The Child is the Father of the Man – Mad Men, Episode 8

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About Abigail Rine

Abigail Rine teaches literature and gender studies at George Fox University. She is the author of the forthcoming book Irigaray, Incarnation and Contemporary Women’s Fiction. She writes regularly at Mama Unabridged, as well as for the The Atlantic Sexes Channel.


  1. Joanna Schroeder says:

    So here’s how I feel about this season.

    It’s pretty much all about Don Draper’s sexual addiction, and exploring how that came about. He’s been self-destructive with alcohol for sure. But most of his self-destruction has come from sexual behavior. Up until this year, we knew his identity was a fake, we knew he had trauma, we knew he drank to hide his pain and his demons. We knew he spent some of his childhood in a whorehouse, but we didn’t really understand any of it.

    But he wasn’t always drunk when he was acting out, sexually. So it wasn’t the drinking that caused that behavior. This year, we’re seeing him as a person who is profoundly sexually messed up, and we saw the violence and control that was associated with sexuality for him.

    As his memories come through, I truly believe that he will start working through the ways his sexual abuse and the dysfunctional sexuality he grew up seeing, harmed him. And I think the fact that he got into the elevator with Sylvia at the end of the show, after really processing what happened with Aimee the prostitute, and really had moved past his desperate need for her. Like he finally made the link. The woman in the oatmeal commercial, whom he knew would be the THING that mattered in his drugged-out haze, with Sylvia with Aimee, who all had that mole on their cheek. They were all linked.

    I thought it was SUCH a great episode, and yeah, that “sex” scene with the prostitute was undoubtably rape. I’m surprised I’m not seeing more conversation about it online.


  1. [...] few weeks ago, writer and professor Abigail Rine wrote about the reveal that Don Draper, the main character from the hit AMC series Mad Men, had been raped as an adolescent by a prostitute in the brothel where he lived with his pregnant stepmother after [...]

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