In last week’s Pan Am post, I failed to note that it wasn’t the only show seeking to ride the wave of Mad Men‘s 60s success. This fall will also see the start-up of The Playboy Club, which revolves around the patrons and bunnies at Chicago’s original Playboy Club. According to the show’s trailer, there will of course be plenty of murder, mayhem and broken hearts — which does make it slightly more intriguing than Pan Am‘s promise of humiliating weekly weigh-ins and the feminist freedom of being a sky waitress.
One thing that is notable about both of these shows is that, unlike Mad Men, they are pretty female-centric. Sure, Mad Men has Betty, Joan, Sally and Peggy, but almost all of the female characters are being showcased within a “man’s world.” While the Playboy Club and Pan Am certainly are about the ways in which these women had to alter themselves in order to please their male customers, many of the show’s scenes take place away from that, where the women talk amongst themselves in a kind of smaller “female sphere” within the larger male zones. That doesn’t make either of these shows un-sexist, necessarily, but it does give us — and the writers — a chance to break the habit of having female characters mostly responding to or talking about men.
With that said, Gloria Steinem, who has not seen The Playboy Club, saw fit to declare it sexist, saying:
“I hope people boycott it. It’s just not telling the truth about the era. I just know that over the years, women have called me and told me horror stories of what …