There is no word for it

 Posted by on October 21, 2008 at 7:03 pm  Season 2
Oct 212008

I don’t want anyone to feel picked on, but a Basketcase gave me the perfect opportunity to talk about this issue. (Said Basketcase immediately retracted and corrected this misstatement, so I hope you don’t mind me taking this example and running with it.)

I thought Joan’s fiance was a real jerk. I don’t think he had any right to practically raping her.

“Practically” rape. Yep, it’s 2008, and we’ve “come so far,” supposedly, and we still talk about “practically” raping someone.

In 1962, no one would have used the “R” word. Joan does not believe she was raped, and Greg does not believe he is a rapist. But Joan’s suffering is real. And Joan said no. Over and over, Joan said no. But in 1962, there is no word for what happened. Without “rape,” we’re stuck with “practically” raped, or an unpleasant moment in an otherwise “wonderful” relationship.

Greg is not Joan’s husband, but socially, he is beginning to be treated as such. As her fiance, he expects to be deferred to and regarded much as a husband. In 1962, there was no such thing as spousal rape:

Originally, all 50 states legally defined rape as sexual intercourse with a female, not a spouse, forcibly and against her will (Russell 1990). It was not until late in the 1970s, during the second women’s rights movement, that state courts and legislatures began abolishing the marital rape exemptions (Bergen 1996). As of 2002, however, only 24 states and the District of Columbia had abolished completely their marital rape exemptions.

Let’s not all pat ourselves on the back for being so enlightened. Phyllis Schlafly created controversy only two years ago by calling marital rape “sex with your wife” and bitterly denouncing the conviction of a man who raped his wife. Meanwhile, Cosmo is trying to define “gray rape” as a meaningful term, and it’s been picked up by more respectable media sources (gray rape from the Gray Lady).

Joan said no. Greg is her fiance, and the law would certainly not prosecute him. If Joan told her friends, they might be unsympathetic. Even if they understood, they’d advise her to forget it. It’s the compromise you make to be with a man. It’s his right (coldly) or it’s how men are (more kindly) or “marriage is full of compromises” (as if all compromises are equal). And Joan is telling herself those things right now. She is telling herself those things, and by the time 1976 rolls around and Carol takes her hand and says “Joanie, you were raped,” Joan is going to say “Don’t be ridiculous.”

Was she raped?


1. the unlawful compelling of a woman through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse.
2. any act of sexual intercourse that is forced upon a person.

(“Duress” is compulsion by threat or force; coercion; constraint. )

Joan was compelled through both physical force and duress. She was pinned down. She said no.

She was not “practically” raped. She was raped.


  46 Responses to “There is no word for it”

  1. I've just found your blog about a week ago and want to comment on this.

    Of course she was raped and it is even more of a violation since the person raping her was someone she thought she could trust.

  2. The point at which she stopped fighting and completely dissociated from what was happening around her brought tears to my eyes. I was devastated for Joan.

    Rape is not about sex. It is about power and control. And Greg was reasserting his power, control, and dominance as a man. The night before, Joan tried to get on top during sex and Greg was immediately turned off by her action of dominance and evidence of her previous sexual experience.

    They then went to her place of employment, where Roger seemed to know a little too much about her. Greg wanted to put her back in his place. He says, "I thought this was what you wanted," but it is what he wanted, what he needed, in order to remind himself and to remind Joan who the "man" in the relationship was.

    We have seen in previous episodes that Greg wants a submissive, typical woman of the time who will stay home and eat bon bons. This is another example of that.

    As Joan was absolutely raped and anyone who thinks otherwise must have not watched the scene. Again, I thought the way they showed her dissociating was absolutely perfect and is exactly what so many women do when they are being raped. Mentally, they go anywhere but there at that moment. Poor Joan.

