Minx, inspired by feminist magazines from the 1970s such as Playgirl, Cosmopolitan and Viva, lands in the rarely explored sub-genre of “feminist porn comedy”. The Lionsgate Play series is set at a time of second-wave feminism, when women came out strongly out to demand equal rights and take ownership of their sexuality. Some feminist publications published thoughtful articles about important issues such as contraception and marital rape around images of nude men.

The 10-episode Minx, created by Ellen Rapoport, is centred around the titular magazine in Los Angeles and its idealistic founding editor, Joyce Prigger (Ophelia Lovibond). As a feminist, the Gloria Steinem-worshipping Joyce aspires to publish her dream magazine titled The Matriarchy Awakens. Composite characters in Minx such as Wendy Mah (Alicia Hannah-Kim) and Victoria Harnett (Hope Davis) represent feminist writers and icons of the time.

When all other doors are closed to Joyce by smug male publishers, a chance encounter with Doug Renetti (Jake Johnson) offers Joyce an opportunity she wants to refuse but cannot. Doug is the maverick proprietor of Bottom Dollar Publications, infamous for adult content magazines.

Doug rebrands Minx into erotica aimed at women. With naivete and passion pitted against patriarchal control and commercial motives, Joyce and Doug are constantly at odds. He wants her to make serious writing more palatable and accessible to a larger readership. She pushes back against his dumbed-down ideas, trying to maintain her integrity and a female gaze. The magazine lands somewhere in between and soon becomes a title that cannot be ignored.

Minx (2022).

Rapoport isn’t entirely reverential when it comes to feminist icons. She portrays their elitism and contrasts their specific intellectual stance with what appeals to a suburban American housewife, represented by Joyce’s sister Shelly (Lennon Parham). The relationship between the sisters, which goes against stereotypes, is among the most enjoyable elements of Minx.

Rapoport subverts other character stereotypes, including the topless model Bambi (Jessica Lowe), who is no bimbo, and Doug’s relationship with his assistant Tina (Idara Victor). Another rich layer is the symbiotic relationship and collaboration between the feminists and pornographers in the Bottom Dollar office.

The world-building and set-up are among the strong suits of a show that blends feminism into a pornography backdrop while also celebrating the 1970s. Johnson delivers an energetic performance as the slightly disheveled but resolute Doug. While Lovibond matches up to her sparring partner with a gloves-off response, Joyce remains unclear and yet stubborn. For all the show’s bold imagery of men and women in the nude, the fun and wit, and Lovibond’s bouncy performance, Joyce is the one character who doesn’t shed her skin.