"The Collaborators" episode of "Mad Men," set in January 1968, provides flashbacks of how tough we women had it back then. No female on the show has the emotional strength to lean in, not even Peggy Olson who we once thought had the greatest potential for growth.
Peggy's boss pushes her to betray her friendship, one of the few she has, in order to gain possible access to the Heinz Ketchup account. The guys in Peggy's office harass her with their imaginative portrayal of a fictional feminine hygiene product which deals with The Professional Woman.
Joan, who's now partner after prostituting herself for the Jaguar account, still doesn't like herself. And that was the core problem most of us women had back then: self dislike verging on self hate. We engaged in those wholesome American activities with the families we were starting but so often felt less-than, even bad.
Megan, who should be on the birth control pill since her marriage is so wobbly, has a miscarriage. She is relieved. She's gone from vibrant and young to downright weary. Yeah, Don can pull you down and men did just that in those days. Some of the men who married my college friends destroyed them.
Sylvia accepts money from Don for their sex. She's another sad sack.
The one woman who might be in for a growth spurt is Trudy, Pete's wife in the Connecticut suburbs. She could exit that marriage and start a new life in a less crass part of America than the bedroom communities surrounding Manhattan. Could Trudy morph into a hippie? That was what some of us females did during the 60s, just to dodge the bullet of marriage, motherhood, and being a second-class citizen in the workplace.
Meanwhile Don is a fount of poison when it comes to women. No wonder, he has flashbacks of being with his mother in a whorehouse.