  3. Thank you for that post.

  4. I think my post got lost by the Blog Monster, so Deb's thread gives me a good excuse to recreate it here. I think Joan's rape was the most deeply disturbing scene I've witnessed in both seasons of MM, the only possibly exception being the scene when little Adam sees the supposedly dead Dick Witman on the train. (Sorry folks, the scene with Chauncey, while upsetting, doesn't come close to either of those two).

    This isn't the first time we've seen rape portrayedon tv or films; I think the reason Joan's rape is so awful is precisely because it DOES take place within the so-called "gray" area that has kept women tortured, even to this day, by the kind of self-doubt we see Joan going through the next morning in that conversation with Peggy. It's like she's verbalizing those pros and cons lists women sometimes do with a prospective suitor or husband, struggling to find some justification for him ("Yes, deep down inside I know what happened was rape, BUT he can't be all bad because he 'stitches up Negro children at Harlem Hospital') is how Joanie's thought process seems to be going. And as if to underscore Joan's degradation, Weiner has it happen in the office, where she's been the Queen Bee and until very recently, so on top of her game. As another poster ( I think it was Anne B.) commented, the scene reminded her of "Psycho" when Janet Leigh was being stabbed; like that scene you just see the light going out in Joan's eyes. She may still be alive physically, but something has died inside, making it clear to anyone who sees this, yes, she was indeed raped.

    We've come a long way, but I think decades of not believing or supporting women by society are still taking their toll and that the gray area is still very much with us. Yes, it was rape…but did I lead him on?…was it my fault? Those are the kind of sentiments I think still prevail, especially among so-called educated, upper-middle class women.

    Getting back to MM, I really worry for Joan. As one of the Lipp sisters noted earlier, she's been angry all year, even if she hasn't acknowledged it to herself. If nothing else work was a solace to her, even if she didn't openly accept it as such, but now she's seeing herself eclipsed by younger women like Peggy and she's literally been violated where she "lives."She's beautiful, sexy, but also capable and smart (can you tell I love her), but the paradigm shift that started with "The Feminie Mystique," , and didn't really take root until the early or mid-seventies, that would let her see herself as being a more complete person without a man, hasn't happened yet. She's had so much invested in this marriage-husband thing, I think she's going to hang on to this jerk, even if it means losing her soul in the process.

  5. I knew Greg was trouble from that episode when he walks in with the food and is all "You didn't set the table?", but I could not believe that he went through with this. And what is most heartbreaking of all is, like you said, in Joan's eyes it wasn't rape. In the world of 1962 there was no language on this and no discourse on it either. There's really nowhere Joan can go with her story, no one she can talk to, and even when she tries (which is essentially what I think she was doing with Peggy at the end of the episode) she just gets tripped up with what she knows she is supposed to say and feel.

    Even today, when we have the linguistic tools to discuss rape, we still hear comments like "Well she was asking for it", "What was she doing in that bar/car/his apartment, anyway? What did she expect would happen?", or "She's just a slut. Everyone knows that she was leading him on."

    It would be great if Joan could drop this guy, but unfortunately I think she's going to go through with the marriage. She's in so deep now, and she doesn't know how to get out or what to get away from. It's just heart wrenching.

  6. She may still be alive physically, but something has died inside…

    This. This is exactly right. But the thing is, she will most likely not understand the devastation, the emptiness, the trauma that she is going to feel as a result of this incident because she doesn't yet have the capacity to understand that what happened to her was wrong. Was assault. Was a violation.

    It is hard enough to cope with being raped in this day and age when we know what it is and it is more acceptable (though its still the most underreported crime) to report what happened. But imagine having to cope with a traumatic event like that without truly being able to comprehend what the event really was. She will likely be very lost and I wouldn't be surprised if Joan slides into depression in the following weeks and months.

