‘Mad Men’, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s

Excerpted from Mad Men, Mad World: Sex, Politics, Style, and the 1960s (footnotes omitted), Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Lilya Kaganovsky, Robert A. Rushing, eds.© Copyright Duke University Press, 2013. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or printed without permission in writing from the publisher.

“Maidenform”: Masculinity as Masquerade

by Lilya Kaganovsky

In his book Ways of Seeing (1972), John Berger observed: “In the average European oil painting of the nude, the principal protagonist is never painted. He is the spectator in front of the picture and he is presumed to be a man. Everything is addressed to him. Everything must appear to be the result of his being there. It is for him that the figures have assumed their nudity. But he, by definition, is a stranger with his clothes still on” (54). Addressing the gendered nature of spectatorship, this passage anticipates by a few years Laura Mulvey’s pronouncement in 1975 on the male gaze in classic Hollywood cinema (“Visual Pleasure”). The structure of the “invisible” male spectator for whom the female nude obligingly exhibits herself has haunted the discourse of representation, opening up questions concerning the construction of gender, the limits of identification, and the uses of pleasure (whether voyeuristic, scopophilic, fetishistic, or other).

For Mulvey, the position of the cinematic spectator was gendered male in relation to the “feminized” visual image. The woman herself, when she appeared on the screen, displayed the quality of what Mulvey called “to-be-looked-at-ness”: she was made up, dressed, and photographed in such a way as to put herself on visual display, to exhibit herself to our gaze. Indeed, cinema itself has often been referred to as the meeting of the “voyeur” and the “exhibitionist.” No matter what their gender, the spectators’ pleasure comes from sneaking a peak into the “private world” of the characters, while everything about the moviegoing experience is meant to heighten the feeling of the spectator–as–Peeping Tom. We look, but we cannot be seen; we are “outside” in the dark, while they are inside with all the lights turned on.

More vitally, as Berger and Mulvey both argued, the gaze of the ideal spectator was firmly aligned with the male subject. In other words, the classic cinematic apparatus seemed to produce a “hegemonic, masculine, Oedipal bourgeois spectator, who gained illusory power and coherence in his alignment with the camera eye on the one hand, and the male protagonist on the other” (L. Williams, “Introduction,” 2). The male look was conflated with the “gaze,” and power seemed to be entirely on the side of the one doing all the looking. Looking at women, it seemed, was fairly “straightforward.”

I have started with Berger and Mulvey because I am interested in our spectatorial relationship to the character/image of Don Draper (played by the very handsome Jon Hamm), offered by the show as an ideal male subject: autonomous, daring, masterful—but in free fall. Many of the show’s scenes are framed lower than eye line to incorporate the ceilings into the composition of the frame. This composition reflects the photography, graphic design, and architecture of the 1960s, but it also speaks to a certain placement of the spectator vis-à-vis the visual image. We are always looking up at the characters on the screen, always looking up at Don, and watching him is one of the show’s strongest “visual pleasures.” Yet in trying to see how Don is constructed by our gaze (and here I am including actual spectators of the show, the ideal spectator imagined by the show, and the eye of the camera), we can see the ways in which this construct is troubled by the show’s own awareness of itself as fiction. In its depiction of the American 1960s as a moment of the disintegration of white male privilege and dominance, Mad Men produces a rather complex staging of gender relations and gender construction, troubling our normative identification not only with its male lead, but with the masculine gaze.

“Maidenform” (2.6) is an episode that begins with men looking at women and ends with women looking at men. Structured exactly like Mulvey’s version of a classic Hollywood film, the episode opens with a montage of our three main female protagonists in their undergarments, and closes (with about five minutes left to spare) with a striptease at the Tom Tom Club. The central story line concerns a Playtex bra campaign. About ten minutes in, we see girls modeling bikinis during the annual Memorial Day “ribs and fashion show” at the Country Club. And even Peggy’s office–cum–copy room has a prominent ad on the wall of two women wearing corsets. Practically quoting Berger’s formulation a decade later, Paul Kinsey says: “Bras are for men. Women want to see themselves the way men see them.” (“Men look at women,” wrote Berger; “Women watch themselves being looked at” [47].) “You want to be ogled?” Don asks Betty when she suggests going to the pool in her new bikini. “Has your wife seen that yet?” asks Roger Sterling admiring Don’s new secretary, the very sunburned Jane Siegel. “If we were to take you to see some girls in their underwear, would you feel like you’re at work?” Freddy Rumsen asks the Playtex clients, underscoring once again the episode’s focus on the male gaze. Indeed, every element of the episode suggests that if Don and the ad men have not yet read Berger and Mulvey, Matthew Weiner certainly has. As though to epitomize the gaze Mulvey describes, Don explains halfway through the episode: “Jacqueline Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe—women have feelings about these women because men do. Because we want both, they want to be both. It’s about how they want to be seen, by us—their husbands, their boyfriends, their friends’ husbands.” He adds, “It’s a very flattering mirror.”

