Wednesday, September 07, 2016

5086 I wonder which way she went....

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
Desmond Tutu --


Well, we are finally rid of Phyllis Schlafly.  Can you tell I'm not a fan?  

She almost single-handedly defeated the Equal Rights Amendment the first time it was submitted to states for approval.  She said there's no such thing as marital rape, since when a woman marries, she has implicitly agreed to have sex whenever and however her husband wants, "Not now" is not an option.  She said that if your husband beats you, you are at fault for not keeping him happy.  She insisted that a woman should stay home and keep house, even while she herself was out running political groups and giving speeches all over the country. 

This wouldn't be so very bad except that she had enormous political and social power. Men ran everything, and they liked what she was saying.  Women who liked being treated like fragile princesses lined up behind her.

She fought so hard against the ERA because she felt that if it passed, women would lose all the legal protections, benefits, and advantages they had.  One of her most effective arguments was that women would be drafted and forced into combat.  A lot of people bought that.  And women would be forced into the job market, instead of having the option to not take an outside job if they didn't want to.  Goodbye afternoon soap operas and bon-bons.  Goodbye huge alimony and rent-free house if the slob left you.  And maybe goodbye to the kids.

Young women today have no idea what it used to be like, when a woman couldn't take out a bank loan for anything without a male cosigner.  When a husband could sell anything a woman owned without her permission or even knowledge, including a business in her own name that she had built from the ground up.  When ten fully-qualified women and one less-qualified man could apply for a job, and the job would go to the man (of course) and the women had no recourse whatsoever.  When a woman likely had no idea what her husband's salary was, what money was spent on, what the family finances looked like, where accounts and savings were, and she was given a household budget (an allowance, really) and that's all she knew, not because her husband was mean - that's just the way it was done.  Women were treated as no more capable than children, except where childcare was concerned, and the laws allowed it.  Encouraged it.

I'll never forget having coffee one morning with a neighborhood mothers' group, and the subject of the ERA came up, and one woman was very annoyed and declared, "Oh, that!  I don't need liberating.  My husband lets me do anything I want."

We couldn't convince her there was anything wrong with that "lets".

Goodbye Phyllis, fifty years too late.  I hope the door hit you on the way out.