  7. It. Is. Very. Tricky. I think the answer is Yes, definitely, she was raped, but what made it a rape instead of her just "not into it" with her fiance is that there was force and she said NO repeatedly with clearly stated reasons. There was a moment when then line DEFINITELY crossed. But I agree that in 1962, the term and idea of "date rape" did not exist. I don't think it even existed when I was in high school in the early 80's. This was a date rape, but poor Joan won't understand why she feels so violated. It is clear that she knows how to enjoy sex. Let's hope she can do so again . . . with someone that loves and respects her. But being a single woman in her 30's in 1962, engaged to a handsome thoracic surgeon, I'm afraid she'll probably go through with the wedding, never to truly love or respect her husband because of what happened, and never to really know why. Sad.

    And speaking of MM husbands, Pete is a jerk of a husband to Trudy, but I admired him immensely during his phone call with his father in law. That's one reason I love this show; you can loathe a character and then they turn around and make you cheer.

    On Sunday night, I slept in a fuzzy daze that kept going into Monday morning, the result of watching a drama so enveloping I couldn't shake it.

  8. One of the many things that affected me about Joan's rape was the way the POV shifted — from the clear shot establishing what was happening to Joan (that guy's hand on her face, twisting it away: this was about her body, not Joan as a person) to what Joan could see from where she lay.

    The carpet, the furniture, the door. All very still. We were on that floor with Joan. This was what I took from that scene — and what made it more awful (but more true) for the rape survivor I called at the commercial break.

    Mad Men is a program that does not lean away from anything difficult. I appreciated that, with this scene. If the camera had stayed on Joan, instead of letting us into her line of sight, it might have been an objectifying scene. Instead, it was much more sympathetic — if that much harder to bear.

    I love this show.

  9. I'd said in the ghost posts that this scene haunted me; I woke up Monday morning seeing Joan's deadening face. My heart is breaking for her, and by extension, for all the rape victims and for all the women not believed.

    She totally doesn't know she was raped. She knows she didn't like it, and she will be more careful in the future about disclosing her past, about being more accomodating. She shouldn't have given in on going in and pouring him a drink… is what she's thinking.

    I do think she will marry him. I would love to see him, I dunno, die in a bus crash next week; that'd be great. But I think she'll marry him.

    And in the 80s her daughter will be telling her about her Women's Studies class and their discussion of the Robert Chambers/Jennifer Levin case. And Joan will get very quiet, and remember, perhaps for the first time in years, what really happened.

  10. When I was in law school (about 20 years ago) I remember a discussion with some classmates on this topic. Now this was about 1988 or 1989, and the question of can a husband rape his wife was answered by at least one of the female law students as "no, it is equal access once you are married"! And the young men I recall had similar opinion. Law students!

    I think there is still alot of this sort of thinking, that it isn't "really" rape if you are married or even if you are in a relationship.

  11. I am not at all sure that Joan will marry him.

    It seems like those who think she will are basing it on what a woman might do in 1962, which is entirely reasonable.

    But we are watching a TV drama. An excellent one. And one that already has its share of marital conflict already on the burners — Don & Betty, Pete & Trudy, Roger & Mona. It has also popped up with Duck and Harry.

    I think that the writers might well be concerned about making MM wall-to-wall marital conflict.

    Conversely, what we have already seen MM use Betty to explore themes associated with The Feminine Mystique, while Joan gets used to explore the Sex & the Single Girl type themes. I question whether the writers want to abandon the latter, esp. as we earlier had Joan realize that she could take a more Peggy-esque path — were she not pigeonholed by the men at S-C.

    So I get why people think Joan will marry, but I think there are practical reasons to think otherwise.

  12. I hope she doesn't marry him, but we probably will not know until Season Three.

    While the phrase "date rape" had not been coined at that point, rape, as a subject, was in hte public conciousness. "To Kill A Mockingbird" was one of the most distinguished movies of 1962, and only three years earlier was "Anatomy of a Murder." To see the issue come up on Mad Men fit the era. Not everything was Doris Day and Rock Hudson.

  13. I said in one of the ghost posts that of course she was raped, and of course she doesn't realize it, because of the times in which she lives. IMHO, what happened in Don's office was worse than rape in its best understood sense. When some stranger grabs you off the street, it is a horrible crime. But for someone you trust, whom you claim to love, to violate you in that way – I have to believe that is more devastating to Joan than a stranger rape would be.

