Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Mad World

So I tend to have a bit of an obsessive nature.  Recently I discovered the television show Mad Men on my Netflix, and it's all been downhill from there.  I stayed up until 4 in the morning last night watching this show.  Despite needing to wake up to feed the dogs and oh, I don't know, go to work.

Back to Mad Men: despite its vintage subject, it deals with issues highly relevant to today.  One most intriguing and personal subject is the role that women play during this time period.  Now, before you roll your eyes at me and say, ho hum Landree, it's a gosh-darn television show!  It's not like real life!  I must say that I listened to an NPR feature on the show, and though they say it's a little rosy colored and formulaic, it's actually fairly true to the times.

If you haven't seen the show, women play the role you might anticipate during the late 50's, early 60's: subservient, meek, self-deprecating, FOCUSED ON PLEASING MEN.  I.E. serving them, GETTING one if they don't have one already, pretending to be virginal if that's what men want, pretending to be a vixen in the sack if that's what men want...they are being shape-shifters, even with their friends, though we see moments of truth both with their closest women companions and with their husbands (though again, with their husbands, their true feelings are veiled and presented in watercolors, easily washed away if the husband responds negatively). 

Though women have made great strides along the way here til 2010, something about the show scares me: I find the messages that these women are receiving and believing to be extremely prevalent today.  However, they're now delivered in a much more subtle, cloaked way; thus, we find it difficult to detect when we're being told who to be.  Go through your day, ladies, with a conscious awareness, and see how often we're being told what an ideal woman is.  Everything plays a part: most obviously, the media, but even things like our friends, family, and our religion.  With all these subliminal and forthright messages coming at us, it's difficult to even trust our own intuition, as it is so colored by our society and culture.

This relates to Veganism.  Though all the women whose blogs I read are clearly choosing this lifestyle for a cornucopia of EXCELLENT reasons, as are friends in my personal life, it's clear that other women choose it as a means to an end: THINNESS.  And what does our society tell you being thin brings a woman?  Success and happiness, pure and simple...and what makes a woman successful?  We all may believe different things but I know that within my circle (meaning socio-economic status, city, country), I'm still being told success means finding a man and mothering my own family.  Along with having an incredible career and spotless virtue.

Does it matter that these goals are what bring a person to such a beautiful way of life?  Do the ends justify the means?  I have found that once choosing this lifestyle, the reasons for maintaining it grow in depth and expand in reasons.  At the same time, I can't help but foster anger and outrage at the manner in which we women are encouraged to fulfill certain roles in our culture, making drastic life changes to achieve what is considered "ideal".  To include a disclaimer, I'm not denying that men have their own set of rules and messages that make it difficult for them too.  But fact of the matter is, my paycheck is still less than his and looking at the other discrepancies, I'm noticing a lot of less. 

In this case, less is definitely not more.


  1. to be a vegan is a positive however to talk of a non-existant being is a negative if you are such a goddess race Usain Bolt and if you win I'll worship you until I die

  2. what makes a woman successful? follow the same rules as successful men you are no different in that respect or haven't you figured that one out

  3. Great post! I agree. Although we have made strides, we still have a long road ahead of us. Women still make slightly less to the dollar than men. We still are expected to marry and have offspring and be the primary caregiver. The pressure comes later in life now but it is everpresent. I for one, am choosing not to have children. People look at me with disdain when I say this. It is a choice, yet I feel judged for it.

    There are a lot of ways our society can improve. I LOVE this post... It really got me thinking.

    By the way, I also write a Vegan Running Blog. Check it out at: