In the 1980s a monumental movement took place within the realm of feminist studies when the idea of post-structuralist feminism was created. Post-structuralist feminism is based upon the principal that we as a society must look closer at the language order that teaches us to be what culture labels as “women.” It is only through viewing the cultural constructions that constitute women as different from men that beneficial change can be brought about to women. Unlike previous feminist theories, post-structuralism doesn’t believe that the difference between genders is biological, but rather that it is cultural. Society has created definitions for what is man and what is women, not our metaphysical bodies as the other feminist theories believe. This classifies post-structuralism as a form of non-essentialist feminism. They believe that everything that defines a women as a women is purely cultural. There is no essential femininity behind this social construction. Post-structuralists aim to look carefully at the relationship between a given gender identity and the patriarchal order that rules society. They want to analyze the ways through which sexuality and subjectivity are created concurrently.
NOTE: This is an essay I wrote for my World Since 1914 course, which had me write a paper on anything dealing with well the world since 1914. Naturally I picked Mad Men as my topic and decided to discuss how the series reflects the changing times of the 1960s.
Cigarettes, sex, and advertising. Typically these are not the thoughts that come to mind when the 1960s are brought up, yet in recent years they’ve become defining terms. This way of thinking is largely due to the phenomena that AMC’s flagship series Mad Men has become. Premiering in 2007, the series focuses on the lives of middle to upper class advertising agents throughout the ‘60s. On the surface the show’s time period exists to give the series a glamorous set design; an excuse to have the men in tailored suits and women in elegant dresses. Yet the show’s time period does so much more then just add stunning visuals, rather it defines the entire series. Mad Men plays out as an intellectual study of people’s lives in the 1960s as they attempt to survive and adapt to America’s radical social and cultural revolutions. Continue reading