    It seems to me that Greg was taking control of his property back from the men of MM, which is why Joan will not be able to work there if/when she marries him. He knows of her past (and I argued in the ghost post, her past probably is one of the reasons Joan doesn't think of this as rape – once a woman has had sex, she is damaged goods and not worth as much, at least in 1962) and he needs to "fix" it in some way. Pretending to be her boss, having her fix the drink as she would for Don (ironically the man who refused to sleep with coworkers), is all about him making himself like the dominant men she spends her days with.

    As for questioning the actual rape, the scene brought to my mind the equally horrible scene in Jodie Foster's "The Accused." I remember Time magazine, I believe, titled their review "Can a Slut Be Raped?" and answered strongly in the affirmative. I have watched that movie with many different people, and the interesting thing is, we all agree Foster's character was raped, but we differ in our opinions as to where the rape actually starts. At what point does "No!" really mean "No!"? I have a feeling people would have the same reaction to the horrible scene with Joan. When exactly does Greg cross the line? And does it matter in the end?

  14. Part of what was so horrible to me about the situation was that he wasn't just using force. What he was using was the power of humiliation. Joan knew that she could have called for help (or was it after hours?), but that would have meant having an intimate and vulnerable event publicized to the entire office.

  15. At what point does “No!” really mean “No!”?

    No ALWAYS means no.

  16. @Karl: [MM] has its share of marital conflict already on the burners — Don & Betty, Pete & Trudy, Roger & Mona. It has also popped up with Duck and Harry.

    Most of the marriages you listed have powerless women. Betty has been infantalized by marriage and demoralized by Don's infidelities. Trudy has lost the power of procreation and motherhood. Mona has lost her marriage and her status. Duck's wife regained her power once she divorced him. The only marriage with a powerful wife is Harry's.

    I believe the rape scene was a foreshadowing of the powerlessness Joan can expect once she is Mrs. Thoracic Surgeon. Her sexual power, professional power, and personal safety were all wrenched from her on Don's floor by the "perfect" man she will be surrendering her life to. No wonder she has been angry this season.

  17. That scene was horrifying. It was deeply disturbing for me to watch.

    Why did Joan say no? I mean, it doesnt really matter. No means no and she had every right to not want to do it. But it seems out of character for Joan. Though I've missed the last 5 or so episodes so it may just be me not having all the info.

  18. Hello basket fans! I have been loving this site but this is my first post. My thoughts on the rape:

    The rape worked on a symbolic as well as literal level. Most of the MM stories play with a subtext of a struggle for power: Roger v. Bert, Duck v Don, Pete v. Trudy (and her family connections), Peggy v. "the boys," Betty v. the Mistresses.

    Joan's power arc revolves around her sexuality. Remember season one–Joan advises Peggy to put a bag over her head and assess her assets. Joan has climbed to the top of the female side of the kingdom by knowing, and using her sexual power.

    Until the watershed event of turning 30. The scene, a few episodes back, where she is humiliated by the posting of her driver's license on the bulletin board with her date of birth circled.

    An unmarried 30 year old at that time was crossing the Rubiyat, from sexual dynamo, to "old maid." She is falling off her power position of office dynamo, into the realm of the powerless. And so begins her descent.

    As another poster pointed out, her fiancee couldn't handle her on top–and with the rape her utter humiliation is complete.

  19. Those articles you linked to were depressing. The way "gray rape" is date rape that the victims are uncomfortable calling by its name. Although the Cosmo article was better than the other. At least it tried to have sympathy with its subjects.

    Joan was raped. It was devastating to watch and she seems so broken. We had gotten into a discussion on the facebook page about whether the show was punishing Joan. I don't believe that the show was punishing her, but it did come as the cumulation to the loss of her sexy power persona that has been happening all season, (and arguably parts of last season). It is all too modern to just say that is how it was.

