Good Girls Revolt, a brand new show available on Amazon Video, features a fictionalised account of a very real story – of women fighting their boss for equal rights.
Meet Patti, Cindy, Jane, and all the other women who work as researchers at News of the Week, the fictional magazine that only hires male reporters, and doesn’t give its female staff the credit they’re due. It’s based on a book by Lynn Povich, which was inspired by very real events. (This article from the Rolling Stone does a good job at unpicking fact from fiction, in case you’re interested.) It’s the end of the 1960’s, a time of free love, short skirts, and women’s liberation. Oral contraception became available (but not to all women), Black Sabbath were considered new and edgy, and second-wave feminists marched in the streets, demanding equality.
In Good Girls Revolt, the women are sick of being treated differently to their male colleagues. They not only want to write, but they also want recognition. They decide to file a lawsuit against News of the Week, supported and encouraged by American Civil Liberties Union attorney Eleanor Holmes Norton (one fierce woman), despite the backlash they might face. They work in secret, behind the scenes, desperate not to get fired. These women are brave, and strong, and it filled me with feminist delight to see them do their thing.
There’s nudity and sex aplenty, but, for once, it’s given to us without the male gaze. We see Cindy learning about pleasure, and how to masturbate. We see Patti engaging in casual sex. We see Jane, who intended to save herself for marriage. We see all these women, liberating themselves. Women are still shamed for their sexuality today, their casual relationships. They’re blamed for their own rape and sexual assault. We’re still ashamed to admit we masturbate, or watch porn, or show our partner what we really like. As Patti says, sexual liberation is just one small part of it, but fuck, isn’t it empowering?
The show has only been out for a few days, but I am already sick to death of seeing Good Girls Revolt being compared to Mad Men. As Erin Darke (Cindy) said to Mashable recently:
“The central voice of Mad Men was Don Draper, a very masculine and pretty messed up voice,” Darke said. “And one of the things I love about this show is it’s not only a feminine voice, it’s intelligent, compassionate, feminist voice.”
Which hits it on the head rather nicely, I think. These girls band together for a common cause. They’re angry and they’re strong, they’re confident and they’re scared. But, even though this particular case might be fictionalised, women really did this. They took on the men in their lives, the people and institutions smothering them, so that they – so that we – could have more opportunities, equality. This rather poor review in The Guardian says that Good Girls Revolt will make you angry, almost like it’s a bad thing. We need more women to get angry, to decide that enough is enough. To stand against the Donald Trumps and Brock Turners of the world; to put an end to victim-blaming and FGM; to stand in solidarity across the world, and to change things for all women, everywhere.
Good Girls Revolt might be set in the ’60s, but it’s still, sadly, very relevant today. It comes at a poignant time, when a misogynist is running for President of the US, when rape culture is thriving, when women still aren’t paid the same as men. A time when, just last year, I handed over my deposit for the house we’re currently renting, and the letting agent put it in my now-husband’s name, despite it being transferred from my account. When questioned, she replied, ‘Oh, I don’t know, I just always do that’. Indeed.
Good Girls Revolt is relevant and feminist AF. How many of us can identify with Patti, Cindy and Jane? How many of us has experienced workplace sexism (however subtle), sexual harassment, male violence? How many of us still find ourselves talked over and put down, not just by men, but by society in general? How many of us are still told to sit down, be quiet, haven’t you got anything better to do? Well, for me, there’s little better than fighting for women’s rights. Than standing up and speaking out. Than standing with my sisters and saying, this isn’t right. It’s powerful; it’s empowering. And so is Good Girls Revolt.
Watch season 1 of Good Girls Revolt on Amazon Video now.