Housewives, Career Gals and the Sexy Single Girl: Feminists and Television’s ‘Mad Men

by Amanda Jarzynski, Staff Writer

Benedictine is teaching about the characters, specifically the lovely ladies on the AMC hit television show “Mad Men,” in Birck Hall room 218.

On April 17th from 4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., Benedictine University is hosting a scholarly presentation from Dr. Jennifer Dunn titled “Housewives, Career Gals and the Sexy Single Girl: Feminisms and Television’s ‘Mad Men.’”

Dunn is an assistant professor of rhetoric and communication at Dominican University.  The presentation she is bringing to BenU centers on the role of women in the show “Mad Men.”  All students and faculty are welcome to attend even if they have not seen the show.

“Mad Men” takes place in the 1950’s and is based on the life of people working in advertising agencies.  Dr. Dunn’s presentation will bring to light the portrayal of women in these agencies at that time.

“The show is very true to life in many ways not only in terms of what the corporate mentality was but the portrayals of men and women in that show too,” Peter Seely, the communications department chair commented about the show.

The communication department has its students do scholarly studies about certain areas of media.  Dunn’s presentation is just one way for students to learn how the media has evolved over time and to deconstruct the show.

“In humanities and literature, they use the term ‘deconstruction,’ basically breaking a subject down to see what it says and what has gone into it,” Seely said.  In a way, the viewers create their own meanings in the show that the author or director or producer never saw in the show.

“We’re hoping to get a particularly good turnout from the communications majors and the writing and publishing and literature majors,” Seely said.  “It should be interesting and enlightening.”