine what its storyline would look like if written for today’s era.
One show could focus on male-led corporations in male-dominated financial industries creating a hugely devastating housing and economic crises that would take the U.S. economy over a cliff. It would portray how these men would use their power to force Congress to fund an industry bailout at the expense of programs that help women and children.
Another storyline might involve an up-and-coming Midwestern Congressman who devises a plan to cut federal programs important to women and children in favor of diverting those resources to finance lower tax benefits for wealthy male donors and male-led corporations.
Impressed with his charismatic persona and policy brilliance, a majority of the Congressman’s colleagues in the House of Representatives would vote for his budget plan, an uncritical media would hale it as a serious solution for the nation’s fiscal problems, and it would become the gold standard by which Presidential contenders from his political party are measured.
Another exciting thriller would feature a retired Congressman who uses his perch as an appointed chair of a mostly male deficit reduction commission to justify cuts to Social Security, another program on which women and children heavily rely. When pressed about the consequences of his approach, the retired Congressman would liken Social Security to a “milk cow with 310 million tits.” His blatantly sexist comment would then be indulgently dismissed in the media as the amusing meanderings of an elder statesman dedicated to saving his beloved country from financial ruin.
Read the full article in The Huffington Post.