October 26, 1983 · Cavalier Daily

Feminists Deserve Respect from Schlafly

This article by a male University student strongly objects to a column by Phyllis Schlafly in a Maranatha Campus Ministries publication, in which Schlafly criticized feminists as having a negative outlook on life. The writer asserts that Schlafly's perspective is skewed by a tendency to idealize the past, and derides her objection to the National Organization for Women's support of gay rights and sex education.


1983-10-26 Cavalier Daily Feminists Deserve Respect from Schlafly.pdf
Tom Hamilton
Cavalier Daily
Cavalier Daily
Feminists Deserve Respect from Schlafly
Thanks to Phyllis Schlafly and Maranatha Campus Ministries, the feminist movement now has a new supporter – me.
Before last week, the feminist cause was of little concern to me. Let women worry about it, I always thought; I have my own life to deal with.
But then I stumbled upon the latest issue of a Maranatha publication, The Forerunner. Interspersed between the usual tirades against abortions, an interesting critique of the feminist movement began to emerge. I could not believe what I was reading.
Did you know, for example, why the feminist movement is failing? Well, according to Phyllis Schlafly it's because “the feminists do not have this positive outlook on life.”
“They think everybody has it in for them," Schlafly says in the publication, "but basically they have not developed the cheerful outlook on life that would make anyone want to help them."
The reader is also told in bold black type that the National Organization for Women wants to work for lesbian rights and reproductive rights. Oh my.
This all sounds pretty shocking, doesn’t it? When I first read the commentary, I thought a time machine had whisked me off to some Puritan village in colonial America. I could not wait to hear Jonathan Edwards preach.
But alas Edwards never appeared and I quickly realized I remained in 20th-century America. I just wish everybody else realized the same.
Maybe that’s what the problem is. People aren’t happy with the present, so they pine for the past, a past which usually takes on a highly idealized nature.
As one in lament in the current Forerunner goes, "The sterling moral fortitude that so typified our founding fathers is sorely lacking in men of this day and age."
Now I am not here to debate the morals of our founding fathers, but I think the casual historian would admit our forefathers were not saints. They had passions just like the of us.
The fact they sometimes pursued this passion outside of the normal societal bounds should not reflect on their accomplishments as statesmen. But at the same time their idealized backgrounds should not be used as tools of a selective history to show how far man has fallen.
Unfortunately, the skewed perspective of an idealized past remains just as skewed when the perspective shifts to present-day realities. This is especially true when one views the attacks on the feminists.
Feminists don't have a positive outlook, complains Schlafly. Well, how would you feel if you were a woman and your country could not even pass a law guaranteeing your protection against discrimination?
But wait, Schlafly and her supporters say, if you pass the Equal Rights Amendment, it will “require us to pay taxpayers' money for abortion, probably put gay rights in the Constitution, draft women…”
But wait, I say, that's not the point. That clouds the issue. That’s exhibiting same paranoia Shlafly accuses the feminists of having.
The point is this. In a big sense, the ERA is a lot like Martin Luther King's birthday as a national holiday. Its main worth is really symbolic.
What were feminists saying as the deadline for ratification reared? Nobody said, "Darn, I can't go fight in a war now." Many feminists spoken to complained of the anger they felt about living in a nation where sexual equality is just a phrase in the air, not worthy of being placed in the US. Constitution.
But the courts will interpret the amendment to have all types of horrible implications for women, the anti-feminists say.
Maybe they will or maybe they won't, but the courts certainly will listen to all sides of any case. Schlafly and the Maranathas will have the chance to get their side heard in court.
The Forerunner tells us of efforts by NOW to work for (gasp) lesbian rights and sexual education as if such efforts were a horrible perversion of mankind. I really don’t think sex education in the classroom was mentioned in the Sermon on the Mount.
I guess it’s the disparaging and cruel attacks against the feminists that really bother me about the whole Schlafly/Maranatha critique. It seems they are so concerned with the rights of the fetus they forget totally about the rights of the individual who comes from the womb.
Their message totally ignores the love and acceptance for all mankind so prevalent in the Gospels. Instead, their message is one of separation and bitter attack on all those who disagree with their views.
None of this is meant to imply Schlafly and others don't have the right to make such attacks. Their freedom to make such comments is one of the finest aspects of the Constitution.
I just sincerely wish they could see that freedom is not limited to their own rights to speak and use the press. The feminists have the exact same rights to promote what they think is right and just for America.
But too often the feminists are subject to scandalous attacks on their motives and goals. In the land of the free and the home of the brave, they have a right to expect much better treatment.
(The writer is a fourth-year College student.)
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Date Added July 5, 2016
Date Modifed December 12, 2017
Collection Cavalier Daily: articles about gender discrimination

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