Over the past several weeks, the American chattering class has been rehashing the debate over the Women’s Movement since Hulu released its miniseries about the Equal Rights Amendment, “Mrs. America.” The release of “Mrs. America” comes as Virginia became the 38th state to pass the ERA earlier this spring, though a Justice Department memo said the deadline to ratify the ERA has long since passed.
Perhaps the most misleading thing about “Mrs. America” is its portrayal of the feminist movement as a fight for equality when, as Mallory Millett attests, it was actually about the demonization of men, the destruction of the family, and anarchic sexual freedom. Millett’s older sister Kate was the author of a 1970 feminist manifesto, Sexual Politics, which the New York Times calls “the Bible of Women’s Liberation.” TIME magazine dubbed Millett “the Mao Tse-tung of Women’s Liberation” in their August 31, 1970 edition. Many credit Kate Millett’s Sexual Politics with the proliferation of women’s studies departments at most universities, which are to this day nothing more than Marxist therapy sessions cloaked with the aura of academia and scholarship.
Mallory Millett wrote about her sister’s radical Marxism in a 2014 article entitled, “Marxist Feminism’s Ruined Lives.” To illustrate her sister’s radicalism, she recounts as an eye-witness a gathering at her sister’s house with noted feminists like Lila Karp, where the group chanted, almost as if professing a religious creed,
"Why are we here today?” Kate asked.
“To make revolution,” they answered.
“What kind of revolution?” she replied.
“The Cultural Revolution,” they chanted.
“And how do we make Cultural Revolution?” she demanded.
“By destroying the American family!” they answered.
“How do we destroy the family?” she came back.
“By destroying the American Patriarch,” they cried exuberantly.
“And how do we destroy the American Patriarch?” she replied.
“By taking away his power!”
“How do we do that?”
“By destroying monogamy!” they shouted.
“How can we destroy monogamy?”
“By promoting promiscuity, eroticism, prostitution and homosexuality!” they resounded.
If nothing else, “Mrs. America” is true to form. In one episode, former Ford administration aide Jill Ruckleshaus remarks, “We don’t want the housewives thinking that we’re against them,” to which feminist lawyer Brenda Feigen-Fasteau snaps, “but we ARE against them!”
In typical Hollywood fashion, “Mrs. America” is more left-wing fiction than history. It portrays Phyllis Schlafly, an Illinois housewife who mobilized millions against the proposed ERA, as a cold, distant mother in addition to being a racist, homophobic, right-wing monster in a contentious marriage full of jealousy. In contradistinction, feminist icons like Brenda Feigen-Fasteau, Gloria Steinem, and others are portrayed as progressive heroines and doting mothers, even as Feigen-Fasteau admits a lesbian affair to her husband in episode 5 after making love to him. How progressive and enlightened!
The media class has seized on “Mrs. America” as an opportunity to slander Schlafly and blame her for everything they view as wrong with America today, up to and including the election of Donald Trump. In a Washington Post column, Max Boot slanders Schlafly as a fearmonger and a racist that played loose with the facts and was the forerunner of Trumpian politics. In truth, Schlafly was an honest debater, and her foes were the ones who played fast and loose with the facts. In real life, Schlafly was ever the happy warrior, concerned that the ERA would overturn ALL abortion restrictions, require women to register for the draft, and eviscerate protections for homemakers in divorce proceedings. A devout Catholic and doting mother, Phyllis Schlafly’s advocacy was motivated by love for her six children and for her nation.
In the almost 50 years since Phyllis Schlafly mobilized the silent majority against Kate Millett and her feminist soldiers, little has changed. During the contentious confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh, I happened to stumble upon a feminist rally against Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill where the speakers inveighed against “white women who hide behind and vote to protect their husband’s white male privilege and allow men like Donald Trump and Brett Kavanaugh to access the reins of power.” That my homemaker wife and I were white supremacists came as news to me. Yet, as Stephen Baskerville notes in his book, The New Politics of Sex, Kate Millett and her soldiers have succeeded wildly in spreading government control into every aspect of life through sexual Marxism, putting their stamp on the sex education of America’s schoolchildren through the normalization of sexual practices most American adults would find perverse, let alone suitable for children.
Yet, among the carnage are signs of hope. Over the past four years, radical feminists have raged against their perceived “traitors,” berating suburban women for Trump’s election, pro-life laws, and the decline in the number of women who describe themselves as feminists. Moreover, research shows increasing numbers of millennial women choose to stay at home to mother their children, millennials are embracing traditional views on relationships, and the happiest marriages are those between a man and a woman committed for life.
Perhaps, as former Cosmopolitan writer Sue Ellen Browder confessed, the radical feminist vision is a fictional illusion and a fabricated lie. A feminized version of Hugh Hefner’s Playboy lifestyle, epitomized by the “Cosmo girl”, is as unrealistic as the male counterpart. No one finds happiness in a “who needs men?” mindset of sleeping with your married boss, having multiple abortions, and getting the next promotion, as Browder admitted was the very ideal Cosmopolitan promulgated to proselytize a nation when she was a writer for the magazine. Despite Hollywood’s best efforts, there’s no greater truth than lived experience, which is why 50 years after Phyllis Schlafly awakened a movement, many women agree—through experience—that Mrs. America was also “Mrs. Right.“