An oft-repeated line in Mad Men goes like this:
Don Draper: Let me ask you something, what do woman want?
Roger Sterling: Who cares?
Sexist yes, but a sign of the times. Yet the times are a changin’ for women (and the Dons and Rogers of the world) and you can see it in the character’s habits. Women who smoked and drank were not new, but middle class suburban house wives who did so openly, as a sign of sophistication, of women’s progression, was. Women have always worked, but they were beginning to break out of the traditional subservient roles of catering to their male bosses. Of course, as Peggy finds out, she still has to prove she is one of the boys to gain acceptance into their rarified world. Anyone remember the “You’ve come along way, baby” smoking ad? Marketing smoking and drinking to women as the choice of the empowered and emancipated – free – is a lucrative business, but at the cost of smoking-related deaths and alcohol-related chronic disease.