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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bosses: Better than Boyfriends

Posted by Wm.™ Steven Humphrey on Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 1:13 PM

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From "Footnotes of Mad Men: The Promethean Woman, or, Our Dog in the Parthenon."


For the Promethean woman, most men are a race of confederates, with the frequent exception of two: one's dad and one's boss. The latter assumes the role of the former when she becomes an adult. But a boyfriend offers a predestined biological path. The ultimate consummation of that relationship will end with her becoming nature’s conscript: a mother, a wife, the vessel for a lineage. Whereas, what she could achieve with an admired professional patriarch is glory, power, even empire.

Sometimes these desires misfire (Freud's "erotic transference"); a woman’s desire for approval gets scrambled and mistaken for a desire to conquer. A mistaken lady may endeavor to exploit or control the power dynamic and the intensity of her admiration by bringing her boss down to the level where men most often see her: as sexual object. This undermines his authority and gives her the advantages of other women. With the right amount of backbone, a male boss could resist the storm of her advances in exchange for achievement of their shared goals. If he’s smart, he could tell the difference between admiration and attraction, even when she doesn’t. Acting on these emotions is behavior reserved for equally predatory and pathetic men. But a real boss is equipped to meet the psychological needs of a real, unconfused Promethean woman. He serves as a father-figure, existing as one of the few men in the world who make no biological demands of her. At best, like a father, he is there to reward her best behavior with attention, praise and advancement.

This is why the approval of your boss outweighs that of your boyfriend.

If I were her boss, it would be near impossible to resist Natasha Vargas-Cooper. Read the rest of her brilliant analysis here, and check out her site, Mad Men Unbuttoned, here.

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