Mrs America: Gloria Steinem reveals SHOCKING true story behind drama

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July 22, 2020 – 20:32 BST

Francesca Shillcock

The feminist icon, who is portrayed in the drama, spoke out about the TV show that retells the story behind the Equal Rights Act…

Mrs America on BBC has got TV lovers talking for plenty of reasons including its all-star cast, fascinating plot and significant historical context. The nine-part series is a dramatization of the political movement to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in the 1970s, with a particular focus on Phyllis Schlafly a controversial conservative lawyer who campaigned against the Amendment. But it seems that not everyone has been impressed with the show.

MORE: Meet the cast of new BBC drama Mrs America

WATCH: Mrs America on BBC – Official Trailer

Gloria Steinem, who is of the most recognisable and significant figures in the feminist movement in the sixties and seventies and is portrayed in the drama by Bridesmaids actress Rose Byrne, expressed her dislike for the show and criticised its accuracy during a recent interview. She even set the record straight a number of issues surrounding the bill.

MORE: Fans all saying the same thing about new drama Mrs America

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Gloria was a key figure in the 1970s feminist movement

The feminist icon was speaking to fellow writer Laura Bates for the Hay Festival podcast back in May when she expressed her dislike for the show, which had just premiered on Hulu in the US, branding the show “ridiculous.” She explained: “There’s now a not very good series here [on Hulu] called Mrs America and it gives you the impression that a woman named Phyllis Schlafly, who was a very religious and rightwing woman who opposed the equal rights amendment […] was the reason it was defeated. In actuality, I don’t believe she changed one vote, nobody could ever discover that she changed even one vote.”

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Rose Byrne as Gloria in Hulu and BBC’s Mrs America

The writer and activist, 86, was also keen to stress that, contrary to the show, the “vast majority” of people supported the ERA. She went on: “The series makes it seem as if women are our own worst enemies, which keeps us from recognising who our worst enemies are. Not that we aren’t in conflict, yes we are in conflict, but by and large we don’t have the power to be our own worst enemies.

“That’s the problem with this ridiculous television show. I’m sure the actors in it are fine, it’s just the thrust of the story is the problem.” Like most TV series, even if the story behind the show is based on true-to-life events, the script, characters and plot lines have been given a spruce for dramatic effect and for the viewers’ pleasure. At the beginning of each episode, viewers are reminded that some characters, scenes and plotlines have been written to enhance the show.

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