Schlafly’s personal formula was to marry rich, employ a housekeeper while proudly touting her housewife credentials, follow her bliss (into enterprises for which she did not require a living wage), and then work to deny equality for all women.
We knew you too well and for too long, hypocrite extraordinaire.
She was a conservative who was against the New Deal, feminism (“Men should stop treating feminists like ladies, and instead treat them like the men they say they want to be.”), an equal rights amendment to the Constitution (“I simply didn’t believe we needed a constitutional amendment to protect women’s rights.”), legalized abortion, laws against the harassment of women in the workplace (“Sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for virtuous women.”), sex education for children in public schools (“Sex-education classes are like in-home sales parties for abortions.”), and the Supreme Court’s ban on teacher-led prayer in public schools (mind you, she only wanted Christian prayer in all children’s schools, of course). She was also against any reduction in the nuclear arsenal of the United States and against any summits that might address nuclear weapons (She called the atom bomb “a marvelous gift that was given to our country by a wise God.”).
During Schlafly’s childhood, her father, a machinist, was laid off at the beginning of the Depression and had trouble ever finding meaningful employment again (which is also when he turned firmly against the New Deal because, you know, logic). Schlafly’s mother, however, held two teaching degrees and permanently supported the family with an impressive array of jobs and other projects. Many feminist critics of Schlafly’s and her dogged opposition to an equal rights amendment believe that her mother’s being forced economically to leave the home and therefore denied the choice of being a full-time homemaker may have led to Schlafly’s fanatic insistence that women belong in the home.
Phyllis Schlafly, however, did not actually spend her life as a typical homemaker any more than her mother had. She completed her bachelor’s degree in three years, by age nineteen, while working nights in a munitions factory. She next received a scholarship to study political science, receiving her master’s in nine months.
I’ll let her New York Times obit pick up the story from there:
Her politics were middle of the road at first. In 1940, she supported the moderate Republican Wendell Willkie in his bid to deny President Franklin D. Roosevelt a third term, and in graduate school she wrote papers supporting an active United Nations. Her ambition was to work for the federal government in Washington.
When no government jobs turned up, she found a spot at a conservative think tank, the American Enterprise Association, the forerunner of the American Enterprise Institute. Educating herself in conservative philosophy, she submitted articles against the New Deal to Redbook and other magazines, but they were rejected.
In 1946, she returned to St. Louis to work on the successful congressional campaign of Claude I. Bakewell, a Republican. After that, she worked as a librarian and researcher at a bank and, at 24, met John Fred Schlafly Jr., a 39-year-old lawyer and politically engaged conservative from an Alton family that had made its money in banking and industry. They were married on Oct. 20, 1949.
At the ceremony, Mrs. Schlafly said, she did not promise to obey, only to cherish. But she delighted in portraying herself as a traditional wife, even as she kept to a hectic pace of travel, writing, speaking and campaigning after her oldest child turned 18 months.
“I want to thank my husband, Fred, for letting me come here” was a favorite opening for speeches. (“I like to say that,” she said, “because I know it irritates women’s libbers more than anything else.”).
Schlafly decided to go to law school, but initially failed to win Master Schlafly’s permission. When her man did eventually agree that she should be allowed another step in her education, she completed law school. In subsequent years, she would run for Congress, write, lecture, campaign, speak over the radio, warn Catholics about the dangers of communism (never mind where the Bible says that Jesus and his disciples “held all things in common”), be a member of the John Birch Society, mastermind the use of direct-mail campaigns to finance right-wing causes, form the Eagle Forum, and spearhead the killing of the ERA:
And in the 1970s, Mrs. Schlafly’s campaign against the Equal Rights Amendment played a large part in its undoing. The amendment would have expanded women’s rights by barring any gender-based distinctions in federal and state laws, and it was within hailing distance of becoming the law of the land: Both houses of Congress had passed it by a vote of more than 90 percent, and 35 state legislatures — only three shy of the number required for adoption — had approved it.
But the amendment lost steam in the late 1970s under pressure from Mrs. Schlafly’s volunteer brigades — mainly women, most of them churchgoing Christians (Mrs. Schlafly was Roman Catholic) and not a few of them lugging apple pies to cajole legislators. Despite an extension of the deadline, the amendment died, on June 30, 1982.
