September 6, 2016

"'I’d like to burn you at the stake!' growled Betty Friedan at Phyllis Schlafly during a public debate over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) at Illinois State University in 1973."

"Friedan and other feminists were unnerved by Schlafly. She was as sophisticated and accomplished as they were, but profoundly antifeminist. They tried everything to pass ERA and defeat Schlafly, from bribing state legislators to using witchcraft, but to no avail."

Did Friedan really growl or was that humorous hyperbole? I need the video or at least the whole context, which I can't get from the New York Times either, where I first saw this burning-at-the-stake business:
On the left, Betty Friedan, the feminist leader and author, compared her to a religious heretic, telling her in a debate that she should burn at the stake for opposing the Equal Rights Amendment. Ms. Friedan called Mrs. Schlafly an “Aunt Tom.”
I'm reading that today because Phyllis Schlafly has died — after a long public life and at the age of 92. Let's keep reading:
Mrs. Schlafly became a forceful conservative voice in the 1950s, when she joined the right-wing crusade against international Communism. In the 1960s, with her popular self-published book “A Choice Not an Echo” (it sold more than three million copies) and a growing legion of followers, she gave critical support to the presidential ambitions of Senator Barry Goldwater, the hard-right Arizonan who went on to lead the Republican Party to electoral disaster in 1964, but who planted the seeds of a conservative revival that would flower with the rise of Ronald Reagan....

Many saw her ability to mobilize that citizens’ army as her greatest accomplishment. Angered by the cultural transformations of the 1960s, beginning with the 1962 Supreme Court ruling prohibiting state-sponsored prayer in public schools, her “little old ladies in tennis shoes,” as some called them, went from ringing doorbells for Goldwater to serving as foot soldiers for the “Reagan revolution.” 
Little old ladies in tennis shoes... that really was a standard expression, the contempt of the time for the little people, who were openly called little. Back when older women could be frankly minimized as "old ladies." But we still sort out women according to their shoes. And it's less meaningful to be caught wearing sneakers.

According to William Safire's "Political Dictionary," the term "little old ladies in tennis shoes" was "coined in 1961 by Stanley Mosk, then the Democratic Attorney General of California, in a report on right-wing activity." It was then used to attack supporters of Barry Goldwater, specifically the "resolute, intensely dedicated women's group — Western (or at least not Eastern urban), unsophisticated, often white-haired and wearing rimless eyeglasses. They were called 'the little old ladies in tennis shoes' with considerable disdain." Safire tells us that that in 1966, when Reagan was campaigning for governor in California, he recognized the "sexism and ageism" in the phrase and flipped it into a joke, addressing crowds with "Gentlemen — and 'little ladies in tennis shoes.'"

Anyway, goodbye to Phyllis Schlafly. I wasn't on her side in most of this, but I respect the hard work and the strong voice throughout so many decades in the ongoing debate about the kind of America we want.

55 comments:

exhelodrvr1 said...

Love how the left treats someone who they think should be on the reservation with them!

Brando said...

I always wondered why they put a time limit on the ERA (requiring it to be ratified within a certain amount of years or it would fail)? They don't normally do that with constitutional amendments. Apparently it came really close to passing (with bipartisan support in the early '70s) but by the late '70s opposition gelled enough to crush it.

I also wondered what the ERA would accomplish that wasn't already the law under the 1964 Civil Rights Act (that also made discrimination on gender illegal).

rhhardin said...

That was back before the ongoing debate about the kind of America we want was overruled and redecided by the leftist Supreme Court.

gspencer said...

"Did Friedan really growl?"

Have you not seen pictures of Friedan's permanent scowl? With a mug like that, the voice could only be a growl.

She always reminded me of Rodney Dangerfield, without any, any humor.

Ann Althouse said...

"I also wondered what the ERA would accomplish that wasn't already the law under the 1964 Civil Rights Act (that also made discrimination on gender illegal)."

Why pass the 19th Amendment then?

It was to get something specific in the text to recognize gender equality. To this day there are arguments that the sexes are not equal and such arguments play a role in Equal Protection analysis.

Also, obviously, it was a political statement of belief in gender equality. Once the question was up: Won't you say the sexes are equal? Everyone had to talk about it. It seemed at the time that people would want to say yes to gender equality and certainly not no. But the no side won, partly because many moderate people bought the argument that the Equal Protection Clause was already enough and they trusted the courts to interpret that to give us what we should get.

Mick said...

Feminism and "Diversity". Two political wedges that are destroying the Republic.

who-knew said...

There was also a lot of concern about the mischief the Supreme Court would get into with this new amendment to misinterpret. Opponents claimed the ERA would outlaw single sex bathrooms, and put women in combat. Little did they know who far they underestimated the creativity of the courts and the bureaucracy, since we seem to be well on the way to that without the ERA

Paul Snively said...

The good ol' NYT showing its true colors, more and more of late: Mrs. Schlafly became a forceful conservative voice in the 1950s, when she joined the right-wing crusade against international Communism.