The episode opens to the tune of the Decemberists’ “The Infanta,” as we watch Betty, Joan, and Peggy get ready for their day (figs. 12.1–12.3). Probably one of the first things to note about this sequence (besides the music, which goes against the show’s usual fetish for period accuracy) is its attention to clothing as costume. Betty and Joan both dress in front of the mirror, focusing our attention not only on their double enframing but also on their relationship to the specular image. Each in her own way, Betty and Joan perform ideal femininity for the gaze of the other, and their relationship to their image is mediated through the mirror, in which, like Jacques Lacan’s infans (or Infanta), they see an ideal I reflected back at them. (Notice the smile on Betty’s lips and Joanie’s pout. One blogger remarked, “I like how Joan does that fake-pouty Marilyn mouth thing even when she’s alone” [Robertson].)

Figures 12.1–12.3. Betty, Joan, and Peggy get ready for
their day (“Maidenform,” 2.6)

This ideal image is shaped, on the one hand, by the undergarments that the women put on, and on the other, by the forces of style, fashion, beauty, race, class, and gender that create the subject (whether onscreen or offscreen). In fashion, a “foundation garment,” also known as “shapewear” or “shaping underwear,” is an undergarment designed to temporarily alter the wearer’s body shape to achieve a more fashionable figure. The function of a foundation garment is not to enhance a bodily feature (as would, for example, a padded bra) but to smooth or control the display of one. Corsets, brassieres, girdles, and corselettes—all these are designed primarily to alter the shape of the body, to give it a form that, although it might exaggerate certain natural features, is far from “natural.” A corset is a garment worn to mold and shape the torso into a desired shape for aesthetic or medical purposes (either for the duration of wearing it, or with a more lasting effect), while the corselet was originally a piece of armor, covering the torso (the origin of the English word comes from cors, an Old French word meaning “bodice”). In other words, the foundation garment temporarily does for the body what the “mirror stage” permanently does for the ego: it provides an “armor” that, as Lacan tells us, “will mark [the subject’s] entire mental development with its rigid structure” (78).

It is worthwhile to recall Lacan’s famous discussion of the baby in front of the mirror here in some detail, to see the ways in which “Maidenform” plays with the by now familiar text of the “mirror stage.” Lacan writes: “It suffices to understand the mirror stage in this context as an identification, in the full sense that analysis gives to the term: namely, the transformation that takes place in the subject when he assumes an image—an image that is seemingly predestined to have an effect at this phase, as witnessed by the use in analytic theory of antiquity’s term, ‘imago’” (76). For the subject “caught up in the lure of spatial identification,” the mirror stage turns out fantasies that proceed “from a fragmented image of the body” to an “orthopedic” form of its totality—and finally, to the “donned armor of an alienating identity that will mark his entire mental development with its rigid structure” (78). Caught up in the “lure of spatial identification,” Betty and Joan collect themselves, putting on the foundation garments that will shape the body even as they assume the imago that will shape their subjectivity. “Maidenform” seems determined to teach us this basic Lacanian lesson, to insist on revealing the ways in which we are shaped, ordered, and framed by our identifications. But it is also interested in destroying those identifications, in undermining the “spatial captation,” both for the characters and for the viewers.

Betty and Joan’s superior adult femininity is contrasted to Peggy’s awkward and childish gestures, as she jumps up and down, pulling up her pantyhose. As Joan insists to her later in the episode, “You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl.” The concern of the episode seems to be precisely with the notion of woman and masquerade; with the under-clothes that shape the woman. The choice is given as one between Playtex and Maidenform, with Playtex, a company known for making solid and comfortable bras for women, hoping to branch out into the decidedly sexier Maidenform territory.

