‘Mrs. America’: Hollywood Resurrects Conservative Activist Phyllis Schlafly, Just to Bury Her Again

Not surprisingly, Hollywood has shredded the reputation of another conservative female. They even go after the dead ones. Hollywood tries to bury Phyllis Schlafly again in “Mrs. America.”

Phyllis Schlafly “Mrs. America”

Publisher’s note: Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, the subject of “Mrs. America,” was born in 1924. Schlafly was a well-respected constitutional lawyer. She was best known for her conservative social and political views, her opposition to the feminist movement, and her successful campaign to stop the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution in the 1970s. Schlafly is also recognized for keeping the Republican Party on the conservative side on family values and religious issues. In hindsight, her prescient views about the ramifications of the Equal Rights Amendment have come true.

Schlafly, a supporter of President Trump, died of cancer in 2016 at the age of 92. What Hollywood did with this woman’s story in “Mrs. America” is appalling.

“Mrs. America” is the highly fictionalized story of Phyllis Schlafly. The FX Original Series is about the Equal Rights Amendment and the “unexpected” backlash led by Schlafly–somehow unexpected although most Americans did not support much of the feminist agenda in the 1970s. The series stars Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne and Elizabeth Banks.

Phyllis Schlafly “Mrs. America” Recap & Review

“We’re all in this together these days” they say, unless of course, you’re a moderate or conservative. Then sit down, shut your mouth, and if you’re dead we’ll still make mincemeat of you.

by Sheryl Young

I’m speaking of the miniseries “Mrs. America,” made by FX and streaming on Hulu. It takes its best shot at Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016), the woman who prophetically called attention to the dangerous slippery slope of the feminist movement. Not the feminist movement which started in the 1840s and eventually won the right to vote for women – but the modern feminist movement that started in the early 1960s.

Did the modern feminist movement burn bras as a symbol of “sexual liberation”? Yes. But it was also originally about women’s rights in things like:
• equal jobs for equal pay.
​• recognition and promotion for women in their fields.

• recognition for the fact that they could have both a career and a family and do both well.
• achieving the right to keep working while pregnant, and getting maternity leave.
• finding deadbeat dads and getting child support.
• having domestic abuse recognized by authorities as a real and serious problem.

Schlafly wasn’t against all this. But she foresaw exactly what we are seeing in the radical feminist movement today – a man-hating, abortion-loving movement that shames stay-at-home moms, extols remaining single and not needing a man, strives to rip children away from their parents’ values, and comes against all other things traditional.

As it grew in momentum, feminism evolved into an “all-female power” sentiment. In 1972 Schlafly established The Eagle Forum, a pro-family movement against the legislative goal of the radical feminists who were even telling mothers ‘you don’t know enough to raise your own child’ (an early version of Hillary Clinton’s philosophy ‘it takes a village’). The Eagle Forum is still active today.

The TV series “Mrs. America” mostly portrays Schlafly as an uptight person and repressed wife. And several reviews in prominent publications follow suit. One reviewer calls her a “fear-monger.” Another takes pleasure in describing the acted-out sex scene between Schlafly and her husband as “…with her husband ‘pressing his weight on her’ to fulfill his needs.”

So apparently, the scriptwriters were in the bedroom with the Schlaflys? How lucky they were to go back in time and be first-hand voyeurs in the “it-was-conservative-therefore-it-was-forced” 1960s marital bedroom.

Meanwhile, the series depicts some of the first feminist icons as having casual unmarried sex which is, of course, never demeaning, always fantastic and free of consequences as it usually is on TV and in movies. Except for the fact that now, actual female executives and Hollywood stars are saying they had to abort babies to make progress in their careers. What happened to the old feminist mantra “Women can do it all?” Now they’re claiming they needed to get abortions to live productive lives (see our related article here).

One scene in the movie has the feminist movement’s Jill Ruckelshaus (played by Elizabeth Banks) saying “We don’t want housewives thinking we’re against them.” To which Brenda Feigen-Fasteau (Ari Graynor) replies, “We ARE against them!”

Schlafly herself was not an ordinary homemaker. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in government in 1944-45. Sensing a turning against grassroots election movements by elite members of Congress (yes, even then), she wrote the book A Choice Not an Echo in 1964, which sold three million copies, and later The Power of a Positive Woman (1977).

