It is interesting to think that there was a footnote in history where women actually fought against their own freedoms, but that is the story of ‘Mrs. America’. While the feminist movement was trying to ratify women’s rights in America, a group of conservative women were simultaneously trying to stop it from happening. This movement was led by Phyllis Schlafly (played brilliantly by Cate Blanchett), a failed politician turned lobbyist who’s motives never come off as less than sincere. She believes that the Equal Rights Amendment would force women out of the home and into the workplace. O worse, it would force them to the front lines of war.
On the flip side are a group of brilliant feminists, who each become the focus of an episode to enlighten the audience on their side of the story. Rose Byrne plays Gloria Steinem as a popular women, who is secretly very lonely. She wants more than anything to give women the right to choose an abortion, but has to play the bigger game. Uzo Aduba plays the first black women to run for President, Shirley Chisholm. Tracey Ullman plays the mother of the feminist movement, Betty Friedan. And a host of brilliant actresses like Ari Graynor, Margot Martindale, Elizabeth Banks, and more fill out an all star cast.
Yet, as each of the feminist figures are fleshed out, we see more difficulties with the notions and principles many of the women are trying to live by. As Phyllis continues to press that women should be subservient to men, she continues to find herself becoming more independent as things move on. And all this is filled in with a series of little sequences that reveal the real reason why women deserve equal rights in the first place. It’s an exceptionally well told story and an important piece of history. Don’t miss it.
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