This miniseries about Phyllis Schlafly’s war against the Equal Rights Amendment premiered in April 2020, and for six weeks, was the only thing I looked forward to while I quarantined alone in my Brooklyn apartment. It was nominated for a slew of awards, including 10 Emmys, and features a truly outstanding All-Star cast, and yet, I’m constantly learning that not a lot of people watched it, let alone even heard of it.
I rewatched it for maybe the 15th time a couple of weeks ago, and it was as enjoyable and infuriating as the first time. If you don’t know much about Schlafly (who was credited with helping Donald Trump get elected in 2016 and is played by a phenomenal Cate Blanchett), this series shows you exactly how she went from Illinois housewife to conservative firebrand...but through a nuanced lens that, despite the damage Schlafly’s movement has done, shows her as someone who was merely fighting like hell to have a place and a voice within the deeply sexist, patriarchal structures that oppress us all. She just fought on the side of saying sexism doesn’t exist anymore in order to get the approval of the men around her. As Bella Abzug (played by Margo Martindale) says at one point, Phyllis might have been “the most liberated woman in America.”
With Elizabeth Banks as Jill Ruckelshaus, Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinen, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, and about a dozen more stars, Mrs. America is just...so fucking good. Inspiring and infuriating, sobering and eye-opening, I honestly might rewatch it for the 16th time this weekend. —Lauren Tousignant