I’ve just finished watching the first series of Good Girls Revolt and I’ve fallen in love with it.
Based on the book The Good Girls Revolt by Lynn Povich – which also spawned a TV series – the show is based around the newsroom politics of fictional magazine ‘News of the Week’ in late 1969 New York.
It tells the story of the real case involving 46 women working at Newsweek magazine, Lynn Povich among them, after they announced they’d filed an EEOC complaint charging their employer with “systematic discrimination” against them in hiring and promotion.
It feels so vibrant and so relevant, now, today, despite being set against the backdrop of the Vietnam war, the civil right’s movement in America and second-wave Feminism. It’s relevant because of those things.
I love the real stories – the history of our time – that cut through each episode, anchoring it to reality and forming the canvas for the stars of the show: Patty, Jane, and Cindy. I love Patty’s spirit and boho fashion sense the best, but Cindy’s personal transformation is my favourite as her eyes are opened to the world: what is possible, what she wants – and what she doesn’t want.
Nora Ephron makes an appearance early on, quitting the magazine after she’s told her story can’t run because “that’s just not how we do things around here…girls don’t write”.
A stand-off ensues as she challenges her boss and everyone stops to stare.
“If copy’s good, it’s good…you just said my rewrite hit the bullseye. That was your word.”
Meanwhile, the fashion is fantastic: vintage prints and patent bags, suede boots and prim brooches pinned straight onto shift dresses and knitted cardigans – no waiting around for a jacket. And I loved the soundtrack.
But just as I sat down to write this, I’m heartbroken to discover that Good Girls Revolt has been officially cancelled by Amazon.
It feels ironic considering the final words of the season from researcher Jane as she asks for the ‘opportunity’ to write and be recognised for her writing, under her own name.
It should be a basic courtesy for work well done, words well-written. It should not be so difficult to achieve. It should not require a lawsuit.
Jane argues that without the extremely hard work and insight of the female researchers, the quality and therefore the success of the magazine would not be possible. And she’s right. They know she’s right. And that’s where the story ends: I need to see more.
(And for what it’s worth, I thought Good Girls Revolt was way better than Mad Men. Yes. I’m saying it. And I’m owning my words.)
Watching Good Girls Revolt gave me ideas.
Watching Good Girls Revolt made me want to write.
Watching Good Girls Revolt made me want to write on my typewriter.
Watching Good Girls Revolt made me want to write about the things I feel passionate about.
Watching Good Girls Revolt made me think of New York.
Watching Good Girls Revolt made me want to be in New York.
Watching Good Girls Revolt made me want to dress up.
Watching Good Girls Revolt made me want to go vintage clothes shopping.
Watching Good Girls Revolt was a reminder of important historical events.
Watching Good Girls Revolt was a reminder that we all need to stand up and speak out about the things we believe in.
Lynn Povich was eventually appointed the first woman Senior Editor in Newsweek’s history – five years after the landmark sex discrimination suit was originally filed. But will there be a happy postscript for the show?
Suddenly it feels like more is at stake than just a TV show. It feels serious, political and about having a voice and being heard.
I’ll end with an on-point quote from Vogue.com:
Here’s hoping all of this backlash results in a second life for Good Girls Revolt – not least because it would be such a twisted, ironic end to 2016 for a timely, feminist, women-led show to get snuffed out by, yep, one guy.