Phyllis Schlafly died Monday, at the age of 92. For the majority of her adult life, Ms. Schlafly railed against equal rights for women, famously being one of the loudest opponents of the ERA. One can posit her draconian beliefs were a product of the era in which she grew up, but she lived 92 years. That is plenty of time to see the error of her ways, and become a champion of women, rather than an enemy.
Phyllis Schlafly hated the idea of equality. She believed women were happiest at home, caring for a husband, cooking, cleaning, and raising children. Interestingly, Ms. Schlafly attended college, even attaining a law degree. She wrote books, traveled the speaking circuit, appeared on television and radio programs, all the while decrying working women. Ms. Schlafly did spend 25 years as a stay-at-home wife and mother, but after her children were grown, she ventured out into the world. After getting her husband’s permission:
Well, politics was my hobby. And I really spent 25 years as a full-time homemaker before I did any particular traveling around. And by that time, the children were well along in school or college. And they were very supportive. My husband was very supportive. I told the feminists the only person’s permission I had to get was my husband’s.
During an appearance on NPR, the host asked Ms. Schlafly for some words of wisdom, and she said:
Well, yes. I would say, don’t be taken in by feminism. Just remember, American women are so fortunate. When I got married, all I wanted in the world was a dryer so I didn’t have to hang up my diapers. And now women have paper diapers and all sorts of conveniences in the home. And it is the men and the technology that has made the home such a pleasant place for women to be. So I hope they will use that pleasant place to raise their children.
In 2007, Phyllis Schlafly said a married woman cannot be raped by her husband. In 2008, she doubled down on that belief while being interviewed by a Washington University student newspaper:
Could you clarify some of the statements that you made in Maine last year about marital rape?
I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That’s what marriage is all about, I don’t know if maybe these girls missed sex ed. That doesn’t mean the husband can beat you up, we have plenty of laws against assault and battery. If there is any violence or mistreatment that can be dealt with by criminal prosecution, by divorce or in various ways. When it gets down to calling it rape though, it isn’t rape, it’s a he said-she said where it’s just too easy to lie about it.
Was the way in which your statement was portrayed correct?
Yes. Feminists, if they get tired of a husband or if they want to fight over child custody, they can make an accusation of marital rape and they want that to be there, available to them.
So you see this as more of a tool used by people to get out of marriages than as legitimate-
Yes, I certainly do.
According to Phyllis Schlafly, marital rape is a tool to get out of marriage. As a married woman, you have consented to sex, which Ms. Schlafly has confused with rape.
I’m sure Phyllis Schlafly’s family is in mourning. And I respect that. I am also hyperaware of the things Ms. Schlafly said, the things she believed, the awful beliefs she espoused, how very much she hated women who wanted more than to cook and clean and have children. CNN has compiled some of her more famous quotes; here are a few:
You can’t be an American if you don’t speak English. Our public schools should be mandated to teach all children in English.
There’s a reason why no woman has ever won our nation’s highest award for valor. The Medal of Honor recognizes a willingness to charge toward danger, to seek out and remove a threat, while everyone else is running away.
It should be clear that teaching Americans we are now part of a global economy and teaching schoolchildren they are citizens of the world is a deceitful message to con us into a plan to add the poor countries around the Earth to our list of welfare handout recipients.
ERA means abortion funding, means homosexual privileges, means whatever else.
I am struggling to grieve for the loss of Phyllis Schlafly. She was deeply rooted in patriarchy, she despised any kind of equality for women, or the LGBT community, she was a supporter of the English Only movement, and in 2014, she applauded a rant against Muslims and President Obama by Stan Solomon:
I don’t really give a damn if there are any Muslims here but if they are here and they don’t want to be Americans, then get the hell out, and the same for any other group. Barack Obama is not an American, never has been, not in his actions, not in his speech, not in his politics and not in his birth.
He’s a homosexual, always has been, is now, always will be. That’s his right to be but this nonsense that somehow homosexuality is something equal to or preferable to is just wrong.
Phyllis Schlafly responded:
Very well stated Stan, thank you for being a voice of truth and sanity on the air.
Phyllis Schlafly has shuffled off this mortal coil, but her words, her beliefs, and her hate, remain. Perhaps, someday, her horrible legacy will fade away, and the next generation will only know her as a blip in a history book. Which is more than she deserves.