Hi all, sorry for the late start over here, but I’m Monica from The American Prospect and PostBourgie. I was happy to get an invite to blog for a couple of weeks, and will work really hard to squeeze in time between my work at Tapped and PB.
I wanted to kick it off by bringing up a minor annoyance of mine: the assumption that the sexual exploration of a pre-teen always necessarily means she was sexually abused. That’s the discussion over at Slate, in the comments section, about the latest episode of MadMen. In a pivotal scene, Sally’s friend’s mom catches her masturbating on the couch, and rushes Sally home to complain to Betty. Some commenters wonder whether this brings up uncomfortable possibilities about Grandpa Gene’s closeness with his granddaughter. His death, Betty points out to the psychiatrist Sally is taken to see after the episode, precipitated Sally’s misbehavior.
Child abuse is a serious issue and, truthfully, is most often perpetrated by family members and friends. It’s not impossible Gene was an abuser, and maybe that’s where the show’s producers are taking it. But honestly, a ten-year-old boy masturbating wouldn’t arouse the same suspicions, and it’s not crazy that a ten-year-old would start exploring his or her sexuality. We have a tendency to think of the middle part of the last century as this pristine era, right before the sexplosion of the 60s, in which girls wouldn’t have known how to do those things. But think about it: did anyone have to tell you what to do? We certainly don’t talk much about masturbation now, and lots of girls do it.
So, while the commenters have pointed to a lot of creepy-in-retrospect scenes from last season, I’m not convinced. I don’t remember anything seeming weird or untoward, but, chances are, if I viewed them with a suspicious lens, I would now. It doesn’t mean that’s not where the show is taking the Sally storyline. It just means I’ll be disappointed if it is.
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