Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016)

For those of you who may have missed this over the Labor Day weekend, Phyllis Schlafly succumbed to cancer yesterday morning at the age of 92. For those of you who may be too young to remember her, she was Gloria Steinum's polar opposite during the heyday of the modern feminist movement of the '60's and '70's. She was the anti-modern feminist and opposed the Equal Rights Amendment because she thought it did not address important issues for married women. I could list her education resume (Bachelor's Degree/Phi Beta Kappa from Washington University St. Louis in 1944, Master Degree in government from Radcliffe in 1945, married in 1949 with 6 children to follow, and a J.D. from Washington University St. Louis in 1978 at 54 yrs old), but you can read about this with simple Google search.
But let's start here -

Let me be remind people/men like Glenn Trush that the modern women's movement was/is/and has always been about choice. Post-WWII feminists began the final push for women be given the opportunity to work at jobs that they proved they could handle during the war years. They wanted the choice to break with time-honored traditional housewife circuit for the boardroom circuit. But a funny thing happened on the way to the boardroom. Not every women wanted to leave the kitchen and the care of their families to outsiders. They thought what they did was much more important to the well-being of their children, their family, and to the community that they made the choice to stay in the home.

But those modern-day, boardroom-bound feminists didn't think much of these women who chose this path. The women who chose the home were told by the Gloria Steinum/N.O.W crowd that they were wasting their lives and hurting the cause of women's rights everywhere! And worse, the woman who made the choice to stay at home began to dread the question "What do you do for a living?" because the shame-filled answer was "All I am is just a housewife". Yes, these women who chose to put family need above personal advancement were shamed into believing that they were somehow "less than" real women.

I may not have agreed with everything that she stood for or spoke for or against, but there is no denying that Phyllis Schlafly fought for the dignity of the time-honored, traditional housewife/mother and gave them a much-needed voice (and alimony).

To illustrate, here are the lyrics (and recording) to "Just A Housewife" from a late '70's musical "Working" based on a book by Studs Terkel of the same name. It sums up the plight of the housewife during the rousing '70's women's movement...

LINK to the Original cast recording...
All I am is just a housewife
Nothing special, nothing great
What I do is kinda boring
If you'd rather, it can wait
All I am is someone's mother
All I am is someone's wife
All of which seems unimportant
All it is is
Just my life

Do the laundry, wash the dishes
Take the dog out, clean the house
Shop for groceries, look for specials
God it sounds so, Mickey Mouse
Drop the kids off, pick the shirts up
Try to lose weight, try again
Keep the troops fed, pick their things up
Lose your patience, count to ten


All I am is just a housewife
Just a housewife, nothing great
What I do is "out of fashion"
What I feel is out of date
All I am is someone's mother
Right away I'm not too bright
What I do is unfulfulling
So the T.V. talk-shows tell me every night

I don't mean to complain at all
But they make you feel like you're two feet tall
When you're just a wife
(Just a housewife)
All they see are the pots and pans
And the Pepsi cans of a person's life
(My life)
You're a "whiz" if you go to work
But you're just a jerk if you say you won't
(Just a housewife)
People say that they think it's fine
If the choice is mine
But you know they don't
What I do, what I choose to do
May be dumb to you
But it's not to me
Is it dumb that they need me there?
Is it dumb to care?
Cause I do, you see
And I mean, Did ya ever think,
Really stop and think
What a job it was-
Doing all the things
That a housewife does?

I'm afraid it's unimpressive
(All I am is someone's mother
nothing special)
What I do is
(What I do is)
(Kinda dull)
Take the kids here,
Take the kids there
I don't mean to complain at all
(All I am is...
All I am is...)
Busy, busy...
All I am is...)
Like my mother...
(All I am is...)
Just a housewife



Patriot said...

Bev.......Perfect article on the challenge women since WWII have faced. It always seemed that the "women's" movement was all about getting women out of the Mommy track and into the workforce. However, since most non NYC East-side women couldn't afford nannies while they "worked" their causes, most women were stuck trying to do both.....and I believe society as a whole suffered.

Your point that "...the modern women's movement was/is/and has always been about choice. ... They wanted the choice to break with time-honored traditional housewife circuit for the boardroom circuit. But a funny thing happened on the way to the boardroom. Not every women wanted to leave the kitchen and the care of their families to outsiders. They thought what they did was much more important to the well-being of their children, their family, and to the community that they made the choice to stay in the home." is exactly my family's philosophy as we raised our kids. We did NOT want our children raised by someone else with THEIR values, mores and traditions. My wife and I decided it was more important to raise our kids the 'traditional' way with a full-time mother. We struggled, but no less or more than most people throught history. What we got out of it was 4 beautiful, well-grounded children that get along with their Mom and Dad to this day.

We chose wisely.


Anonymous said...

