Mrs. America is an American miniseries based on the historical events of the opposition to the Equal rights movement led by Phyllis Schlafly, portrayed by Cate Blanchett. It was produced by FX Network and created by David Waller. It has an ensemble cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Elizabeth Banks, John Slattery, Tracey Ullman, and Sarah Paulson.
Is Mrs. America A Real-Life Story?
Yes, Mrs.America is based on real-life events. It follows the battle between the feminists fighting for the ratification of the Equal Rights movement against the anti-feminist group led by Phyllis Schlafly, who is fighting against the bill.
Phyllis Schlafly was born in St. Louis on 15th August 1924. She attended a private school, securing good grades, enough for her to enroll in Washington University. After graduation, she started working in The American Enterprise Association in Washington, DC. At the age of 25, she got married to Fred Schlafly. The two of them welcomed their first kid when she was 26. Her main ambition was to be a part of Congress. She ran for the 24th Congressional district of Illinois in 1952.
She was an anti-communist and claimed that her Democrat opponent did not realize the risk of communism. She also criticized then-President Harry Truman for the handling of the Korean war. It was a foreshadowing of the behavior she would later be known for. However, the place she was running in was majorly democratic, and thus she would lose a wide margin of votes.
She remained against the idea of communism, and she published a pamphlet with an anti-Communist reading list titled “Inside the Communist Conspiracy,” which wanted to show how “American failure to grasp the fact that we are already engaged in a total war with the Communists.”
Schlafly got national attention during 1964 in Barry Goldwater’s presidential run, a conservative candidate she supported. She self-published a book called A Choice Not An Echo which became very popular. Even though Truman lost, it would start the Reagan revolution in the country.
Despite this, she treasured being a housewife and caring for her husband and children more. She used to taunt the feminists telling them how her husband allowed her to be present at a place. At the end of 1971, a friend told her to debate a feminist, and that’s when everything changed for her. She started the STOP ERA movement in October 1972 and became its Chairwoman. Schlafly coached stay-at-home mom’s politics.
She described her recruits in 2006, per the Atlantic, as “housewives” who “didn’t even know where their state capital was.” Schlafly taught them everything from how to speak to the press to how to dress and smile for the camera.
She grew even more popular after the legalization of Abortion in 1973, which irked the conservative women who were anti-abortion.
The ERA movement required thirty-eight states to sanction it. When Schlafly started the movement, 30 states had already done it. By 1982, ERA remained three states short and thus failed to get ratified.
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She convinced the people to join her by using the family values point and the fear of unisex bathrooms becoming a reality. Schlafly convinced them that the feminists hated the homemakers and degraded their status. She also said that the equal rights movements would mean women being drafted into the army.
Feminist Mystique author Betty Friedan once lashed out at Schlafly with an insult. “I’d like to burn you at stake,” she said. “I consider you a traitor to your sex. I consider you an Aunt Tom.” Years later, Schlafly would tell the Times that Friedan was “very ugly” to deal with. “I reject all her ideology,” Schlafly said, “most of it based on the absurd notion that the home is a comfortable concentration camp and that the suburban housewife is oppressed by her husband and by society.”
Life Post The STOP Movement
Post the STOP movement, Schlafly would keep publishing her newsletter. She would lose her popularity significantly in the years after, but the movement she started would only get more traction.
Before her death in 2016, she endorsed Donald Trump as the president.
Mrs. America is available on Hulu.
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