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It’s 1965 for Newsweek’s Retro ‘Mad Men’ Issue, Complete with Sexist Ads

It's 1965 for Newsweek's Retro 'Mad Men' Issue, Complete with Sexist Ads

Newsweek went back to 1965 for its retro issue featuring a cover story on “Mad Men,” returning to AMC March 25. The magazine’s “Mad Men” story was written by Eleanor Clift, who recalls her early days at Newsweek back in the 1960s. “Women weren’t supposed to be openly ambitious in the ’60s,” she writes. “When I started at Newsweek as a secretary, I was thrilled to be where what I typed was interesting.” She adds: “It didn’t occur to me that I could be a reporter or a writer, but the frustrations that within the decade would produce a women’s movement were taking root at Newsweek.” An excerpt from the story is below. The ad above is one of several featured in Newsweek as proof of “Mad Men”‘s accurate portrayal of 1960s era sexism.

Luck Be a Lady: Mad Men accurately reflects the Madison Avenue advertising culture that created the Marlboro Man and had doctors offering testimonials about their favorite brand of cigarette. When Draper, the agency’s creative director and Mad Men’s protagonist, comes up with the tagline “It’s toasted” for Lucky Strike, he’s told that all brands are toasted. Without missing a beat he says, “Everybody else’s tobacco is poisonous. Lucky Strike’s is toasted.” The remark illustrates the central theme of Mad Men, the making and selling of the American Dream by Madison Avenue in the early ’60s—before civil rights, feminism, and antiwar protests forced a great awakening on the ruling class. The actors who play these retro characters are all too young to have experienced the ’60s and think of the era as “the good old days,” but that’s true only if you happen to have been born white and male and heterosexual.

Ad caption: Dec. 17, 1962 – “Today’s woman might not admit it, but much of her dazzle comes from man’s ingenuity with chemicals. Stauffer Chemicals, for example, helps clothe her, refresh her, beautify and feed her. Stauffer puts the fluff in her cakes, the ‘psst’ in her sprays, the muscle in her tires.”

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