  20. @ 13 CPT_Doom
    "Pretending to be her boss, having her fix the drink as she would for Don (ironically the man who refused to sleep with coworkers), is all about him making himself like the dominant men she spends her days with."

    i was thinking about this. as much as i am struggling with liking Don re: his moral ambiguity, he's no rapist. Greg says "Pretend like I'm your boss, Donald Draper". It's as if Greg's the naive male conscious of the show seeing Don bed countless women and believing that that's what women want ("This is what you want, isn't it?" – he said to joan as he's raping her). he hasn't a clue. i am in no way excusing or condoning either man's behaviour, just seeing the difference in the two men and their relationship with women.

    @ 17 Brooke
    "Why did Joan say no? … But it seems out of character for Joan."

    on first read, i was pretty offended (sorry brooke!). then i re-read it and it's a worthy point to note. i think we as an audience are placed in the position of watching joan who is so innately sexy and form one opinion (sex goddess, marilyn) – to easily objectify her as many would back then (and even some nowadays). but we are privileged enough to be shown her vulnerability, her smarts, her TRUE talent, her strengths and weaknesses. it would seem – at the time in '62 – to others who see her (as that one-dimensional woman) for it to be out of character for Joan to say "no". and i bet she's probably struggling with that. blaming herself as others have said or at best believing "she's the type of girl who wouldn't say no".

    but it's jodie foster's character in The Accused all over again: people who think "that's the kind of girl who wants it". whosoever objectifies any person to the point of abuse … it's horrifying. it's not whether she's the kind of girl you wouldn't expect to say no or whether that creepy-*ss teacher who is having sex with an underaged child believes they are having consensual relations. and this is one reason (out of a million) that rape victims go through so much pain and conflict on the other side of it, because on some f-ed up level there is still the belief that the person being raped had something to do with it.

  21. Excellent thoughts from everyone…I also found heartbreaking the contrast at the end between Joan and Peggy moving into her new office. Peggy, so confident now after asserting herself, versus Joan who feels utterly defeated, and sees the “path not taken.” And, Peggy, saying so many complimentary things about Joan’s fiance, being generous, almost like saying, “we’re both getting what we wanted most.” Utterly wrenching.

  22. Elizabeth: It. Is. Very. Tricky. I think the answer is Yes, definitely, she was raped, but what made it a rape instead of her just “not into it” with her fiance is that there was force and she said NO repeatedly with clearly stated reasons.

    This comment makes me very uncomfortable. How many repetitions of "no" are required? Is one "no" not enough? How clear do reason s have to be? What if she says "no" without reasons?

    When you say no in a way that is clear (not, say "no, Daddy" while sucking your thumb and wearing a costume), that's enough. Period. No means no.

    Fundamentally, we have to understand that the desire to fuck someone who hasn't enthusiastically said YES is problematic and is a violation.

    Susan M: Betty has been infantalized by marriage and demoralized by Don’s infidelities.

    It seems pretty clear to me that Betty was infantalized all along, throughout life, but that the trigger for regression was her mother's death.

    Brooke: Why did Joan say no? I mean, it doesnt really matter. No means no and she had every right to not want to do it. But it seems out of character for Joan.

    Joan is very focused on the office being a place of propriety. She never fooled around with Roger in the office either. No "decolletage" in the office. No crying. The office is simply not an okay place, in Joan's mind, for personal expression. Sex is RIGHT out. And as she said to Greg, "it's not my office." It matters very much to Joan that boundaries be respected.

  23. Thanks for this post.

    There's a really nice piece on this over at Frisky, if you guys haven't seen it.

    Being "practically raped"…that must be a lot like being "practically robbed" or "practically fired from your job" or "practically killed"…eh? ::headdesk::

  24. "Don re: his moral ambiguity, he’s no rapist."

    Tell that to Bobbie Barrett.

