In Mrs. America’s Episode Five, blatant deceit reigns amid the Fasteau debate. The episode focuses on the Feigen-Fasteau couple whose marriage is the “ideal” according to feminist standards. In the sensationalized Hollywood depiction, the “unbalanced” Schlafly marriage finds itself up against this “iconic” couple because of Phyllis’s alleged fear of Brenda Feigen-Fasteau’s law degree.
The main event of this episode is the historic Feigen-Fasteau debate. The entire debate is mimicked almost identically down to the set-up, clothes, and makeup, but the script itself is almost entirely fabricated. Immediately, Phyllis fires on the television with brash and unfounded claims against the Equal Rights Amendment. Brenda Fasteau, falsely portrayed as confident and word-savvy, calls Phyllis a liar. Hollywood screenwriters have Phyllis invent a court case that never happened. On live television, Phyllis is called out as a liar and “lobbyist for businessmen.” A victory for the feminists and ERA? Think again.
This debate was entirely rewritten. Real footage displays that the liar was Brenda Fasteau and the wordsmiths were indeed the strong Schlafly couple led by Fred Schlafly.
In the real debate, Brenda claimed that, “Many lending institutions count a woman’s income for half of what it is. If she is married and between the ages of 20 and 44 and cannot show that she has been sterilized…that goes for banks and department stores.” Fred Schlafly responded, “Are you saying that they inquire if women are sterilized?” Brenda was clearly lying about this affair.
Fred continued, “Name any place that does that. Give me the name of one institution that does that.” Brenda countered, “There’s a bank in Queens. I’m not going to name it.” At this, the show host stated, “If there is any institution in this country that does that it then becomes a major news event, which if that is the case, I can guarantee you will be a front-page story even on the New York Times.” The best Brenda could muster in response was a very weak, “Please stop.” One would not call these the words of a world-class confidently liberated female barrister.
Rewriting history is the feminists’ only tactic. Phyllis was a strong debater, as was her husband Fred. They supported one another and jointly worked to promote truth in American politics. The big takeaway from this episode is that Phyllis Schlafly was an amazing woman created for a special purpose. Her legacy lives on because she promoted truth, which always trumps Hollywood’s falsities.