Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh argued on Tuesday that, instead of critiquing workplace sexism, Mad Men actually showed how “militant feminism” undermined human nature, Media Matters reported.
“Back then, you were who you were and it worked or it didn’t work,” Limbaugh said. “But at least the natural habitat or the natural behavior roles, while not universally accepted, they were not automatically questioned and doubted and attacked until the late ’60s, when this all intensified.”
Limbaugh based his argument on a New York Post piece featuring women saying they felt the show depicted a time when dating was simpler and men were more interested in courting a partner.
“When I watch Mad Men, wouldn’t it have been great to date a man who knows what he likes to drink, who pulls out the chair, who dresses up, is clean-shaven, and at least wears a sport jacket?” author Melanie Notkin told the Post. “It’s sexy.”
The host also seized on author Heather Robinson’s idea that part of the reason the show was popular was “a yearning for the satisfaction and sexiness of traditional sex roles, including chivalry.”
“What are ‘traditional sex roles’?” Limbaugh said. “You start throwing around terms like that today to your typical, average agitated feminist, you don’t want to be around for the reaction to that.”
While quoting liberally from Robinson’s piece, Limbaugh did not mention several pointed critiques from the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner. Weiner has called the show’s protagonist, Don Draper, “a very weak man,” while also defending the inclusion of several scenes in which female characters are harassed by male co-workers.
Instead, Limbaugh said that in the show, “even though all the secretaries are being chased around the office by these cads, the cads still respected them.”
Listen to Limbaugh’s remarks, as posted by Media Matters on Tuesday, below.