    I personally thing that there is a difference between what Don did to Bobbie in that restaurant and Joan's rape, but it was still a power-play that was effected by sexual force. The only reason I do think there is a difference is that to me it looked like Bobbie liked it (for instance, she didn't say "no" if I remember right). If I am wrong in that interpretation, if she was feeling violated, then we're only talking about degrees of violence.

    Ugh, this whole subject just hurts to discuss.

  25. Don's no rapist. What did he tell Rachel? "No. Not unless you tell me you want it"

  26. Obviously Joan was raped. Her fiancee would seem to be the "masculine assurance" type rapist. The others are "masculine assertion", "opportunistic" (e.g. Richard Speck),"gang-", and "sadistic". This typology was devised by an FBI profiler.

  27. Did anyone notice this scene had the exact same camera shot and sound effects used in the scene when Peggy was getting brith control and looking at that calender in the pilot?

  28. Actually, what made Bobbie blind-angry with Don was the one time when he refused to deliver the goods. He humiliated her — which is also a kind of violation, but was not sexual in that context.

    You're right, Donny Brook. It is a difficult topic. But I still think it's worth bringing up, for reasons like the ones DH mentions. People study this stuff, and they do that to protect other people (women and men) from suffering the same fate as Joan. Tha alone is worth the high price of admission, which in this case was some discomfort for all of us.

    Links like the one below can offer more info on rapist types.

    When I started learning about all of this, I was still in college. I didn't use what I learned to form stark judgements against men. I still trust most people, to a degree that sometimes alarms my friends. But I learned early on to trust my intuition, and to pick up signals in the ways people treat others — all others: men, women, children and animals — to inform my understanding of who those people might be in more extreme cases.

    Like when they are drinking, angry, or hurting. Intuition has served me well here. I've avoided a lot of danger, thanks in part to what I learned alongside one woman in my life who had been unable to do that.

    I owe that woman a good share of my freedom. I guess you'd say I owe her my life.

  29. Of course she was raped, but until I read your post, didn't realize that it wouldn't have been classified as such in 1962. And as you noted, it probably would be hard to prove in court today. We still as a society treat rape victims as if they were partly or wholly to blame. I personally know 4 women who have been raped, 3 of them by men they knew, one by her husband. None of them were brought to justice.

  30. By the way, to amplify Deb:

    One "no" is enough. Reasons are not necessary. "No" is enough.

    No. I don't want a second helping, another drink, to give up my seat, or to switch long distance carriers. I don't have to tell you why. I get to say no. I don't have to give anyone rationalizations for it.

    "No". It's a right. So is shutting up. It pisses people off, and there's power in that.

    Embrace the power. 🙂

  31. Don’s no rapist. What did he tell Rachel? “No. Not unless you tell me you want it”

    I'm wondering if all rapists can only enjoy rape, not sex. If they can be a kind man to some women and a sadist to others? I have no idea, I'm just asking the question here.

    FTR, I don't think Don's a rapist.

  32. On 'one no is enough',

    Agreed, of course. But as a culture we needed to be educated on that. Because of the pornification of women, for years and years the default definition of those first few 'nos' was what Deb said; just part of the sex game. At least according to the men.

    Because of our education, most of us who were watching that scene (at least most of us here) got that the first no was no. We got it. Maybe 20 or 30 years ago the same 'us' would not have got it from the first 'no', even though we would have still known by the end what it is we saw. Maybe 20 or 30 years ago less of us would have been sure at which 'no' it turned.

    Now more of us know.

  33. I have been wondering about whether "one no is (always) enough"… Are there types of "no"s?Obviously, I can see how a "pornification" concept would explain a frat-boy date-rapist being unable to understand a woman's forceful rejections, especially when she initially seemed playful and receptive ("Dr Harris, are you trying to examine me?"). Joan did make it very clear, however, that she did not want to have sex in the office, and Greg violated that request.