Figure 12.4. Jackie, Marilyn, Jackie, Marilyn… (“Maidenform,” 2.6)

As we see from several close-ups of the ads, in contrast to Maidenform’s “dreams,” “fantasies,” and “reveries,” Playtex advertises itself as a “living” bra. One Playtex ad, for example, is a medium shot of a woman, half-turned, her face entirely obscured by her arm holding a camera. The ad emphasizes the possibility of an active lifestyle and one not necessarily aimed at the gaze of the other, unlike the Maidenform copy that reads “I dreamed I stopped them in their tracks in my Maidenform bra” and “I dreamed I was wanted in my Maidenform bra.” Hearing that Playtex is jealous of a ten-year-old Maidenform campaign, Don is dismissive: “Maidenform is a dream,” he says; “Playtex is a bra.”

The ad campaign for Playtex turns on the moment of revelation. Every woman, Paul Kinsey tells Don, is either a Marilyn or a Jackie: “We went out the other night, after the meeting, y’know, a little extra hours after hours. And, I looked around the bar. [Ken affirms: “We all did.”] Women right now already have a fantasy, and it’s not going up the Nile, it’s right here in America: Jackie Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe. Every single woman is one of them.” (Speaking about JFK, Jimmy Barrett tells Betty a few episodes earlier, “You’re not Jackie, but you’re his type, I know” [“The Benefactor,” 2.3].) When Peggy seems dubious about this observation, the men do a quick sweep of the steno pool, identifying every woman as one or the other (fig. 12.4). “Well, Marilyn’s really a Joan, not the other way around,” Paul notes, admiringly. “You’re a Jackie or a Marilyn; a line or a curve; nothing goes better together,” explains Sal. Yet, while Paul’s observation is that every woman is either a Marilyn or a Jackie, Don’s point is that every woman is actually both: “Two sides of one woman—Jackie by day, Marilyn by night.” Thus the final ad campaign pictures the same model twice, once in black, once in white (fig. 12.5).

Figure 12.5. “Nothing fits both sides of a woman, better
than Playtex” (“Maidenform,” 2.6)

As I have suggested, however, this episode is not merely about men looking at women. After all, the Maidenform/Playtex story line is distanced from us. We watch the men looking at the women and are thereby denied that same kind of relationship of pure, uncontaminated voyeurism on which the episode is premised. We have read Laura Mulvey, even if they have not. More-over, the Playtex campaign is complicated from the start by the presence of Peggy, who fails to fit into either of the two feminine positions allowed by the pitch (and occupied by Betty and Joan in the opening sequence). When she complains to Joan that “there’s business going on after hours” and she “is not invited,” she is told, “You’re in their country, learn to speak the language.” (“You’re just the man for the job,” Freddy tells her.) Asked by Ken which bra she wears, Peggy hedges her bets by saying that she chooses Playtex because she agrees with the ninety-five women they surveyed about how it fits (we know that Joan too is asked about her bra, but we never learn the answer). Neither a Marilyn nor a Jackie, Peggy is told that she is Gertrude Stein—a comment immediately softened by Don, who suggests Irene Dunne.

Indeed, at the end of the episode, Peggy tries to negotiate her uncharted position by attempting to fill the place of the male spectator, as she joins the men at the Tom Tom Club to watch the striptease. The position is clearly uncomfortable; perched on the lap of the Playtex client, watched disapprovingly by Pete, Peggy occupies precisely that in between position she has been assigned throughout the episode (figs. 12.6–12.8). She is neither Marilyn nor Jackie. Neither adult woman nor little girl. Neither spectator nor exhibit.

Masculinity as a Decorative Layer

Figures 12.6–12.8. “Men look at women. Women watch themselves
being looked at” (Berger) (“Maidenform,” 2.6)

Yet this episode (and indeed the series as a whole) has more at stake than an analysis of the look and the gaze that reaffirms, even via the distance of superior knowledge, the structures of heteronormative patriarchy. What it does, in fact, is put the entire operation of looking (and with it, spectator-ship and identification) under investigation. Having opened with the three female protagonists dressing in front of the mirror, “Maidenform” ends with a completely different mirror scene: Don Draper alone, the split reflection of his face caught by the tri-part bathroom mirror. As the AMC episode guide succinctly states, “At the Draper house the next morning, daughter Sally watches Don shave until he suddenly asks her to leave. Sitting on the toilet and staring blankly, he slowly wipes the shaving cream off his face. He didn’t like something he saw in the mirror” (figs. 12.9–12.12).

