Beauty Notes and Musings: the Debris of Mad Men

Jon Hamm’s quiet, brilliant yet bordello mind. Christina Hendricks’ voluptuous yet feral aura. The distinct locker-room vibe inhibiting the halls of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Advertising. These are some of the palpable, infectious flavors of Mad Men — the show that has spawned millions of mad women.

When we say “mad,” we mean “mad” for beauty. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if you’ve started to notice an increasing number of redheads on your way to work, the encounters are no accident.

Which brings us to the subject of the voluptuous figure.

It was a long time ago when a curvaceous body image was considered beautiful; the waify Kate Moss look still penetrates today’s celebrity and fashion media and has given some women a run for their dinners. Since the first season of Mad Men, we’ve seen a shift in the way people perceive “beautiful” in the media. It’s obvious that the female stars of the show keep their bodies in perfect shape, but is it still considered beautiful today in 2010 as opposed to 1960?

January Jones (Betty Draper), Christina Hendricks (Joan Holloway), Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson) have all received praise for their acting chops as well as their “real” female shape. Hendricks made headlines recently when she said that not only does she love her curves, but that she loved herself even more when she was 15 pounds heavier.

Jones said that the director wants the characters to be as true to the 1960s as possible, which includes their clothing, hair, makeup and their body type: “He would prefer that we didn’t work out and that we eat really well so we look like healthy women.” Wouldn’t we all love that job!

Instead of aspiring to be the stick figures often seen in the high fashion industry, the future may just bring back the days when a women was considered voluptuous when sporting a few extra pounds. The Guardian UK reports that Hendricks is the ideal role model for young girls. Britain’s equalities minister. Lynne Featherstone stated: “All women have felt that pressure of having to conform to an unrealistic stereotype, which plagues them their whole life. It is not just the immediate harm; it is something that lasts a lifetime. Young girls are under intense pressure the whole time.”

As Betty Francis so eloquently states in the first season : “As far as I’m concerned, as long as men look at me that way, I’m earning my keep.”

Do you think that the media makes too much out of women and their body images? Do you consider a voluptuous figure beautiful? And seriously, have you gone redhead recently?

Allison McKenna

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