The sixth episode of HBO Max’s comedy series ‘Minx’ begins with Doug and Joyce discussing the need for an incredible second issue of Minx to boost the popularity of the magazine. After the discussion, Joyce runs to Glenn to use his contacts to find a renowned writer for requesting a feature or an interview for her magazine. Glenn suggests meeting Wendy Mah, who rose to fame with her feminist-erotic novel “Aphrodisia.” Joyce’s encounter with Wendy leads the former to understand more about the nature of the feminist movements around her. Since Wendy is a pivotal part of the episode’s narrative and its historical context, we have found out whether the character has real-life origins. Let us share our findings!
Is Wendy Mah a Real Writer? Is Aphrodisia a Real Book?
No, Wendy Mah is not a real writer, and “Aphrodisia” is not a real book. The character and the book she wrote are fictional, conceived for the narrative of the show. However, Wendy Mah resembles numerous erotic writers of the 1970s, who were a prominent presence in American culture of the time. When the second wave of feminism set the stage for the expression of women’s feelings and sexuality, several women writers started to bring drastic changes to the erotic genre. Novels and non-fictional accounts, which explored female sexuality and desires, got published to challenge the taboo regarding sex and desire.
The publication of Joan (Terry) Garrity’s ‘The Sensuous Man’ in 1971, under the pseudonym “M,” and Alex Comfort’s ‘The Joy of Sex’ in 1972 revolutionized the way women’s sexuality was seen and approached in the 1970s. The reception of these books likely encouraged several women writers of the time to explore the dimensions of female sexuality, which was further discussed as part of second-wave feminist movements. Wendy’s publication of Aphrodisia happens around the same time in the show. Her book, like the erotic books by these women writers, brings a discussion about sexuality through the lenses of feminism.
The acceptance of Aphrodisia as an instigator of feminist discourse can be related to the reception of Erica Jong’s novel ‘Fear of Flying’ in the early 1970s. However, creator Ellen Rapoport and her writers do not celebrate Wendy outrightly. In the show, the character represents a group of feminists whose beliefs and ideals are unrealistic and impractical in the society they live in. When Joyce tries to communicate with the women around her through her understandable and polished articles, Wendy and her group act as the torchbearers of feminism without bringing any acknowledgeable change in society.
As a character, Wendy is multi-dimensional. She represents the positive change of the feminist movements of the 1970s, which imparted courage to women writers to write freely about sexuality and womanhood. On the other hand, Wendy is also a feminist for the sake of being one. She isn’t concerned about the betterment of her fellow women like Joyce is. Through the character, Rapoport succeeds in portraying that the feminist activities and discourses of the 1970s weren’t entirely perfect and ideal.
Joyce and Wendy are the two sides of the same coin. They both communicate with women around them but their concerns and the results are different. While Wendy uses notions of feminism to build her image, Joyce uses the same to empower herself and her fellow women.
Read More: Is Minx Based on a True Story?