An episode that opens with three women getting ready for their day ends with Don doing the same, and indeed the last shots recall the framing and doubling techniques that were used in the beginning for Betty and Joan. Like the Marilyn/Jackie campaign, this double image speaks to the performativity of gender identity, but now of masculinity as masquerade, of a put-on show that requires certain basic foundation garments, though these maybe more symbolic than actual. ( Jimmy Barrett recognizes both Don and Betty as “types” as soon as he meets them, quipping, “Are you two sold separately?”; he later calls Don “the man in the gray flannel suit,” and tells him he loved him in Gentleman’s Agreement. “I’m sorry, nobody wants to think they’re a type,” Dr. Faye Miller tells Don two seasons later, after suggesting he’ll be remarried at the end of the year.)

Masculinity may not be propped up by obvious foundation garments (though a quick look at men’s underwear in a Paris department store will tell you otherwise), but like femininity, it is altered and shaped to fit the cultural mold. Don’s crisis in front of the bathroom mirror has to do with moving from a position of the one who looks to one being looked at—finding himself, by the end of the episode, in what Mary Ann Doane refers to as the “feminine position”:

While the male is locked into sexual identity, the female can at least pretend that she is other—in fact, sexual mobility would seem to be a distinguishing feature of femininity in its cultural construction… The idea seems to be this: it is understandable that women would want to be men, for everyone wants to be elsewhere than in the feminine position. What is not understandable within the given terms is why a woman might flaunt her femininity, produce herself as an excess of femininity, in other words, foreground the masquerade. Masquerade is not as recuperable as transvestism precisely because it constitutes an acknowledgement that it is femininity itself which is constructed as a mask—as the decorative layer which conceals a non-identity. (“Film and Masquerade,” 81)

Like Peggy, Don occupies a distanced position vis-à-vis his assigned or assumed gender role, choosing to stay away from the strip clubs, uncomfortable (for good reason) with his status as “war hero,” refusing for the most part to prop up his masculinity with misogynous humor or male camaraderie. He tells Duck Phillips, who tries to win him over with a story of his army days, “Who am I in this story? What do you want me to say? That we’re on the same team? That I love being in your unit? Sarge, I’m scared?” (“Maidenform”). We come to believe that Don is more secure in his masculinity precisely because he is able to recognize it as a construction and a prop. As Don knows full well he is not the man he claims to be, his masculine identity is nothing but a series of performances meant to create an illusion of the ideal male subject. “Look at that man!” Betty’s neighbor Francine says, watching Don in the backyard. “I know!” Betty replies (“Marriage of Figaro,” 1.3).

Though he may not be interested in joining the junior executives for “a little extra hours after hours,” Don nonetheless has his own extracurricular activities, which in “Maidenform” involve a somewhat risqué hotel tryst with Bobbie Barrett, who just won’t stop talking. Shocked to discover that he has a “reputation,” and “fans,” and that women have been talking about him behind his back, Don abandons Bobbie Barrett tied to the bedpost in her hotel room, but not before she gets in the final word: “Oh stop, this is nobody’s maiden voyage.” Bobbie offers to have herself blindfolded, but it’s already too late, she has already seen and understood something about Don that he did not want (us) to see. The choice of “maiden” voyage is of course not accidental here and brings us back to the central conceit (and title) of the episode: the foundation garments by which femininity and masculinity are organized and kept in “shape.” A form of the subject that can only be called, recalling Lacan, “orthopedic.”

Figures 12.9–12.12. A different mirror scene: Sally and Don
(“Maidenform,” 2.6)

An episode that begins with us looking at women ends with us looking at men—or one man, our ideally constructed male subject. Don’s crisis in the closing sequence seems to be precipitated by his daughter’s look of pure admiration. And in fact, we have seen this look before, from both Betty and Sally during the Memorial Day “ribs and fashion show” at the Country Club (figs. 12.13–12.14). Responding to the call, “Please, heroes, on your feet!” Don stands up to be applauded for his military service, only to be made increasingly uncomfortable by the look on Sally’s face. Again, noting the position of the camera eye, Don is shot from bottom up, while Sally is framed from bottom left corner to upper right corner, looking up at him with eyes full of love.

