The men of Madison Avenue are on top of the world at the beginning of the 1960’s. With nothing on their mind but making money and wooing ladies, the main male characters clearly depict the gender differences that were apparent during that era.
For example, in one of the episodes, a high-class Jewish department store owner comes to the men at Sterling Cooper Advertisement Agency, expecting a well thought out and eye-catching ad for her store. The problem lies right there though; she is a woman, and that undeniably causes the men in the room to either treat her like meat or disregard her ideas.
He pitches an idea to her about putting coupons in the advertisement for her store; when she disapproves the idea and begins to get upset, her tone raises in such a way that it commands the room to listen to her. In-fact, the men presenting the advertisement expected to be working with a male store owner, because a woman rarely had such a prestigious position of power in the business world.
When the men, including the main male character, Don, walk into the conference room, Don immediately reaches to shake the hand of the man standing next to well-dressed and dignified store owner, Rachel. After Don pitches his idea that includes coupons, she becomes angered. She feels disrespected, and in return, she speaks her mind. This confidence being shown from a woman catches Don off guard. Don’s temper level raises because he feels as if his power and masculinity is being challenged. He looks her directly in the eyes and says that he will NOT stay sitting in a meeting room in which a woman is telling him what to do. He assumes that he is right, and she is wrong.
This show references so many issues that were apparent in the culture of the early 1960’s. The women are cookie-cutters, and the men spend their days with booze and mistresses.
Also, everyone smokes cigarettes.
I could go on and on with the cultural references, but I’ll save them for discussion later, or a paper!