Bizarrely, Schlafly claimed that the only law she knew of that discriminated against women was a North Dakota one requiring a wife to get a husband’s permission to make wine. This was at a time when married women could not open bank accounts without their husbands’ permission, when marital rape was not a crime in most states, etc., ad nauseum. Even more bizarrely, for the group “S.T.O.P. E.R.A.,” the S.T.O.P. stood for “stop taking our privileges” (WTF?).
As many feminists have pointed out, Schlafly’s personal formula was to marry rich, employ a housekeeper while proudly touting her housewife credentials, follow her bliss (into enterprises for which she did not require a living wage), and then work to deny equality for all women – or, as Gail Sheehy put it, “pulling up the rope behind her.”
Schlalfy also openly expressed anti-semitism and racism (surprise).
In the past decade, her son was publicly outed as a homosexual. He, however, insisted that his mother’s friends, like Pat Robertson, and other “family values people” are not anti-gay. As for his mother, speaking out against gay equality, she has complained that the law has gone too far and is trying to make people “like what gays are doing.” How mother and son reconciled these things, I can’t imagine.
This year, Schlafly, still with Eagle Forum, supported Donald Trump for president. Her daughter and the rest of the E.F. nucleus, however, supported Ted Cruz, leading the elder Schlafly to request the resignations of the Cruz supporters, including her own daughter.
Homosexual son. Daughter asked to resign from the Eagle Forum. Gee, it’s almost enough to make me wish they could have had one more family Christmas together…nah, come to think of it, not really.
A few more real jaw-dropping quotes:
Blaming the Violence Against Women Act for broken marriages:
“When marriages are broken by false allegations of domestic violence, U.S. taxpayers fork up an estimated $20 billion a year to support the resulting single-parent, welfare-dependent families.” – Schlafly, Feb. 2011.
What feminism means:
“And the first commandment of feminism is: I am woman; thou shalt not tolerate strange gods who assert that women have capabilities or often choose roles that are different from men’s.” – Schlafly, “Feminists On The Warpath Get Their Man, Feb. 2005.
Sexual harassment isn’t a big deal:
“Non-criminal sexual harassment on the job is not a problem for the virtuous woman except in the rarest of cases.” -Schlafly before the United States Senate, 1981.
Men are victims in higher ed:
“It’s really dangerous for a guy to go to college these days. He’s better off if he doesn’t talk to any women when he gets there. The feminists are perfectly glad to make false accusations and then claim all men are capable of some dastardly deed like rape.” – Schlafly, “Hatred of Men Gave Rise to UVA Rape Story,” Dec. 2014.
Married women can’t be raped:
“By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.” – “Schlafly cranks up agitation at Bates” Sun Journal, 2007.
ERA will equal gay rights:
“ERA means abortion funding, means homosexual privileges, means whatever else.” – Schlafly, “A new version of the ERA”. CNN, 1999.
Women in the military:
“Every country that has experimented with women in actual combat has abandoned the idea, and the notion that Israel uses women in combat is a feminist myth.” – Schlafly, “Women Don’t Belong In Ground Combat,” June, 2005.
The War on Men:
“There is a war on men, and [feminists] are very open about it. They don’t conceal it; they brag about it. You read all of their material – they’re always saying they want to abolish the patriarchy. They said that husbands are not necessary in a marriage, they’re not necessary in raising children.” – Schlafly, “Hatred of Men Gave Rise to UVA Rape Story,” Dec. 2014.
“Minors are an intended audience for the highly profitable sex industry. Impressionable teenagers are easily persuaded to have abortions, and homosexual clubs in high school are designed for the young.” – Schlafly, “Activist Judges Rule for Special Interests,” Sept. 2004.
“It is long overdue for parents to realize they have the right and duty to protect our children against the intolerant evolutionists.” -Schlafly, “Time to End the Censorship,” Dec. 2004.
“Many professors are Marxists or other varieties of radicals who hate America.” – Schlafly, “Feminist Mischief on College Campuses,” April 2005.
“People think that child-support enforcement benefits children, but it doesn’t.” – Schlafly, “Federal Incentives Make Children Fatherless,” May, 2005.