Figures 12.13–12.14. Betty and Sally looking up at Don
(“Maidenform,” 2.6)

In the final sequence, as if continuing the earlier scene with Bobbie Barrett, Sally promises to keep quiet while watching Don shave. “I’m not going to talk,” she says; “I don’t want you to cut yourself.” Sally is a good and true fan, happy to occupy her place as spectator. But her seemingly passive spectatorship nevertheless produces Don as spectacle, as object rather than subject of the gaze. Certainly, he is an object for Bobbie Barrett and for all those “fans” in the fictional world of the show, and—naked, clad only in a towel—he is surely also an object for the show’s fans, who promise, along with Sally, “not to talk” but simply to watch. Sally’s concern is that if she talks, Don might cut himself, and we understand that this scene is about symbolic castration: the coming apart of the subject, and the production of the fragmented body in place of the image of its totality.

While the male may be “locked into sexual identity,” masculinity too is a decorative layer that conceals a nonidentity, and this truth is signaled to us by the multiple mirror reflections that split the image of Don into fragments. We already know that Don Draper is not Don Draper, just as we know that he is neither the war hero, nor the good father, nor the good husband that the world takes him to be. But we also know that no matter how much Adam Whitman might want it to be the case, Don Draper is also not Dick Whitman. “What kind of a man are you?” asks Rachel Menken when Don proposes they drop everything and run away together. “I think I am only now beginning to see you clearly for the first time” (“Nixon vs. Kennedy,” 1.12).

Mad Men is not the only contemporary TV series to foreground masculinity as performance. The episode “Hello, Dexter Morgan” (4.11) of Dexter (Showtime, 2006–) shows us Dexter standing in front of a four-pane mirror, his reflection quadrupled. “You’re juggling too many people,” his ghostly father tells him. When Dexter misunderstands, he specifies: “I mean Dexter Morgan, blood tech, husband, father, serial killer… Which one are you?”—a question that echoes Mad Men’s often repeated “Who is Don Draper?” Like Don, Dexter has a secret identity, a “dark passenger” whose true nature he cannot reveal to friends or family. Dexter, as he repeatedly tells us, wears a “mask” in order to hide his real self. Yet what the series so clearly shows us is that the alienating armor of identity produced through identifications and misrecognitions is all the identity we have. “Which one are you?” asks the father. “All of them,” says Dexter.

For Doane, the masquerade, in flaunting femininity, holds it at a distance. “Womanliness is a mask which can be worn or removed,” she writes, a “decorative layer” that conceals a nonidentity (“Film and Masquerade,” 81). Similarly, Mad Men returns us again and again to this problem of nonidentity: there is no Don Draper and there is no Dick Whitman. Pete has nothing on Don because Don himself is nothing—this is the frightening lack that Rachel sees in a flash, while it takes Betty a long time to face up to the fact that the image she has believed in is a construct that she herself helped to form. Betty is caught up in the lure of spatial identification (as Lacan would put it), and her worries are always cosmetic. “You’re painting a masterpiece,” she says, quoting her mother; “make sure to hide the brush strokes.” Betty’s disenchantment with Don has less to do with his marital infidelities, or even with the revelation of his “true” identity, than with the fact that in turning out to be different from what she believed, he spoils the perfect picture of suburban marital bliss. “I want to scream at you for ruining all this!” she tells him (“The Grown-Ups,” 3.12).

Throughout “Maidenform,” men have been imagining themselves in control of the “gaze”—an unquestioned phallic mastery over the spectacle of woman. Yet the distinction between the gaze and the “eye” (look) is similar to the distinction between the phallus and the penis. The gaze, in other words, is the transcendental ideal—omniscient, omnipotent—that the look can never achieve but to which it ceaselessly aspires. “The best the look can hope for,” writes Carol Clover, “is to pose and pass itself off as the gaze.” Clover goes on to suggest that (in horror films in particular, but for others as well), “whenever a man imagines himself as the controlling voyeur—imagines, in Lacanian terms, that his ‘look’ constitutes a ‘gaze’—some sort of humiliation is soon to follow, typically in the form of his being overwhelmed, in one form or another, by the sexuality of the very female he meant to master” (“Eye of Horror,” 206–7; see also Clover, Men).