Right. Because to be opposed to international Communism, the most murderous political cult ever to walk the face of the earth, is to be an inveterate right-winger.

...she gave critical support to the presidential ambitions of Senator Barry Goldwater, the hard-right Arizonan...

Barry Goldwater, "hard-right."

Funny how you never read the NYT call anyone "left-wing" or, God forbid, "hard-left." You never read about the "religious left" like Wilson or Carter who have actually taken power and done terrible things with it. No, the only thing we have to fear is politicians who are opposed to totalitarianism, and who want to get elected so they can implement the constraints on government spelled out in the Constitution, and leave you alone.

William said...

i vaguely remember those arguments about the ERA. All sorts of dire things would come to pass if that amendment was not passed. I forget (repress?) most of them, but I do remember that quite a lot of horrible things would happen. It would be worse than global warming or a nuclear winter.

mpeirce said...

Was the ERA the last time the left tried to change America via amendment?

EDH said...

Little old ladies in tennis shoes... that really was a standard expression, the contempt of the time for the little people, who were openly called little. Back when older women could be frankly minimized as "old ladies."

Evidently, it was a perfectly good pejorative while used against conservatives, until it was applied to a liberal "mom in tennis shoes," Patty Murray, at which point it became the height of sexism.

Brando said...

"Why pass the 19th Amendment then?"

But the 19th was passed shortly after WWI, when women didn't have the vote in every state (or was that not the case?). Unless you mean the point of the ERA was to ensure that it was in the Constitution and couldn't be as easily overturned as the 1964 Act?

"Also, obviously, it was a political statement of belief in gender equality. Once the question was up: Won't you say the sexes are equal? Everyone had to talk about it. It seemed at the time that people would want to say yes to gender equality and certainly not no. But the no side won, partly because many moderate people bought the argument that the Equal Protection Clause was already enough and they trusted the courts to interpret that to give us what we should get."

Ok, that makes more sense. Of course, if it was merely symbolic and would not actually change the law (i.e. not provide any protections under the law that didn't already exist) then it makes the opposition to it purely symbolic as well.

It was a little before my time--my exposure to ERA was that episode of Family Ties where Alex was dating the feminist. I remember the "doesn't the law currently already do these things?" argument and wondered if that wasn't the case.

Brando said...

"Evidently, it was a perfectly good pejorative while used against conservatives, until it was applied to a liberal "mom in tennis shoes," Patty Murray, at which point it became the height of sexism."

Patty Murray was the first time I heard that phrase.

gspencer said...

@Paul Snively,

Amen!

Totalitarianism, the high religion of the left, represented in America most prominently (though not exclusively, e.g., Islam, another totalitarianism variant) by the Democrat Party, will NEVER, EVER, leave you alone.

Yet, the following sentiment prevails among many, Ms Shafley and myself among them, "The makers of our Constitution undertook to secure conditions favorable to the pursuit of happiness. They recognized the significance of man’s spiritual nature, of his feelings, and of his intellect. They knew that only a part of the pain, pleasure and satisfactions of life are to be found in material things. They sought to protect Americans in their beliefs, their thoughts, their emotions and their sensations. They conferred, as against the Government, the right to be let alone — the most comprehensive of rights and the right most valued by civilized men."

Louis Brandeis, Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928) (in dissent).

Carter Wood said...

Patty Murray applied the term "mom in tennis shoes" to herself. It was campaign shtick.

Ipso Fatso said...

Ann, I give you a lot of credit. You actually allow for others opinions that may differ from yours. This blog reflects that. In many cases I don't agree with your take on things but that is neither here nor there. I appreciate the fact that you want open and honest discussion. That seems to be pretty rare in today's world, especially from academics. Cheers.

EDH said...

I believe Murray told the tale of a male colleague who said she'd never amount to more than a "mom in tennis shoes."

The feminist narrative requires the male oppressor.

rhhardin said...

"All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace in which talent, hard work and loyalty are recognized, revered and rewarded."

Newsbabe who ran an upskirt show after getting $20M from Fox.

Gusty Winds said...

Funny how a successful, powerful, influential woman can't be considered a feminist.

Just like Sarah Palin.





Gusty Winds said...

Ann Althouse said...

To this day there are arguments that the sexes are not equal and such arguments play a role in Equal Protection analysis.

Exactly. Like a man's right to have a say in the decision of whether a fetus he sired lives or dies.

khematite said...

In 1971, when the ERA was introduced in Congress, the judicial standard for judging cases involving discrimination against women was still the rational basis test. Thus, the burden of proof was on a plaintiff to show that the discrimination against her either served no permissible governmental purpose or that the discrimination did not constitute a rational means to achieve a permissible governmental purpose.

One main justification for the ERA therefore was that it would--as was already true for race, national origin, religion and alienage--add discrimination against women to the list of the above-mentioned "suspect classifications" that would trigger "strict scrutiny" by the courts.

