Elisabeth Moss: Peggy Olson Is a 'Different Kind of Feminist'


With the return of Mad Men on Sunday, so returns Elisabeth Moss as the whip-smart and capable Peggy Olson. Viewers at the end of last season — when Peggy left Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce in favor of a better job at rival agency Cutler Gleason and Chaough — worried that his might not be the case, but, fortunately showrunner Matt Weiner didn’t let us down and allowed us to keep our Peggy.

Truth is that the show would have suffered greatly without her. While there are other remarkable female characters in Mad Men, there’s something particularly modern and relatable about Peggy, especially considering how the debate about feminism, having it all (barf) and women in the workplace is still remarkably relevant.

As the show moves into the late-sixties, many wonder what this will mean for Peggy and her relation to the growing movement of second wave feminism, something that she’s inadvertently been apart of for some time. Will she join the Women’s Liberation Front? Will she quit using makeup and throw her bra onto a pyre? Probably not.

Moss told Vulture:

[Peggy] is not going to be a hippie, she’s not gonna start burning bras. She’s a different kind of feminist. She’s the one who works really hard, and concentrates on her job, and wants to move up in the world of her business. And her progressiveness and her brand of feminism — it comes in probably a bit of a more realistic way, you know? Those were the women — there were more of those women than were the hippies who burned bras and picketed. Those women were the ones who were actually, you know, going in and asking for equal pay, and asking for equal rights, and demanding to be treated better in the workplace. That’s who she is.

(All of the hippie bra burning is going to be left to Sally. Duh.)

Does Peggy’s new high-powered position open the door for her to be the new female Don Draper?

She, I think, is trying her hand at being Don. I think that’s all she knows. That has been her image of leadership. That’s been how she thinks you’re supposed to act as a boss. It’s all she’s ever known. That was her first job, at Sterling Cooper. That was her first boss, and only boss. So that’s what she knows. And I think it’s going to be interesting to see how that works out for her and how she — I think that her journey is about discovering how to be her own style of leadership, her own style of management. And I think that she as herself, as Peggy, if she can find that, she will be a much better boss than Don. Because she has a positivity, she has a sensitivity; she’s a woman, and I think that that makes a difference in a boss. There’s just a sensitivity there that I think that obviously Don doesn’t have. [Laughs.] So I think that if she can find her own way and her own style, it’s gonna better for her.

I don’t know, I love Peggy as much as anyone, but I would say that she’s just as cold as Don is when she gets down to business.

Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss on Peggy As the New Don, Top of the Lake, and Orgasm Acting [Vulture]
Image via Ockenfels/AMC.

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