‘Minx’ Is A ’70s Romp Reminding Women That Horniness And Feminism Go Hand In Hand
There's much more to the show than the minute-long parade of penises.
HBO’s latest limited series Minx might have everyone furiously discussing its minute-long parade of penises, but that’s not the only reason it’s worth a watch. The series is a love letter to the destigmatisation of women’s desire in early ’70s feminism.
Set in sleazy ’70s LA, the series follows plucky prudish Joyce and her dream to publish a feminist magazine for women, ‘The Matriarchy Awakens’. But the only man willing to publish Joyce’s empowering zine is porno magazine mogul, Doug. When they compromise by agreeing to “hide the pill in the peanut butter” by creating the first erotic magazine for women, that’s when Minx get groovy.
Starring Ophelia Lovibond as Joyce and New Girl‘s Jake Johnson as Doug (both of whom absolutely WORK the ’70s fashion btw), the pair have glorious comedic chemistry right off the bat, thanks to the series’ larger conflict surrounding social perceptions of women’s sexuality. For all Joyce’s fierce feminism, the world of pornography, promiscuity and general sex-positivity eludes her. “Women don’t want to see dongs,” she insists when Doug pitches sandwiching her feminist content between male centrefolds. He grins, “Oh yes they do,” he says, and he’s right.
At the end of Minx‘s first episode, the fervour around Burt Reynolds’ 1972 iconic bearskin rug centrefold proves Joyce’s personal feelings about women’s sexual desire aren’t universal. The series sets Joyce up for a personal journey where she learns her own desires and her feminism don’t have to be compartmentalised.
Equally, Jake Johnson’s Doug has a thing or two to learn about making erotic content for women. It’s not just about swapping boobs for balls, but about providing a destigmatised space for women to freely express their desires in a time when women’s promiscuity is frowned on. As Joyce and Doug try to hit up cigarette and sex toy advertisers for the zine in episode two, Joyce reminds him, “we gotta lure them in with pantihose and perfume — things that make them feel safe”.
All this conflict comes to a comedic head in the first episode’s headline-grabbing montage of nude male models auditioning for the magazine’s centrefold. It’s a scene presented professionally with both men and women, including Doug and Joyce, vetting a diverse array of dongs to be featured in the zine. “Oh, short fatty, that’s a fun combo,” photographer Richie compliments the first model, snapping a pic. Each one is on full display with flare and dignity, not for shock value as much as the intention to shed the notion that there’s a right way for a penis to look
The promiscuity of Minx might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you love a ’70s flare and being reminded that embracing being horny is as much a part of feminism as fighting for civil rights, you can check it out on Stan.