With an incredible cast that included Cate Blanchett, and a relevant, factual plot, Mrs.America has a lot to offer. Including amazing quotes!
Mrs. America is a miniseries, based on the Feminist movement and the anti-Feminist movements of the 70s revolving around the Equal Rights Amendment Act. The show received critical acclaim for its performances, production value, and the presentation of the complicated plot. The show boasts of an excellent ensemble cast with Cate Blanchett, Rose Byrne, Uzo Aduba, Elizabeth Banks, Margo Martindale, Tracey Ullman, Sarah Paulson, and more.
With mostly factual elements and a tinge of fiction, Mrs. America brings to life the thriving political atmosphere of the 70s. It weaves in the many threads, the many complexities, and is a must-watch. Here are some of the best quotes from the show.
“If Men Could Get Pregnant, Abortion Would Be A Sacrament.”
This cheeky statement was made by a Taxi driver originally but is used by Gloria Steinem. It sort of shows Steinem’s style of argumentation. Viewers will see how she tries to appeal to the conscience of the powerful men around her to try to get them to understand how different things would be if it were men in the shoes of women.
In the conversation between Steinem and Flo, viewers get to witness Flo suggest putting a pregnant Nixon on the next cover of their magazine as well to prove their point.
“Oh Well, What Do I Care If It’s “Schafly” Or “Schlafly”? It’s Not Like I’m Ever Gonna Say That F-Ing Woman’s Name Again.”
In the list of statements that haven’t aged well, this particular one made by Betty Frieden is probably the most amusing one. After their initial victory in the Senate, the women of the Feminist movement celebrate the passing of the ERA. When they hear about Phyllis Schlafly, they move past her as though she’s someone who they don’t need to worry about.
In doing so, they vastly underestimate a person who was extremely powerful in making sure the ERA doesn’t get ratified and also managed to polarize the right and the left to extents that hadn’t been the case before then.
“Oh, They Finally Found The Best Smoke Screen For Their Chauvinism. Women.”
Gloria Steinem is frustrated alongside the others when they find out that many changed their votes in Illinois against them simply because of some bread and jam. Phyllis was able to organize the housewives and bring them in large numbers.
They distributed bread and jam with the tag saying “From the breadmaker to the breadwinners.” While viewers later find out there may be other reasons that the vote went in their favor, this change in attitude showed how men were easily taken with some praise and ego-boosting and didn’t genuinely believe in the equality of women.
“I Didn’t Get Anywhere In My Life Waiting On Somebody’s Permission.”
Shirley Chisholm is remembered in history for being the first serious Presidential candidate who was Black and a woman. The fault lines in the Feminist movement became clear during the argument when Shirley says this line. Shirley is disappointed that the Feminist movement doesn’t throw its support behind her, but instead is getting ready to support another white male candidate.
When she makes her displeasure known, Betty replies back that she hoped that Shirley would have come to them before she made her announcements. The hypocrisy and blindness of the Feminist movement become very evident in scenes like this.
“But If You’re Talking About Women Becoming A Political Force To Be Reckoned With, You Have To Decide Whether Or Not You’re Going To Go With The Candidate Who Cares About Women’s Rights And Will Go With You All The Way Down The Line.”
“Or Whether You’ll Support One Of The Other Candidates Because It Has Been The Traditional Thing To Do.” This full quote is essential to understand the frustrating nature of politics of the time. This is from the speech that Shirley gives hoping that the Feminist movement would support her.
It talks about how her run for Presidency became only symbolic, and couldn’t become an actual political force because the women she trusted to support her didn’t. It’s quite a disappointing moment for viewers to witness the frustrating nature of politics and representation.
“Because I Have Two Sons, And I Don’t Want Them Killed In War Any More Than My Daughters.”
With this statement, Betty Frieden eviscerates Phyllis Schlafly’s argument. One of Phyllis’ favorite talking points is about how the ERA will lead to girls being drafted for the war. Betty, in the debate, counters most of the illogical points that Phyllis makes.
But with this statement, she takes it a step ahead to point out the larger and more fundamental issues with the draft and with war. This debate ends on a very sad note, but seeing Betty in her element before that will be a glorious sight for viewers.
“Billy Likes To Say That We Educate Men And Women Through College To Be Precisely Equal, But Then The Men Go Off To Do Interesting Things.”
Elizabeth Banks’ portrayal of Jill is wonderful. She captures the amiable quality that sets her apart from the other Feminist leaders who are rougher around the edges. And the clear difference shows in the ways in which Betty and Jill approach Phyllis. While Betty tries to do so at a public debate, Jill talks to her as though she’s a friend.
She tries to appeal to Phyllis’ better senses by showing how they are both quite similar in their families, and their political beliefs. She tries to use Phyllis’ own inability to get ahead in the defense field, despite being an expert on the subject, to do the same.
“You Wanna Get Ahead Climbing On The Shoulders Of Men, Phyllis, Fine. Just Know They’re Looking Right Up Your Skirt.”
In a close-up shot, Banks’ delivers this line and it is a very poignant moment. Someone as amiable as Jill cannot believe the cruelty of Phyllis’ statements when she says that the secretaries who are getting harassed were “asking for it.” Jill completely looses her cool when she tries to point out the hypocrisy and the terrible condition for women in Washington and politics.
She completely sees through Phyllis’s plans to get ahead politically by being the only woman in a room that mattered, and Jill tells her how they’ll never take her seriously.
“She Might Be One Of The Most Liberated Women In America.”
Bella Abzug is a prolific public speaker. But even in this short monologue that she delivers to the three housewives, viewers can see the quality of her argument. She calls Phyllis’ a Feminist, which surprises the three of them. She goes on to prove how Phyllis had turned these housewives into working women without them even realizing it.
Through this wonderful monologue, Betty tries to make these housewives understand how they were essentially on the same side, and how they actually weren’t as radically different as Phyllis’ tried to scare them into believing.
“Revolutions Are Messy. People Get Left Behind.”
Betty and Jill are on the same side of the argument here when they agree that they need to change their wordings, change their rhetoric so as to not antagonize housewives. But Brenda and Gloria completely disagree with them saying that they were not on the same side.
They were opposing the housewives who believe in completely different things than them and push for their beliefs to become the norm. In one of the most iconic lines of the show, this line shows where they succeeded and where they lost.
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