Mrs. America: Phyllis
April 15, 2020 5:23 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Phyllis, the first episode of Mrs. America, introduces Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly (portrayed by Cate Blanchett). The docudrama chronicles the real-life political movement that Mrs. Schlafly spearheaded in the 1970s against women’s liberation and LGBT rights.

The miniseries premiered on the Hulu streaming service, though it was produced by the cable network FX. The first three episodes are available now, with one episode per week to follow. Though the first episode focused strongly on Phyllis Schlafly, other episodes center on the groundbreaking women who brought second-wave feminism to America’s public consciousness. So far, reviewers (cf the links in Notable Reviews) have given the series universal acclaim.
posted by Monochrome (8 comments total)
I want to watch this because it looks very good, but I'm old enough that I still carry an active grudge against Schlafly. And I'm still very angry about the ERA. I just don't know if I'll be able to watch this.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:29 AM on April 16, 2020 [14 favorites]

Watched first two eps last night. I like it, so far. However, watching it made me think about divides and how nothing has really changed.

Also, Tracey Ullman is fantastic as Betty Friedan.
posted by sundrop at 7:34 AM on April 16, 2020 [2 favorites]

I'm with you, Ivan, for pretty much the same reasons. Just mentioning Schlafly makes my gut twist into knots of rage. Just seeing the commercials for this thing were enough to make me vow never to watch it.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:57 AM on April 16, 2020 [4 favorites]

It’s worth noting that Schlafly is the main character, but she’s not the hero. The Times called it “iconography without hagiography”:
“Mrs. America” hardly sees Schlafly as its heroine, but it respects her cunning and force of will. Blanchett gives her a Katharine Hepburn clipped-syllables charm — like Blanchett’s Galadriel in “The Lord of the Rings,” she is regal and terrifying (to her allies above all).
Slate says:
But Mrs. America and Blanchett, also an executive producer of the show, aren’t up to anything so simple as wanting us to like Phyllis Schlafly—I know I didn’t. They want us to see her, and as more than just a poltergeist, but a woman of tremendous accomplishment, and tremendous misdeeds.
The Chicago Sun-Times:
“Mrs. America” isn’t exactly a sympathetic portrayal, but it’s a fair one.
posted by Monochrome at 1:58 PM on April 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

Mrs. America and the Prestige of Playing Right Wing White Women
"If Mrs. America makes it seem like Schlafly shot herself in the foot, that’s because the show participates in the somewhat tautological framework of gender hypocrisy or false consciousness, meaning the idea that anti-feminist white women are working “against their own interests,” rather than working to preserve their class and racial privilege above all else."
posted by ChuraChura at 6:10 PM on April 16, 2020 [6 favorites]

All 9 hourlong (ish) episodes are on Hulu now. (And on Fanfare.) Binge all you want.
posted by Monochrome at 6:44 PM on May 27, 2020

I thought this was interesting from Gloria Steinem & Eleanor Smeal –

"What the Emmy-nominated miniseries gets wrong about feminism past and present."

The bottom line is this: “Mrs. America” has described deck chairs on the Titanic but lied about why the Titanic went down. Instead, it has given us the Catfight Theory of History. Of course, women may disagree with each other on all sorts of topics, but the obvious truth is that we don’t have the power to be our own worst enemies.
posted by amanda at 8:09 PM on August 2, 2020 [3 favorites]

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