Season 6 of "Mad Men" has involved some serious surprises for its female characters, but our leading ladies Peggy, Joan, Megan, Betty and Sally refused to sit back and let life happen to them. Over and over again this season we've seen the women of the show stand up for themselves, speak their minds and take what they want. Things rarely went smoothly, but 1968 was, for the most part, a year of steps forward.
Here's what we learned from the women of "Mad Men" this season:
1. How to "lean in," four decades before Sheryl Sandberg. Joan, Peggy and Megan have all been making strides in their careers -- with varying degrees of success. Joan's thinking might have been the bravest: When you don't get invited to the meeting, make your own meeting.
2. Why you shouldn't dumb yourself down. It won't be attractive to anyone.
3. How to talk back to strangers, especially impolite ones.
4. How to be decisive, whether you're choosing a sandwich or buying an apartment.
5. How to cope when you're the third wheel on a date. A bottle tucked into your purse will make even the most awkward situation a little more bearable.
6. How to talk about someone sitting next to you -- though we don't recommend it. You never know who took French in high school.
7. How to stand up for yourself -- even to your boss. Joan's outburst might not have been the most elegant way to get her point across, but someone needed to let Don know just how ridiculous he can be sometimes.
8. How to say when something is bothering you. Maybe not quite as publicly as Sally, but bottling everything up inside isn't going to resolve a thing.
9. Why not to keep a homemade bayonet on hand. The second part of this lesson? Always let someone know when you're walking up behind them in the dark, because you never know what DIY weaponry they're brandishing.
10. Why it pays to listen to your mentors. Don taught Peggy to "change the conversation" when she didn't like what she heard -- and his advice worked out very well for her.
11. How to put a jerk in his place. Trudy Campbell was so over Pete's bullsh*t, and she certainly wasn't going to let it ruin her life. She laid down the law like we've never seen before.
12. How to accept the most awkward kind of hug. Dawn got through this with a level of patience and dignity we admire.
13. How to handle someone who stood you up. "Forget... my... name" sounds best in Marie Calvet's accent, but we think it would be impactful from any woman.
14. How satisfying a snippy comeback can be -- especially when directed at a creep who thinks you're crushing on him.
15. How to use a threat effectively.
16. Last, but not least, how to pick your battles. Sometimes, you just have to let things go.