Glen Thrush (fitting name, thrush is a fungal infection of the mouth) is probably patting himself on the back for his cleverness. He's a dumbass weasel with no class, a little internet weasel making smartass remarks about someone who actually had an impact on people with her life. There's a special place in Hell for him.
RIP Mrs. Schlafly.


Critch said...

I met Mrs. Schafly many years ago, around 1984. She was a warm, friendly person who always smiled. Nothing like the press has portrayed her.

BevfromNYC said...

Patriot - The flipside to this, is that you and your wife had the opportunity to have that discussion. Most women before that were not allowed by society and tradition to have a choice. But there have always been women who bucked the system - my mother needed/wanted to work in her chosen profession to keep the family from the streets while my father completed his education (a common occurance in her age group...hence Mrs. Schlafly's fight for alimony/equal division of assets from working while their husbands earned professional degrees like MD's and JD's). Fortunately for me, my widowed and saintly (when not yeilding a "switch" from the garden to set us right) grandmother was around when my parents were hard at work. I was really lucky...

BevfromNYC said...

Gypsy - I don't understand the glee people get from demeaning someone on their death. The first time I saw this was when Nixon died. All I can think is that the people who say such things have never experienced the death of a close friend or family member.

BevfromNYC said...

Critch - Mrs. Schlafly always struck me as someone who was always a "lady" in the best sense of the word, but don't tangle with her. She would have been called a A "Steel Magnolia" if she had been born in the South.

Critch said...

My grandmother owned her own laundry and millinery shop in Memphis prior to WWI. She was very independent, so much so that she divorced her dead beat first husband..rather odd behavior for a woman in those days. My mom was very independent, she worked outside the home so we could have extras. Mrs. Shafly like a lot of conservatives didn't like the ERA because it was something that could be dealt with, without screwing with the Constitution. Income inequality between men and women is in the most part only because many women do leave the workforce to have children or raise their families, when they go back in, even with their degrees and experience, the are now behind the curve in a way because of age..

BevfromNYC said...

Mrs. Shafly like a lot of conservatives didn't like the ERA because it was something that could be dealt with, without screwing with the Constitution.

Critch I will add this. I was in HS during the whold ERA debate and was against it for another reason. I perceived that the 1964 Civil Rights Amendment was harming minorities rather than truly helping. It gave Blacks an excuse that they didn't need to prove they were qualified to get that job or place in the University. They could/would get there by mandate of government. Worse, the truly qualified/competent were look on as just "affirmative action" hires and not legitimate. Does that sound like the Catch-22 of the "women's movement" to you?)
Sorry if that offends, but women have come along faster and more meaningfully because we DIDN'T have a Constitutuional Amendment mandating our "equality". Women are better for it in the long run. I know I am. I own my life...well, somewhat the bank too, but even that is an achievement thanks to Mrs Schlafly. Before the late '70's women really couldn't get credit on their own.

Anthony said...

In my time Mrs. Schlafly has been a big government social conservative, which isn't a philosophy I subscribe to, but I've got nothing against her as a person and my prayers are with her and her family.

Kit said...

I had disagreements with her (most recently on Donald Trump) but I will not deny she was one of the most important voices for American conservatives in the latter half of the twentieth century.

By the way, the reason the ERA was stopped was because its most ardent supporters went wacko. Acknowledging that they wanted to draft women into combat (3-4 years after the Fall of Saigon) and ban, I kid you not, things like mother-son picnics.

They also burned "ERA" onto the front lawn of the Illinois governor's mansion.

Kit said...

Anyway, this comes less than a week (few days, actually) after Mother Teresa was canonized by Pope Francis as St. Teresa of Calcutta, who has ticked off a number of the same people on the left for being a living symbol of the power of faith and being anti-abortion:

But I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child, a direct killing of the innocent child, murder by the mother herself.

And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love and we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts. Jesus gave even His life to love us. So, the mother who is thinking of abortion, should be helped to love, that is, to give until it hurts her plans, or her free time, to respect the life of her child. The father of that child, whoever he is, must also give until it hurts.

By abortion, the mother does not learn to love, but kills even her own child to solve her problems.

And, by abortion, the father is told that he does not have to take any responsibility at all for the child he has brought into the world. That father is likely to put other women into the same trouble. So abortion just leads to more abortion.

Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want. This is why the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

AndrewPrice said...

Hey Bev, nice article! I grew up in the era where feminists were smearing women who made the "wrong" choice. It always struck me as wrong. Raising a child is much more important that working a job.

BevfromNYC said...

Kit - St. Teresa of Kolkata (which is her official name now) was the best of Pro-life advocates. She took care of the abandoned children who otherwise in the Western world would be aborted. I hear the retort to anti-abortion that if these people really cared, they'd adopt these babies and/or be will to take care of them. Uh, yeah, they do actually already do that and have for generations.

Post a Comment