The 1960s are about to come to a close on Mad Men and I cannot help but wonder what will become of icy Betty Draper Francis as the end draws near. The 1970s are about to begin, and will Betty finally evolve into something great or will she simply be a sad relic leftover from another era?
We have watched her suffer and strain, yet most of us fans are still rooting for her to have a happy ending. From the very beginning, Betty was a tragic figure; A beautiful, Grace Kelly doppleganger and former model who gave it all up to marry the man of her dreams and live the life of a housewife in suburbia. Cut off from the one thing that truly made her happy, she was like a bird who’s wings got clipped right as it was about to take flight. A glamorous, educated sophisticate forced to become a domestic goddess while married to a man who constantly undermined her self worth.
As the 1960s rode on, Betty was struggling to hold onto the traditional values she was subjected to, while observing the ever changing world around her and seeing other women live much more fulfilling lives. She imploded. She lashed out at her children. She had affairs of her own. For a woman who was stunted at the get go, she had all of my sympathy. A woman like her needed to express herself creatively and artistically, and not by mixing and matching furniture.
What will become of Ms. Draper/Francis as the 1970s dawn? I have 2 theories. One, she will become so embittered and unhappy at the life she was forced to give up and the decade she let slip away from her that she will become addicted to pills or alcohol. I have heard this tale from several women who grew up in this era, and they were all victims of giving up their own dreams for a man who ultimately left them high and dry.
My second theory is that she will finally take the bull by the horns and strike out on her own in the real world and pursue a career. The women’s movement will soon be in full force, and my hope is that Betty rides this wave into the 1970s. As we saw during the first half of season 7, her friend Francine became a career woman (much to Betty’s obvious envy) and she lashed out at Henry for ordering her around after she voiced her opinion about the war. These things lead me to believe that she has finally had enough and will be out to prove a point to everyone. My only hope is that she does not abandon her children for a career, but that may very well happen as many women in that era were known to do(remember the movie Kramer vs. Kramer)?
Whatever the fates have in store for Betty, as a longtime fan I hope that she can find inner peace with what she gave up, and ultimately find the courage to become what she wants in this world (An Italian tour guide/archeologist/model agency owner?? The sky’s the limit!