Her daughter, Anne Schlafly Cori, recently told Vanity Fair that her mother was not cold and calculating as the series portrays, that many women of her era admired her, and that her father was not a man who controlled his wife. 

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In the series, the Phyllis Schlafly character (played by Cate Blanchett) accurately states as Schlafly would have: 
“I am not against women. I am not against women working outside the home. What I am against is the Women’s Liberation Movement.” 

What I’ve seen so far of the series – and some of its mainstream reviews – contains inaccuracies. I was in grade school, then high school and college when these women and more were already rocking the feminist scene – Bella Abzug, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan. They were admirable people at first. By the time I was working, the effects of their determination in job equality and some other things were paying off.

But at some point they fell off the liberal cliff. 

Whether this article came out coincidentally close to the series release or for other reasons, a former feminist writer recently acknowledged she wrote “propaganda” for Cosmopolitan Magazine – the feminist Bible – before “fake news” was even a phrase. Writer Sue Ellen Browder said she was asked to concoct stories of extravagant extramarital love affairs for the magazine. She told the Daily Signal in a must-read May 2020 piece that the goal was:  

“To sell women on the idea that sexual liberation is the path to the single woman’s personal fulfillment…
“Propaganda is very sophisticated. It’s half-truth, selected truth, and truth out of context.”

Browder was married at the time and had two children. She and her husband didn’t want any more kids. Getting immersed in feminist ideology while writing for Cosmo gave her the idea to have an abortion once it was legalized. While Phyllis Schlafly was warning Americans about legalizing abortion, everyone at Cosmo was already saying it was “a woman’s right.”

Browder had her abortion in 1974, but now confesses in the Daily Signal article:

“I did not realize what a traumatic experience that would be later in life… “When you start betraying the truth, it will come back to haunt you.”

Although abortion activists claim women do not suffer any abortion consequences, there is much evidence to the contrary. Browder’s account is further proof it isn’t true, and that other mottos and mantras of the feminist movement weren’t true either.

Phyllis Schlafly turned out to be right about the radicalization of feminism. She would be vindicated today to know that the earlier Equal Rights Amendment she fought against (on which I myself probably would not have agreed with her back then) has now turned into something so radically progressive that it’s actually become regressive. As it is most recently written, the new ERA up-ends some of the rights the earlier women worked so hard to achieve – like the Title IX right to be recognized in sports – because of its broad language. 

Already, many high school girls and female professional athletes can’t even get noticed or rewarded in their own sport because transgender women (men who claim to believe they are women), are taking the top spots. And feministsare between a rock and a hard place. Because the majority of them agree with the most ultra-liberal aspects of “tolerance” and “diversity,” they may find themselves outside looking in. Like the rest of us. Schlafly warned that the increasingly radical aspects of the feminist movement would become so extreme that it would turn on itself.  

While it is certain that Hollywood and today’s militant feminists will go right on making fun of conservative women, we know there is another truth. There are modern day Phyllis Schlaflys. Let’s find them and make good movies about them. 

Phyllis Schlafly “Mrs. America” Resources:

Phyllis Schlafly biography, Eagle Forum. 
Phyllis Schlafly biography, Encyclopedia Britannica.
‘Mrs. America, love it or leave it,’ Matthew Gilbert, Boston Globe, 6/8/20.
Reviving Phyllis Schlafly in “Mrs. America”, Doreen St. Felix, New Yorker, 4/20/20.
Mrs. America: What Phyllis Schlafly’s Daughter Thinks Cate Blanchett Got Wrong, Julie Miller, Vanity Fair, 4/13/20.
She Wrote Fake News for Cosmopolitan, and Now Regrets Misleading Women on Feminism, Kelsey Bolar, The Daily -Signal, 5/26/20. 
Equal Rights Amendment.org

*Editor’s Note: There are pro-life feminist groups, such as Feminists for Life. TICW does not wish to imply that all feminists are pro-choice, nor to imply that all pro-choicers never select a pro-life option. We would like to make this clear: We believe that pro-abortion doctors and pro-abortion activists mislead women to think this is a “harmless” procedure and a “beneficial” thing for their lives, but we don’t condemn the women and girls who have had abortions.

© 2020, The Intelligent Conservative Woman (TICW). Reprinted with permission.  ​​

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