Watching & Knitting: Mrs. America

Cate Blanchett as Phyllis Schlafly in Mrs. America

Mrs. America on Hulu tells the story of how the unexpected battle about the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in the ’70s gave rise to the Moral Majority and forever shifted the political landscape.

The series is told through the eyes of the women of the era—second-wave feminists like Gloria Steinem, Betty Freidan, and Bella Abzug, and an army of anti-feminists led by Phyllis Schlafly.

We all tend to characterize those with ideas we deem less evolved or progressive than our own as stupid or ignorant. Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly was neither, she was an intelligent, persuasive woman who spearheaded a successful campaign against ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Cate Blanchett is just perfection as the cunning and enigmatic Phyllis Schlafly. Blanchett’s elegance and cool as a cucumber exterior lend a level of gravitas to a historical figure who it seems many did not take seriously until it was too late.

The cast is amazing but Sarah Paulson as an anti-feminist housewife, and Uzo Aduba’s Shirley Chisholm stand out. I appreciate that the feminists and the anti-feminists all seem to be given equally good dialogue and care. This seems fair considering the storyline.

The Music!

You may be too young to remember, but the opening disco music A Fifth of Beethoven was an unlikely #1 hit made popular in 1977 after this entrance by John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever. You’re welcome.

The Midnight Special was one of the best things about babysitting in the 70’s. This episode features Walter Murphy & the Big Apple Band jamming to some Beethoven.

Watch Mrs. America Wednesdays on Hulu. Catch up before the series finale next week.

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