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April 3, 2013

Peggy/Mad Men vs Hannah/Girls: Exactly Why LEAN IN is Generating Conversation


Watching the two-hour premiere of Mad Men last night I found myself thinking about Girls. I started to compare Peggy to Hannah.  While Peggy has her share of “issues,” she is so smart and grounded compared to Hannah. What are we saying about today’s 20Something women here? Are we headed backwards now?

Think about it. In Mad Men in the late ’60s, Peggy is playing in the boys’ club;  to quote Sheryl Sandberg, she’s as least “leaning in.” Peggy comes in when needed, attacks her projects and is maturing to play toe to toe with the boys. AND…she actually seems to learn from what has happened to her. Hannah, who timeframe-wise could be Peggy’s granddaughter, is drifting blaming everyone else for her problems. She learns nothing from what happens to her and has friends who seem equally vacuous. If you think about the contrasts between them and how they both stereotypically look at women in these two eras, is it any wonder that LEAN IN has generated so much conversation?

Ask yourself this --- on television, which 20Something characters have their acts together? Does it bug anyone else that the laughs come from such a low barrier? Who do you feel better about watching --- Peggy? Hannah?