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> if we go by shows like Mad Men

Then it's probably good for you to realize that Mad Men purposefully uses the construct of a fictional past to create a neutral stage for the exploration of contemporary issues with sexuality and power dynamics in modern culture.

Are you saying the representation of sexism in the 70s is inaccurate? (I'm asking honestly, I don't know the answer)

You can still find offices today that closely resemble that of Mad Men and in the 60s you could also have found offices that are as respectful of equality as today's average office.

Why they chose this stage, and why it became such a success, is because it's capable of touching this nerve in modern culture by having a story line that is just extreme enough to be able to say "thank God we're not like that anymore" but still recognizable enough to think "that's a bit like X from the office."

The implication is the smug "oh, aren't we better" (as in the blackface routine) but also "I don't think we've really changed enough". Even if people focus more on the former.

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