FX Network’s Episode Two of Mrs. America opens up fiercely against Phyllis Schlafly. She is shown as insecure, dishonest, and desiring personal success. Hollywood portrays her as despising the success of others, feminist and anti-feminist alike.
In reality, Phyllis praised Ann Patterson for beating the Equal Rights Amendment in Oklahoma, sending her $200 to be used, “to make telephone calls to our Eagles in other states and tell them how you did it.” As usual, Phyllis was promoting the voices of women, which an opportunist would abhor.
Hollywood further portrays Phyllis as an opportunist with talk show host Phil Donahue accusing Phyllis backstage of inventing, “the elimination of separate bathrooms.” Phyllis predicted this years ago, but conservatives witness and engage in the fight against joint bathrooms today.
The miniseries uses Phyllis’s attire from the Phil Donahue show in 1974 misplacing it in 1971. This is evidence that Hollywood is selectively choosing factual information. Phyllis was first on the Phil Donahue show April 18, 1972. She wrote, “The invitation had been extended to me because of the persistence of one of the subscribers to the Phyllis Schlafly Report, Irma Donnellon, who had repeatedly sent the newsletter to the Donahue show demanding that I be invited to appear and counter some of the many women’s liberationists he had had on the program.”
In Episode Two, Schlafly’s stance against the ERA in Illinois incites Steinem, “So they’ve finally found the best smokescreen for their chauvinism–women.” Hollywood insinuates that male chauvinism is the issue, but the real chauvinism belongs to Hollywood and the feminists.
Steinem continues, “These housewives are the last gasp of the patriarchy, brainwashed to believe that if they don’t play the game, they will lose the love and protection of men.”
Hollywood’s dialogue portrays Phyllis as an opportunist, housewives as brainwashed, and feminists as having all the fun. The facts speak for themselves. Real brainwashing comes from those who rewrite history to control people’s thinking.
Bella Abzug states, “The problem is they’re [housewives] not staying in the kitchen. They’re bringing bread to the legislature.” Chauvinistic, controlling, and true, this statement encompasses Hollywood’s agenda. Feminists and Hollywood are chauvinistic against men and women. The real chauvinism in Mrs. America resides within the invented storyline. Hollywood’s fake facts and dialogue inhibit free-thinking about Phyllis Schlafly and the ERA.