The Betty Draper Parenting Guide

By  | 

Anyone who has watched even a couple of episodes of Mad Men can deduce that Betty Draper is not exactly a terrific mother. When not yelling at her kids to get upstairs or critiquing her daughter’s body, Betty Draper can also be counted on to never communicate with them over anything that doesn’t involve dinner, going outside, or watching TV. A video compilation of Betty Draper’s “best parenting hits” was created on New York Magazine to showcase all of Betty’s best one-liners.


Elisa Kreisinger, a feminist video remix artist, comments on Political Remix Video that while it’s easy to criticize Betty on the show, the remix highlights how her awful parenting is the result of tension between her identity as a mother and as an individual:

To cope with being an unhappy mother and a trapped spouse, Betty drinks, smokes and yells at her kids for being kids. It’s easy to scrutinize Betty Draper’s character flaws as neatly fitting into the stereotype of The Bitch, The Bad Mommy and/or The Frustrated Housewife but Betty’s role is subtler. As one of the few characters in popular culture who embody the problem with no name, Betty’s flaws illustrated in the remix [above] lie at the intersection of the personal and political and exemplify the ways in which we scrutinize mothers without fully acknowledging the cultural complexities of their situation.

Kreisinger points out that by 1965, when the most recent season takes place, “women had been experiencing an ideological and psychological yo-yo that pulled them in very different and competing directions.” Not too long before women were coaxed into getting jobs to assist in the  World War II effort. Yet once the war was over, nearly 4 million women were essentially fired because the government wanted to secure those jobs for the soldiers coming home. Women and mothers were then ushered back into the kitchen and more or less told to stay there with articles and magazines assuring them that they were supposed to be ecstatic every time they waxed the kitchen floor.

Considering all of those elements, it’s a bit easier to understand why Betty won’t be winning Mom Of The Year award any time soon.