Mrs. America: Feminism Means What

Mrs. America (9 episodes on Hulu) has been praised for both the quality of the acting as well as the storyline. The series has addressed what can be described as focused on two different women’s movements: The movement that pushed for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the movement that fought against it, led by Phyllis Schlafly and which centered on what can be seen as a culture war.
Gloria Steinem was overly critical of the series, seeing it as too focused on Schlafly and not centered on what she saw as the real opposition to the ERA which was the insurance industry as well as other economics organizations.
A writer deciding to address this topic should: 1) focus on the these two different women’s movements and how they interact as well as clash; 2) address where Schlafly should actually be placed in ranking her as a factor in contributing to preventing the passage of the ERA, and; 3) What does this series say about how we should look at what these opposing women’s movements have meant to contemporary America and to women specifically.

  • I think there's real value here in illustrating the ways in which the discussion surrounding feminism pits women against each other, by dividing them into "good" feminists and "bad" anti-feminists (or the other way around). It always struck me as a breeding ground for attacks on women, and that would be extremely dangerous. – Debs 2 years ago
  • After seeing the Mrs. America series, and Gloria Steinem's autobiography turned into a movie (with Julianne Moore), I think one aspect of such an essay can be highlighting Steinem and Schlafly, two media personalities but quite different from each other with different goals in mind. Odd to consider that what began as what might be seen as a feminism movement (if that term is correct) with certain goals, should see a counter-movement arise. Is it possible to bridge the two in some way? Are there issues that they may have in common? Mrs. America did not present Schlafly in anything but a manipulative way, but it also seemed to present the supporters of ERA as ignoring the forces behind Schlafly, which, I think, was a wrong thing to do. In the series there is a moment where a friend and supporter of Schlafly's (Sarah Paulson) raises the issue of finding something in common and then it is just gone. – Joseph Cernik 2 years ago

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