An Ode to Joan, Who Will Forever Be Mad Men's Biggest Badass

It's been nearly a year since Mad Men ended forever, and we're still in mourning. Every character goes through a major evolution over the course of the show, and Joan makes possibly the biggest about-face. While she relies on a pretty face and quick wits at the beginning of the series, she becomes a legitimate force to be reckoned with. In honor of Christina Hendricks's birthday this week, take a look at Joan's journey through the years; you might be surprised by how much she changes.

01
When we first meet Joan, she's bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.
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When we first meet Joan, she's bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

02
She's also the head b*tch in charge.
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She's also the head b*tch in charge.

03
And she doesn't really play well with other women.
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And she doesn't really play well with other women.

04
In fact, she's pretty rude to them.
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In fact, she's pretty rude to them.

05
One might say she's relatively judgmental.
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One might say she's relatively judgmental.

06
Especially toward her colleague Peggy.
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Especially toward her colleague Peggy.

08
But she's an independent woman, and he's not exactly available.
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But she's an independent woman, and he's not exactly available.

09
She admits to growing up with one goal in mind.
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She admits to growing up with one goal in mind.

10
But she doesn't capture every man's eye.
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But she doesn't capture every man's eye.

11
Eventually, she gets married . . . it's a bit rocky.
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Eventually, she gets married . . . it's a bit rocky.

12
She has a child and basks in the glow of motherhood.
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She has a child and basks in the glow of motherhood.

13
But family life isn't what she imagined it would be.
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But family life isn't what she imagined it would be.

15
She comes out of the experience with some savvy about men.
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She comes out of the experience with some savvy about men.

16
She realizes she needs to take care of herself, because no one else will do it for her.
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She realizes she needs to take care of herself, because no one else will do it for her.

17
She starts speaking her mind more at work.
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She starts speaking her mind more at work.

18
And she doesn't take crap from anyone.
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And she doesn't take crap from anyone.

19
She's still pretty mean to other women.
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She's still pretty mean to other women.

20
But she doesn't mind being alone.
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But she doesn't mind being alone.

22
And she's still pretty cruel when people don't treat her with respect.
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And she's still pretty cruel when people don't treat her with respect.

23
But she does become slightly softer.
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But she does become slightly softer.

24
She's no longer afraid to ask for what she wants — even if that's just a stiff drink.
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She's no longer afraid to ask for what she wants — even if that's just a stiff drink.

25
But she does something she's not proud of, because she feels like she has to.
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But she does something she's not proud of, because she feels like she has to.

26
And because of it, she becomes a partner.
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And because of it, she becomes a partner.

27
Of course, her new title comes with some frustrations.
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Of course, her new title comes with some frustrations.

28
She starts dating again, but she's not willing to settle.
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She starts dating again, but she's not willing to settle.

29
She learns to embrace female relationships slightly more.
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She learns to embrace female relationships slightly more.

30
And when she isn't treated fairly at the new firm, she takes charge.
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And when she isn't treated fairly at the new firm, she takes charge.

31
Unfortunately, the world isn't ready for Joan.
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Unfortunately, the world isn't ready for Joan.

32
But one day, it will be.
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But one day, it will be.

33
And it's because of women like Joan.
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And it's because of women like Joan.

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