There’s a scene in one of the last few episodes of season four of Mad Men where Dr. Faye Miller, cutting ties with the agency, says goodbye to associate Peggy Olsen. Peggy’s upset that she’ll no longer see Faye, who’s become a bit of a role model to her. She offers a flattering confession of how impressed she is with the doctor’s work and marvels at how well Faye can do her job, handle tough feedback from the men in the office and — basically — keep it all together.
Faye’s reaction is simply a demure smile and the statement, ‘Is that what it looks like?”
This wasn’t a particularly important scene, but it’s always stuck with me as so astutely indicative of how females view each other. We’re so apt to compare our own lives to those around us, often finding fault in what we do, how we look or what we accomplish.
Is that what it looks like is the perfect way to sum this up. Because we so often see what we want to see when we look at others’ lives. We see what we want to believe can exist — whether it’s a perfect home, a flawless relationship or impressive career. We fool ourselves into thinking that others have it all, when in reality, everyone’s dealt her own struggles.
Mad Men is a fictional drama, but it’s interesting to see that even decades ago the pressure on women to have it all was as prevalent as it remains today.
On the bright side, we’re no longer required to wear pantyhose or submit to sexual harassment in the workplace