My gratitude to the stalwarts at Right Wing Watch for watching nearly two hours of Phyllis Schlafly's seminar earlier this month at The Citadel. She had some interesting things to say about feminism.
In the World According to Schlafly, the word "liberal is a pejorative now since Michael Dukakis...no politician wants to be called a liberal anymore" and because it's a pejorative, Schlafly thinks "that's the way we should treat feminism." She goes on to say women don't want to be called feminists because it's a bad word, and that "everything they stand for is bad and destructive."
I admit, I'm confused by this, especially since the right wing has been trying to hijack the term feminist for the past several years, courtesy of Sarah Palin. As far as our badness and destructiveness, I guess it's bad and destructive to work to take care of our kids so we're not at the mercy of the welfare state? Let's see. She truly believes "America is a giant island of freedom, achievement, wealth and prosperity", too. I guess for her that means freedom, achievement, wealth and prosperity for men and men only?
But wait, according to Phyl, "American women are the most fortunate people who lived on this earth" and feminists just want to be victims.
Are you facepalming yet? Wait till you get to the part where she hypothesizes about a man and a woman competing for the same high-paying job, and the woman being at a disadvantage because the man has a WIFE, something the woman is "insanely jealous of", so she wants to "abolish the wife of the man" because she can't have a wife of her own.
The funniest part about it might be the bored, barely-stifled looks of amusement on the cadets' faces when the camera cuts away from Woman Wingnut long enough to pan the room.
Schlafly seems to be fighting a battle that is already lost at that particular location, or maybe someone forgot to tell her that in 1995 Shannon Faulkner fought for the right to attend that institution and won, opening it up to women after 200-plus years of having the door shut in their faces.
That horse left the barn and ran far away long ago, but Schlafly is undeterred, admonishing the young cadets to never, ever date a feminist, no matter how pretty they are. She also offered up the Instant Feminist Determination Test: Just ask that pretty girl how she feels about Phyllis Schlafly, and they'll know if she's a feminist or not.
I have to believe the answer to that question in most cases would be "Phyllis Who?" As much as I'd like to ignore her entirely, I also know she still has an enormous amount of influence with the right-wing religious organizations who are pushing things like transvaginal ultrasounds and rekindling the mommy wars, but I can't imagine anyone under the age of 50 knowing who she is, much less what she preaches. Except for those bemused young men at the Citadel, anyway.