“Maidenform” suggests precisely such a loss of control. Something in the way Sally looks at him—and what she sees—forces Don to confront his image in the mirror not through the lens of méconnaissance (and its accompanying “illusion of autonomy” [Lacan, 80]) but as a naked truth. The end of the mirror stage for Lacan “decisively tips the whole of human knowledge into being mediated by the other’s desire… and turns the I into an apparatus to which every instinctual pressure constitutes a danger, even if it corresponds to a natural maturation process” (79). The end of “Maidenform” produces a similar kind of maturation for Don, showing the ways in which his subjectivity is mediated through the desire of the other (whether that be Betty’s bourgeois dream of the perfect home, the predatory sexual appetites of Bobbie Barrett, or Sally’s strongly Oedipal admiration). As the camera slowly pulls back, we see Don, with one pink towel wrapped around him and another in his hands, seated with his head down. As usual, he is too big for the space he occupies inside Betty’s house—the pink towels, frilly curtains, and fuzzy bathroom rugs making no sense with his masculine frame (figs. 12.15–12.16).

Doane writes that “films play out scenarios of looking in order to outline the terms of their own understanding. And given the divergence between masculine and feminine scenarios, those terms would seem to be explicitly negotiated as markers of sexual difference” (“Film as Masquerade,” 87). Although Mad Men in general and “Maidenform” in particular may seem at first glance to be participating in a “classical” production of sexual difference, the episode actually erases the divergence between masculine and feminine scenarios, placing the hypermasculine Don Draper in the “feminine position” in order to demonstrate the convergence of the forms of masquerade. As Richard Dyer and others have shown, heteronormative structures of representation dictate the ways in which the male body can and cannot be shown, producing complicated negotiations between where and how a man must look while being looked at. The male pin-up, the hard body, the boxer (Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert De Niro in Raging Bull [1980]), and so on—the representation of all of these figures must chart the difficult path between action and passivity, between the quality of “to-be-looked-at-ness” and the power/pleasure of looking:

The idea of looking (staring) as power and being looked at as powerlessness overlaps with ideas of activity/passivity. Thus to look is thought of as active; whereas to be looked at is passive. In reality, this is not true. The model prepares her- or himself to be looked at, the artist or photographer constructs the image to be looked at; and, on the other hand, the image that the viewer looks at is not summoned up by his or her
act of looking but in collaboration with those who have put the image there. Most of us probably experience looking and being looked at, in life as in art, somewhere among these shifting relations of activity and passivity. Yet it remains the case that images of men must disavow this element of passivity if they are to be kept in line with dominant ideas of masculinity-as-activity. (Dyer, “Don’t Look Now,” 66)

Figures 12.15–12.16. The body, in bits and pieces (“Maidenform,” 2.6)

Television, because of its serial nature and ongoing “flow,” must constantly offer us new spectacle, new forms of masculinity-as-activity. As a result it risks turning its male characters into “spectacle,” their actions never quite leading to closure. As Lynne Joyrich puts it, speaking specifically about television melodrama (to which Mad Men certainly belongs) and its weekly repetition of “male masquerade”: “the reiteration—the exhibition and production of masculinity through constant refiguration—exacerbates the very ‘gender trouble’ that television tries so hard to avoid. Caught in a bind in which only repeated evidence of performance can suffice, television’s construction of masculinity becomes dependent on its ‘look,’ making it recall the same feminine connotations of spectacle and image that it wishes to combat” (Re-viewing Reception, 84).

One of the visual pleasures of Mad Men is looking at Don. This pleasure is explicitly problematized in “Maidenform,” an episode dedicated to understanding the power of the look/gaze. Our pleasure in looking comes at a price: we are repeatedly asked to admire and identify with a character who is, as Pete Campbell puts it, “a liar and a cheat and possibly worse” (“Nixon vs. Kennedy”). Mad Men, in fact, offers us three paths for identification in relation to its male star. The first comes at the credit sequence that shows us first, Don Draper falling out of a high-rise building, and then, with a sudden switch in perspective, ourselves falling. The second is identification through love: like Sally, we look up at Don with eyes full of love. He is, after all, the center of the spectatorial gaze, the fetish object of the show. But the third is the image we find at the end of “Maidenform”: the image of Don in bits in pieces, with the camera slowly pulling away.

Lauren M. E. Goodlad is University Scholar, Associate Professor of English, and Director of the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic: Realism, Sovereignty, and Transnational Experience (forthcoming) and a coeditor of Goth: Undead Subculture, also published by Duke University Press.

Lilya Kaganovsky is Associate Professor of Slavic, Comparative Literature, and Media & Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of How the Soviet Man Was Unmade.

Robert A. Rushing is Associate Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the author of Resisting Arrest: Detective Fiction and Popular Culture.