Minx Is a Witty Treatise on Early Feminism

Minx. Now available on HBO Max

In the second episode HBO Max’s hilarious, funny, and charming new comedy, there’s an entire scene. MinxThat sums it all. The fiery young women’s librarian (as they were called in 1971), sums up what the show is all about. Minx is set) Joyce is complaining to her matronly older sister Shelly that the male publisher of her new feminist magazine is selling ads to dildo retailers. “What a woman really wants is sex toy?” Joyce insists, even though she is furious rhetorically. I don’t know of any women who use them. Shelly looks at her and then quietly says, “Yes.”

Minx, though it’s too breezily funny and sweetly affectionate toward its characters to truly be fiercely ideological, is indeed a witty treatise on liberating early feminism from its frigid Victorian conviction that gender equality and sexual desire are incompatible—that, indeed, freeing women from the frumpy societal compulsion to pretend they aren’t interested in sex may be the most fundamental liberation of all.

MinxBritish actress Ophelia Lovibond is best known for playing the role of a Sherlock Holmes protege in the CBS series. Elementary) as Joyce Prigger, a prim but passionate young Vassar grad who spends her nights dreaming about creating a glossy feminist journal that she wants to call The Matriarch Awakes. Unfortunately, her days are spent calling subscribers to the unfeminist magazine and selling them subscriptions. Teen Queen. Publishers are mostly white men who don’t understand what she means at a moment when even milder magazines can get confused. Ms.This was one year into the future.

And then she meets Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson), while attending a publishing seminar. The New Girl(whose magazine stable includes titles such as Chesty Chicanas Lusty LesbosAnd whose desire to explore less wild and fleshy avenues does not excite her. He tells her, “I am looking for a new kind of publisher.”

“What’s that?” Doug asks. Doug, puzzled asks.

Joyce snapped, “The one who doesn’t fetishize breastfeeding mothers.”

Nonetheless, Doug’s more redeeming qualities—chiefly, the cash to cover startup costs—gets Joyce onboard, at least until she hears his take-it-or-leave-it demand: Her written content can stand as she imagines it, but each issue must have a full-frontal male centerfold. The scandalized refusal of Joyce is met by her own rhetoric. Joyce claims her idea is about “making shit fair and equal for the chicks,” Doug notes. Doug asks, “How fair is it that a guy can go to 12 different places for titties and a girl has one place to visit a dong?”

Joyce says that gals don’t like to see dongs. However, Joyce says that they do want to be able to “see dongs”. Cosmopolitan‘s one-shot centerfold of a bare, if strategically obscured, Burt Reynolds sells half a million copies, she reluctantly changes her mind.

What follows is a wonderfully demented editorial tug-of-war between the starchy Joyce and a production staff that doesn’t entirely understand her theories on “the ideology of erections” (“Should they be approachable…draped gently on their sides?”) However, she has learned from personal experience that the point at which centerfolds can be a problem is pure prurience. When Joyce wants to screen potential models by reading them selections from Anais Nin and reacts with horror to the idea of them showing their stuff, a curious editor jokingly asks if she’s ever seen a penis. “I’ve seen two…and a half…in very dim lighting,” Joyce whispers back.

The secret to success MinxIt is so charming that the mini-culture wars are conducted with almost no spitefulness or contempt. Joyce and Doug may say some stupid things, but they don’t mean to offend. Johnson and Lovibond skillfully present their characters as good-willed people navigating unfamiliar terrain. Joyce has some unexamined beliefs about race, class and gender, which she reveals when she asks Doug his chief advisor to make her tea. (The cold reply: “I am not the secretary. It’s just me. It extends down to the small characters of photographers and paste up artists. They aren’t sure where Joyce is heading but they are willing to follow her for the pure adventure.

Also, it should be mentioned that Minx is almost certainly the most penis-friendly show in television history, though HBO’s teen-boinkfest Euphoria is providing some stiff (heh heh) competition. Ellen Rapoport, writer and creator of the (Hollywood Experiment with Wannabe(or screenplays that are otherwise precise-footed). Rapoport’s sharp humor is unmatched. She has Joyce singing Helen Reddy’s feminist song, and you don’t get mad. Woman, I am YouThe record was first released on car radios a whole year prior. Still singing as she gets out of the car, Joyce belts out the next-to-final lines—”I am strong, I am invincible!”—as she enters the magazine office for the first time, where she sees the newsroom is an anthill of nude models and sexual paraphernalia. And her voice drops to a whisper: “I’m in Gomorrah…”