Why I liked Minx better than Barbie

Adam Hughes
3 min readMar 1, 2024

One is subtle and one is shouty

Created and written by Ellen Rapoport, the series Minx explores the intersection of feminism and patriarchy in the 1970’s. The show centers around the character of Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond), who has ambitions of publishing her feminist magazine “The Matriarchy Awakens”. Due to its radical feminist agenda though, no one wants to publish it.

Out of desperation, Joyce teams up with porno magazine publisher Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson), who with unique vision takes The Matriarchy Awakens and rebrands it as “Minx”. This new creation becomes a mix of feminist articles on topics such as contraception and marital rape alongside full-spread centerfolds of well-endowed male models.

The comedy series subtly touches on many serious topics, such as female roles in the workplace, the pay gap, female sexual empowerment, consent, fidelity, race, social status, and privilege.

My favorite quote of the series comes early in the very first episode when Doug realizes that some of the female centerfolds from his other publication had read a copy of the Matriarchy Awakens and couldn’t stop talking about the articles. Doug suggests to Joyce that the Matriarchy Awakens might be able to find an audience and be a commercial success, but not without a major revamp. Doug offers a small piece of wisdom to Joyce with the line “You got to hide the medicine. It’s like when you give a pill to a dog you dip it in peanut butter first. So my question is, what’s your peanut butter?”

For Minx, the peanut butter is male nudity and female sexual empowerment.

Just as the fictional magazine Minx hides its feminist agenda in a mixture of glistening male muscles and long dongs, so too does the Starz series Minx hide its feminist agenda in a mixture of comedy, non-sexual nudity, and feel-good story lines.

The end result is a delightful storyline of pertinent feminist topics intertwined with the very real realities of working in a male-centric society.

Fair warning, Minx has a good amount of male and female nudity. To my knowledge though, no other series is so even handed with it’s ratio of male to female nudity.

Minx excels at demonstrating that one component of the women’s liberation movement was the sexual revolution. Joyce Prigger is at first repulsed by the idea that her feminist manifesto magazine would by sullied with male nudity. She quickly realizes though, that affording women the ability to enjoy and embrace their sexuality is subversive in and of itself. It’s ok for a female to gaze, and it’s ok for a feminist to be sex-positive.

Minx provides a counterbalance to 2023 hits such as The Idol and Barbie. The former generally received negative reviews for its over-the-top misogyny and on-screen sexual exploitation of its main character. The latter received near universal positive reviews, despite being a disjointed and shouty take on modern day feminism.

Astute girls as young as 11 have observed that the Barbie movie treats Ken as a second class citizen, with no character development, who ends the movie in the same status as he began with no personality and no home of his own. It’s not lost on me that Ken’s status is a message regarding women’s frustration with the lack of progress on women’s rights. But what a missed opportunity, that the Barbie movie couldn’t have elevated both genders in the storyline, and shown that neither gender is superior and that Ken’s self-actualization was just as important as Barbie’s.

Perhaps one missing element of feminism and the anti-patriarchy movement is the realization that patriarchy hurts both men and women. Lifting one gender’s status without any thought of how the opposite gender will fare is not egalitarian or good policy. We need both genders to be fully actualized if we are to thrive as a society, and I didn’t get that from Barbie.

Call me an idealist and a romantic, but I think men and women are better when they work together. Such is the business union of Joyce Prigger and Doug Renetti in Minx, who create a feminist revolution by joining forces to publish an unconventional magazine. A magazine which neither would have come up with on their own.

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Adam Hughes

Esthete and wannabe vagabond. A dreamer with a day job.