Phyllis Schlafly was a winner. She never doubted in her ability to forge her own destiny in life. This proud housewife (who later attained a Harvard law degree to silence her critics) went on to help forge the victory of multiple Presidential candidates, including Ronald Reagan. She never saw herself as helpless and doomed for being born a female.
On the contrary, Schlafly believed that women in America are among the most fortunate groups of people in the entire world. Because of this, she opposed the passing of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s, a bill for the ratification of a Constitutional Amendment to bring about a gender-blind society. If you’re not familiar with the ERA, here’s an article to help you understand what it entails.
In case you don't believe us, watch this short video of Phyllis Schlafly debating famous feminist Betty Friedan in 1976.
Eerily, Mrs. Schlafly predicted the future half a century ago and warned the public of how the push for radical equality would lead to devastating consequences. More than half of U.S. states have passed some form of equal rights legislation since the defeat of the original ERA in 1979, and laws like Title IX have pushed forward many of the changes Schlafly warned about. Here are some of the predictions Phyllis Schlafly warned us about that have come true.
Eliminating Gendered Restrooms
Like most college kids, I partied a lot with my female friends during those years. Whenever we were out clubbing, one of the blessings we had were female-only bathrooms we could retreat to whenever we wanted to get away from guys who were hitting on us that we weren’t interested in. I’ve even heard stories from friends who ran to safety to a female-only bathroom when they thought they were stalked or annoyed by guys during these nights out.
In the sex-neutral ERA world, gone will be the days of gender-exclusive spaces, as foretold by Phyllis Schlafly. Today, even Target, one of the most beloved shopping outlets for women, has eliminated gender-exclusive bathrooms. So when a grown man entered a women's bathroom and exposed himself to a young girl, there was little law enforcement could do. In the ‘70s, when the ERA was debated, even the mere thought of this was preposterous because no one would think it acceptable to eliminate legitimate female-only spaces like gendered bathrooms.
*All photos are of pages from Phyllis Schlafly’s 1977 book The Power of the Positive Woman
Getting Rid of Female-Only Organizations
Women have long relied on female-only organizations for support and refuge in what has often been a man's world. In the mid-1800s, women were rarely allowed to attend universities, or if they were, there were few of them on campus. These brave women decided to found the first sororities - the women's version of the men's fraternal "secret societies." Since their founding, sororities have provided millions of women with support, empowerment, and community. They basically started as a "safe space" for the first women in colleges, and they continue the legacy of empowering women today.
Harvard made headlines in 2017 when they made the sweeping decision to eliminate all single-sex organizations on campus. Students who were found to be participating could find themselves censured or prevented from participating in other campus activities. Harvard cracked down hardest on the school's Panhellenic sororities, which had less alumnae support and funding that the centuries-old fraternity chapters. Within a year, every sorority on Harvard's campus either dissolved its chapter or had to transition into a new gender-neutral "club" that wasn't associated with their sorority's national headquarters.
The students involved have sued Harvard, claiming sex discrimination. But like Phyllis Schlafly warned, radical equality doesn't leave room for gender distinctions. If men and women are considered the same under law, there's nothing to legally protect women-only spaces.
Women Competing against Men in Women’s Sports
But if the idea of eliminating female-only spaces wasn’t preposterous enough, Schlafly also warned how the feminist movement’s push for the ERA would ultimately eliminate all gender distinction between males and females, to the point where women’s sports will become obsolete. As we can observe today, biological women are made to compete with biological males in the form of allowing transgendered women (biological males) to compete in women’s sports.
Say what you may about gender equality, the reality is, biological males are still physically stronger than biological females. The problem which we often overlook about transgendered women (biological males) competing against biological females in women’s sports is not only how often the biological males defeat the biological females, but the biological males will ultimately break the women’s records to match male records.
Men and women are biologically capable of different levels of physical ability, which is why there are gendered sports in the first place. Following that logic, since transgendered women can perform on the same athletic level as biological males, why even bother having a separate category for women's sports?
The Change in the Usage of Language
Schlafly warned that the ERA would set a trend whereby the meaning of words will be muddied in favor of getting rid of “sexist” words in the law. The supporters of ERA lobbied for gender-specific words to be replaced with sex-neutral words. For example, the word “husband” and “wife” would be replaced with the word “spouse” instead.
Recently, the Associated Press, an organization which dictates the style used by the majority of news organizations, announced changes in the AP Stylebook, stating, “We now say not to use the archaic and sexist term 'mistress' for a woman in a long-term sexual relationship with, and financially supported by, a man who is married to someone else. Instead, use an alternative like companion or lover on first reference.”
So basically, it’s unacceptable to use the word “mistress” because it’s not gender-neutral. There’s no counterpart for a woman who financially supports a male who remains sexually exclusive to her while she is married to someone else. We laugh at and we mock these ridiculous new standards, yet as time goes on, these ridiculous new standards become the norm.
A lot of people responded to the AP announcement with snark, saying that the term should be “adulterer, “homewrecker,” etc. However, this change in language is about more than morality. It’s about denying human nature through the “equalizing of the genders” as Phyllis Schlafly warned us.
The Death of the Family Unit
Perhaps the most ominous prediction made by Schlafly about the ERA which has come true is the destruction of the family unit. Schlafly strongly advocated for men to assume their responsibility of being a provider for their family through their roles as a husband and a father. She made the case that it was important for a man to fulfill his obligation to financially support his children.
Women possess the gift of bearing new life, something which men don’t have. In order for a man to be equal to a woman in this respect, he has to fulfill his role as the protector and the provider. Taking away the obligation he has to provide for his children robs men of the respect of being a good father. A man who doesn’t provide for his children won’t deserve the respect and admiration as the children’s father. As harsh and offensive as it is to hear this, the deadbeat fathers who don’t provide for their children are, essentially, failures as men. Men who are aware that they’re failures can’t be happy, and neither are they respected nor celebrated.
By instituting no fault divorce, and changing how alimony is distributed, we've destroyed the financial obligation men owe to their families. More women than ever are being forced to pay alimony to their ex-husbands, but the vast majority of women still have primary custody of their children. Worse still, welfare often incentivizes parents not to wed in the first place, and therefore robs men of their masculine call to fulfill their responsibilities as fathers. The family unit withers away without fathers taking up their role as the protector and provider of their family. This, in turn, forces single mothers to perform the incredibly difficult roles of both breadwinner and caretaker.
Phyllis Schlafly foresaw the problems posed by the ERA long before they manifested in our time. She could predict the outcome of the ERA because she understood the defeatist principles behind the women’s liberation (feminist) movement. Their principles were flawed because they were forged under the movement’s obsession with embracing the ideology of victimhood. Phyllis Schlafly rejected their defeatist view on life. She celebrated womanhood as a separate and distinctive counterpart to manhood. Maybe, we should start listening to her advice.
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