Pan Am Isn't Sexist, And It's Definitely Not Mad Men

At the Television Critics Association press tour Sunday, the Pan Am panel including Christina Ricci sought to dispel concerns that the new drama will be sexist -- and they argued that it won’t in any way resemble Mad Men, according to TV Guide.

Sure, the ladies of the sky portrayed in the drama will have to wear girdles, and they will be shown being weighed in to conform to required weight standards. But Christina Ricci, who will star as the head stewardess, Maggie, insists that the message is really one of empowerment and a good one for young women.

Sexism on Pan Am is a misconception, and unraveling that is actually what drew me to the role…as soon as anyone sees 10 minutes of this show, the misconception will be gone. It’s really a great message for young girls and women.

Set in the 1960s, when air travel was really taking off and a flight was a true experience to be savored, Pan Am tells the story of the flight crews, including stewardesses and pilots. In spite of being set in the same era, the show is in no way similar to the hit Mad Men, which is known for its decidedly misogynistic leanings. In fact, the producers and cast are really getting a little tired of the comparison. Executive producer Thomas Schlamme told TCA press in no uncertain terms that Pan Am “has nothing to do with Mad Men."

Although the producers admit that the physical requirements of the job as portrayed in the series raise eyebrows by today’s politically correct standards, it won’t be a focus of the show. The series incorporates the reality of that aspect of the job but is meant to show the excitement and drama of the time. Pan Am aims to portray intelligent women taking on a career that offered opportunities for experiences not otherwise available to women at the time, the TCA panel insists. Right, as long as they looked good doing it.

Pan Am premieres Sunday, September 25th at 10/9c on ABC.