So, upon my first viewing of Season 4, I understood that Joan was supposed to be getting frumpier, but I saw it as a gradual progression, more a process of aging or a byproduct of marriage than a response to anything in particular. But now I realize that these blousy, full-sleeved, pussy bow tops—the kind of thing she blasted Peggy for wearing three seasons ago—don’t make their first appearance until just after the Joey incident. It’s not necessarily that Joan is becoming an old maid; it’s likely that she simply wants to deflect sexual attention. She needs to prove, after all, that she isn’t “trying to get raped.”
Yesterday I mentioned that I was aggressively catcalled on my way to work. Despite the fact that I’ve long since committed myself to fighting rape culture, I did experience some self-blame when I realized I was wearing the same outfit as I was when a strange man followed me into my apartment building. Today, it came time to get dressed, and I put on a baggy T-shirt, a sports bra, and my slouchiest jeans—with no makeup, flip-flops, and men’s cologne. It wasn’t a conscious decision, but I don’t doubt that it was an effort to desexualize myself in the only way I know how. This is what we do. This is how rape culture makes us see ourselves.