    But what if she*were* game for a little hanky-panky in the office? What should she have initially said? I'd think it very improper (almost Janesque) for her to say "Sure! Let's get it on in my boss's office!", even if she were completely willing. If I were tempted to jump on the boss's couch, I'd probably still initially respond with "no…" because it's a fairly taboo request. That "no" would mean more "no, this is a crazy idea, I'd like to but I'm unsure" rather than "no, get away". Of course, if he starts throwing me against the bar, then all bets are off – knee to the 14" rise!

    There are many nuances to language, and the fault lies with Greg (as it does with all rapists) for being unwilling to read the nonverbal cues.

  34. Not to beat a dead horse … but I guess that's what I'm doing:

    I contend that Joan's fiance decided, on some level, what he was going to do from the time he asked her to make him a drink. He was going to have sex with Joan in that empty office, and it had something to do with Roger and something to do with the absence of the male boss he hadn't met, and it wasn't very clear, even to him.

    Joan's thoughts and feelings on the matter never entered into his equation at all. Therefore, nothing she said would have mattered.

    Did he hear her first "no"? Probably. But that guy wouldn't have stopped at the first, the third, the fifteenth, or any repetition of "no". It was not about what Joan did not want. It was about what HE wanted.

    I don't want to say that this happens a lot. I know that it happens enough that I have heard about it. When you hear a rape victim say things like, "I did [say no], but it didn't matter", I think that this is what happened.

    Or, worse: "I should not have been in that neighborhood/gone to his room/even opened the door." This is what you hear when the victim is aware that she'd have had to do something to arrest the situation, even before the word "no" became necessary.

    A common enough, but still horrible, truth: you can say whatever you want. The question is whether the other person is listening.

  35. There was a famous test case in 1978 (the Rideout Case–there was even a TV movie made with that title) which resulted in an acquittal. According to the article linked below, the first US conviction for marital rape did not occur until the following year:,9171,…

    So yes, the definition of rape has changed, if only relatively recently, and in spite of the fact that the act itself was obviously no less horrific in 1962. (Though Joan is only engaged, which would have made a legal difference, even then.)

  36. I contend that Joan’s fiance decided, on some level, what he was going to do from the time he asked her to make him a drink. He was going to have sex with Joan in that empty office, and it had something to do with Roger and something to do with the absence of the male boss he hadn’t met, and it wasn’t very clear, even to him.

    I agree with you on this, and it is similar to my initial comment (#2). Rape is NOT about sex. It is about power and control. Period. And Greg needed to prove to himself and to Joan who had the upper hand in the relationship. Who was/is "the man." Who is the dominant party. And that is exactly why he did what he did.

  37. I really wish there had been some type of warning before this episode, but even in our day and age there is no note taken of the difference between this type of violence and what our FCC refers to as "sexual content." What happened to her knocked the wind out of me, and my own fiance responded by holding me as I burst into tears. It's very, very difficult for me to see things like that.

    It did, later, open up a conversation between us about what being a powerful woman in the sixties really meant. For most, it didn't mean a whole lot. Joan is what I think of when I think of what it meant to be a powerful woman before the feminist revolution. It meant taking a job you were allowed to have, and pushing it to the hilt. To the brick ceiling, because at that time it wasn't even glass. She owns her body in a way that was almost unheard of at the time. Yet still, she falls subject to convention. It is not unrelated to her age that she got engaged, it is not unrelated to that need in her to go as far as she can as a woman in that world (which unfortunately was still ending with marriage) to be with a man who wouldn't let her be who she is. In this same episode, before the incident, she was trying to do…well, do what Joanie does, and he turned her down and the Joan who would've walked out on Sterling after such treatment wasn't present in that bed. It was the Joan who needed that man to stay and accept her, so she could become the only thing a woman could at that time. She had to be quiet and feel lucky that he was even there, such a fine prospect for a woman so OOOOOLD as she is. She will change who he is to keep him there, because as she found out in A Night To Remember, she's doing all she'll ever do at Sterling Cooper.

