Mrs. America is a series about a very controversial subject and period in American history that should not be forgotten. It focuses on a woman, who is titled here as Mrs. America. She was both loved and hated — Phyliss Schlafly. It’s currently streaming on Hulu.
I want to first say that if you are screaming and kicking that you do not want to watch anything about Phyliss and you absolutely hate her guts, you’re going to miss out on the opposition in her life and the birth of the feminist movement, as well as the ERA.
In case you don’t know what the ERA is, it was a proposed amendment to the constitution – Equal Rights Amendment – which was drafted to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex. Though written in 1923, it gained support in the early 1960’s by the women’s movement. However, not all women were pro-ERA. In fact, there were many who saw the amendment as a threat to their lives as stay-at-home wives and mothers. Some had irrational fears about the roles of women that today we wouldn’t think twice about, i.e. women fighting in the military.
Early in the series, the audience is introduced to Phyliss and her fight against the ERA. Phyliss was no ordinary housewife with six children. She was active in the political arena. Her Stop the ERA campaigns were ruthless, but so were the supporters of the amendment on the feminist side. This series gives equal and unbiased time to both pros and cons of the amendment and digs deep into what makes these individual women tick in real life.
Cate Blanchett is a Golden Globe contender for her performance. She plays a driven, staunch, singled-minded individual. Some called her anointed by God, while others thought her a devil.
If you have time, you should watch this series. It’s educational for all women on both sides of the fence. Frankly, I grew up during the 1960’s and heard nothing in my household about the ERA. In fact, to my utter shame, I never heard about it until I watched this series. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, and I grew up during that time period when it was a normal part of life. I do remember, however, entering the workforce in 1970’s, during my early twenties, and the sexual harassment and passes received on the job. Today, thanks to the changing attitudes, the boss who grabbed my breasts and the one who made a sexual comment about my pretty legs, would be on their ass out the door.
So, did the ERA ever pass and become an amendment to the Constitution? Not, yet. It’s taken years for all the states to ratify the ERA. It still languishes in litigation after all this time. If you wish to read more about the ERA, visit good old Wikipedia.
I will caution you, however. If you thought lines are drawn between Conservatives and Liberals nowadays, you will learn it’s been an ongoing battle long before you were born. It’s a war. A war for rights, beliefs, and winning government seats to have your ideals run the country rather than the other side. Some viewers may be highly offended by the content and harsh words spoken. There is a lot of bigotry and nothing politically correct in the dialogue. Be forewarned. If you can handle it, then watch it. It’s well worth the time.