Notes From Readers: Mad World

Readers speak out about our "Mad Men"–themed cover and efforts to raise the bar for the real estate industry. Also, our guest editor weighs in.

July 16, 2014

It’s a “Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”

I must tell you I was quite surprised to see the cover of the May/June issue of REALTOR® Magazine. To think in 2014 we are still seeing stereotypical depiction of women in business. I couldn’t believe the front cover of your magazine depicting the “Mad Men” television series, which is a throwback to the social mores during the 1960s when women in the work force were relegated to support roles. —Elke S. Laughlin, NAI, Houston

Editor’s Note: Many readers took the time to express strong feelings about the “Mad Men”–themed cover. We are glad to receive feedback and are also sorry that some of you felt offended by the image. To those concerned about the questionable mores of some of the show’s characters, we see it as a program that caricatures people in a time of great social change. We were playing with the notion that the show is about pushing the envelope—and that’s what young people do. To those readers who see our photo as a throwback to a difficult period for women in the workplace, we could not agree more. For all the progress that has been made in the women’s equality movement, the cover, to many, serves as a cultural touch point, reminding us that the struggle for equitable treatment in the workplace continues today.

Correction: 30 Under 30 Honoree Rebecca Thomson’s 2013 sales volume and transaction sides were misstated in her profile (“Classics, With a Twist,” May/June 2014). Her volume was $6.5 million on 21 sides.

Thoughts on Raising the Bar

In his column (Voices, “A Higher Bar to Professionalism,” March/April 2014), NAR President Steve Brown asserts that REALTORS® raise the bar by aspiring to a higher degree of excellence everywhere. This applies only to those who want to improve professionalism in our industry and certainly won’t help those who need it most. To truly raise the bar of professionalism in our industry, we must have a higher barrier to entry. It’s just too easy to obtain and maintain a real estate license and become a REALTOR®. —Patrick Howard, Edina Realty, Edina, Minn.

Steve Brown responds: I agree that it is too easy to secure a real estate license in most states. Frankly, we probably can’t initiate a federal real estate license law. Given the reality, it is our responsibility to help REALTORS® stand apart from those who only carry a license. The National Association of REALTORS® was created to highlight the differences between REALTORS® and other licensees to show how we are better than the rest. We can upgrade what it means to be a REALTOR®. That’s why I’ve initiated a presidential advisory group: Defining REALTOR® for the Future. I look forward to sharing the results with you and all of our members in the near future.

His Old House


Guest editor Cameron Platt, CRS, broker-owner of Platt Inc. Real Estate, has been renovating his 88-year-old house for the past 3 1/2 years. During his visit to our offices in June, as we chatted about this month’s cover feature, he described his own labor of love: “In late 2010, I convinced my wife Nicole that the 1926 Cotswold cottage, a stripped-down foreclosure in the Oakland hills, was the house for us. The home’s potential—and spectacular location—could not be beat. Still, renovating an older house is not for those lacking patience, resources, or a sense of humor. Old fuses ensure we don’t use the toaster and the microwave at the same time. Squeaky floors make hide-and-seek with my 2 ½ year-old daughter almost impossible. We are living through a four-month full kitchen remodel. But lately when I walk through the shell of the kitchen, step onto the soon-to-be-restored sun porch, and gaze out over the Oakland and Piedmont hills, I can’t help but smile. There is no place I would rather be, and nowhere else I would want to call home.”


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Send letters to or join a conversation at one of our blogs:  Speaking of Real Estate; Styled, Staged & Sold; Weekly Book Scan; and YPN Lounge.

Note: Letters and blog posts are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter doesn’t constitute an endorsement of the writer’s views by the National Association of REALTORS® or REALTOR® Magazine. Submission of a letter constitutes permission to publish it in any form or medium.

Wendy Cole

Wendy Cole is the former managing editor of REALTOR® Magazine.