Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1757-1898
  • E-ISSN: 1757-1901


This article argues that a post-feminist spirit underlies the representation of the successful television series Mad Men (AMC 2007–). Set in the flourishing New York advertising industry during the early 1960s, Mad Men depicts the rapid changes experienced in gender identities and cross-gender relationships in both the public and private spheres. This article contends that a post-feminist sensibility – a term proposed by Rosalind Gill – can be felt at different levels as the fiction develops. First, it permits self-indulgence in the viewer: the time set justifies the depiction of blatant sexism and at the same time imposes a lapse so wide that feminist awakening can be simultaneously viewed as urgent in the 1960s and as a victory already achieved. Second, it inspires nostalgia and venerates pre-feminist glamour and straightforwardness. Finally, a post-feminist spirit imbues the representation of female characters but, most notably, plays a crucial role in the depiction of men, particularly the protagonist Donald Draper.


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