Thursday, May 08, 2008

Dr. Phyllis Schlafly

Washington University is giving Phyllis Schlafly an honorary doctorate for her work in all matters ultra-conservative. She is naturally best known as the woman who doesn't want any other woman to have what she has had (both children and a career and lots of public attention and influence). This is quite sad, because she has bona fide qualifications as an overall stark-crazy wingnut (she opposes evolution, she used to have nightmares about communists non-stop, she wants to kill Muslims). Yet her fame lies in her leadership of the movement which stopped the Equal Rights Amendment.

That's how the Girls' Auxiliary to the Right Wing works. The gals are to bash other gals and to leave the serious political matters to the guys. Sigh.

One reason why I'm hesitant to write about our Phyllis is exactly that suspicion: That the liberals/progressives are falling back on that same gendered division of labor. Girly stuff doesn't count as real politics, but it should be covered just in case enough women care about it in their voting choices. So let some chick cover it.

Goddess knows that the rifts around the question of gender are becoming ever more visible on our side, too.

Pardon me for that aside. These are the kinds of things Schlafly is famous for, from an interview/speech at Bates College in 2007:

For nearly two hours, she belittled the feminist movement as "teaching women to be victims," decried intellectual men as "liberal slobs" and argued that feminism "is incompatible with marriage and motherhood."

One came when Schlafly asserted women should not be permitted to do jobs traditionally held by men, such as firefighter, soldier or construction worker, because of their "inherent physical inferiority."

"Women in combat are a hazard to other people around them," she said. "They aren't tall enough to see out of the trucks, they're not strong enough to carry their buddy off the battlefield if he's wounded, and they can't bark out orders loudly enough for everyone to hear."

At one point, Schlafly also contended that married women cannot be sexually assaulted by their husbands.

"By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape," she said.

What a flexible thinker she is! Women are physically inferior in most every way, except that they cannot be raped once married.

We will always have the Phyllis Schlaflys among us. But do we really need to give them honorary doctorates?