    I could go on and on about how this translates into the way she relates to other characters (especially that scene with Peggy) but…well, you're the ones writing the blog. Heh…looking at this comment you can't really tell, huh? Suffice it to say my heart aches for her in more ways than one. Aches for all of them; Joan, Peggy, Betty. A group of women more in need of feminism I can't think of.

  38. This was the second heartbreaking scene with Joan this season. The first for me was when Harry so casually took away her job reading scripts for him. She was good at it, she was empowered by it, she was being acknowledged for her intelligence in a male sphere. And it was taken from her.

    Now, this rape, which took away her power in the areas left to her – her power as the office Queen, and her power that comes from her sexuality.

  39. I was glad to see the comments on this episode by the show creator. To paraphrase (you can go over to amc to watch the clip) includes "sexually threatened by her past", "at no point was this to seem sexy", and "choreographed like a fight scene". Rape is violence against another person and there's no excuse for it. A little part of me hopes Joan is able to wake up and dump the doc.

  40. There is still no word for it at Court sometimes. An article in Oct. 27 issue of People Magazine told about a woman who was not allowed by the Judge to use words like rape or sexual assault to protect the rights of the man she accused because that would be too inflammatory for the jury to hear. And the jury was not allowed to hear of the language restrictions. I wonder what she could say "he "made love" to me unwantedly?"! When someone is accused of murder, you say murder. This article gives a good feel for how this issue of "there is no word for it" is still with us.

  41. What Don did to Bobbie was a violation, it was a show of force, intended to humiliate her and get what he wanted. I think it is irrelevant if she "liked" it. I am not sure she did but even if she did.

  42. About Don and Bobbie–didn't she assault him first in the car? In a way they were playing the same game, which makes it a bit different from Joan and Greg. While Greg was threatened by Joan wanting to be on top earlier and saw his rape as a retaliation, Joan probably didn't see it that way. She didn't climb on top with the purpose of belittling him, but as an act of love. Bobbie's initial act was one of aggresion. All throughout dinner, Bobbie was deliberately undercutting Don's efforts, and his "act" was part of the power-play. Granted, Don's assault on Bobbie made me really uncomfortable when I saw it, but I understand a difference. I wouldn't want to say she was "asking for it" but she was being violent with him long before that moment.

  43. AMC's 'talk forum', which I pay very little attention to, had this as an opening:

    Joan's inappropriately aggressive fiancee had the Talk forum up in arms this week.

    My comment to them:

    Not sure why you refer to him as inappropriately aggressive as opposed to, say… criminally violent.

    Inappropriately aggressive is someone who is pushy. Who maybe interrupts a lot.

    Bobbie was inappropriately aggressive with Don, and then he caved. He kissed back. It goes back to When does no mean no? I don't fucking no… he said no, and she grabbed the goods. So it stopped being an assault? Am I a hypocrite for saying that it did?

    And what Don did to Bobbie was violent, even in its intention.

  44. This will add fuel to Deborah's point…Here's the passage from the New York Times review of Season 2 which deals with Joan and Greg:

    "…Joan’s fiancé is so jealous of her past lovers at work that he forces himself on her on the floor of her boss’s office. (She gives in, oddly calm, like a wounded deer awaiting the coup de grâce.)…"

    Don't see the word "rape" anywhere there, not even couched with the "practically" qualifier.

    "Oddly calm"??? WTF????????

    When did calling a spade a spade become a no-no?

  45. I found the scene where Don "magic buttoned" Bobbie to be fiercely hot. The difference for me: Joan said NO. Bobbie did not give her consent, but she leaned back and gasped in a way that to me, implied she was into it. Sexually assaulting someone who is into it is no longer rape, it's SM.

    The scene of Joan's degradation, on the other hand, was so haunting that it almost brings me to tears to think of it. Her face.

  46. Gang rape has been going on forever, especially in college fraternities.
    … devastating for a young naive woman.
    Please read my blog, thanks.

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