In other words, in cases involving discrimination against women, the burden of proof would now be shifted to the government and the government would have to prove that its discrimination constituted not just a rational, but actually a necessary, means to achieve a compelling governmental interest. That would generally prove to be a much more difficult standard to meet and thereby provide women a much higher order of constitutional protection.

Ann Althouse said...

"But the 19th was passed shortly after WWI, when women didn't have the vote in every state (or was that not the case?). Unless you mean the point of the ERA was to ensure that it was in the Constitution and couldn't be as easily overturned as the 1964 Act"

I mean the Equal Protection Clause could have been used to give women the right to vote in every state, but an amendment was used.

If there had never been that amendment, women would still have gotten the right to vote, guaranteed at the federal level and in the Constitution, through judicial interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause.

Unknown said...

Good riddance. Partly because of her, women earned less for the same work for decades after the ERA was defeated.

Meade said...

Patrick J. Buchanan is right: the cultural war is over and the Left won.

Brando said...

"I mean the Equal Protection Clause could have been used to give women the right to vote in every state, but an amendment was used."

I see what you mean. Though in the case of voting, the proponents could say that there was a need to pass the 19th, because the courts had not yet interpreted the Equal Protection Clause to guarantee women voting rights, and at that time (circa 1920) many women were still being denied the right to vote. In the case of the ERA, the '64 Act pretty clearly addressed employment and services discrimination. If courts weren't already enforcing those protections, its' hard to see why they'd do so when an enacted ERA basically says the same thing as the '64 Act already did. (If the '64 Act was more vague, or required some additional inferences to provide women legal protections, that would be a different story). So it sounds like practically speaking the ERA fight was more symbolic than anything else.

Bruce Hayden said...

@khematite - haven't we moved from rational basis to intermediate scrutiny under 14th Amdt Equal Protection?

Which is part of why this is so interesting. We essentially got pretty clear she to where the ERA would have brought us, at least at the state level, through the judicial process and Equal Rights. And, since the 14th Amdt technogically doesn't apply to the federal govt, it can still discriminate in favor of women, such as exempting them from the draft.

dbp said...

Some 30 years ago I saw Mrs. Schlafly debate another woman (who was an editor or publisher of an adult magazine and whose name escapes me now) at my university. At the time she seemed like an old lady, though I doubt I would think of her (she must have been in her early 60s then) as old now.

Schlafly and the other woman had a spirited and respectful debate. I would say that most of the audience in Bryan Hall were on the side of the adult magazine woman, but by the end of the evening seemed to have gained a lot of respect for Mrs. Schlafly even if unswayed by her arguments.

Conservatives and feminists actually have a lot of overlap in their views regarding pornography and yet have not found any way to cooperate in this area, probably since they disagree in pretty much every other way.

dreams said...

Its all hypocrisy, just selfish people trying to get all they can get. They claim that women only make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns but that doesn't take into account the fact that men work on average about 45 hours per week compared to about 35 hours a week for women. Plus, men do the hard, dirty heavy lifting and dangerous jobs. Women like to work in air conditioned buildings and wear nice clothes.

I worked in a factory where the jobs had different pay rates based on their difficulty and all the jobs were bid out based on seniority so if a woman had the most seniority of those that bid on a job then she got the job. The harder jobs and those requiring more responsibility were usually men, women were more satified to work on the boring assembly lines. Plus, more men work overtime than women which means they worked more hours. If someone did a study of who earned more money working in that factory, I'm sure it would show that men earned more money.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do remember something about the ERA and single sex bathrooms. Which, thanks primarily to Obama, whom feminists helped elect, we are rapidly approaching, with their deference to trannies. If you can be whichever gender you want, you should, apparently, be able to use any bathroom you want.

We had a lot of discussions about the ERA in our family. For awhile, my mother was the state legislative chair (and head lobbyist) for the CO LWV (League of Socialist Women Voters), and this was, no surprise, one of their key projects. She was also the only female in the family, with 6 males. My memory is that we managed to get a state ERA enacted. I have lived in a number of states since then, and really don't remember any legal differences because these other states didn't, and CO did have a state ERA. Which was part of my argument to her - that a federal ERA was really unnecessary, and mostly just to make women feel better about themselves.

I should note that my mother got her activism in this area honestly, and not because she had five boys. Her great grandmother and her sisters were active in the fight for sufferage, temperance, and emancipation of the slaves, back in the 1850s. We have their letters back and forth because my great great grandmother left them back in Ohio when she moved up into the wilds of MI to help found a Christian academy, leaving her sisters behind.

Bruce Hayden said...

@dreams - the problem with seniority is that in addition to men tending to work more hours a week, they also tend to work more years. That is another part of the $.77 problem. Plus, women have long gravitated more than men into jobs with a higher ease of entry and exit, such as teaching and nursing. But, if men are going to work more years in the work force, they are likely going to have higher seniority.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Paul Snively said...The good ol' NYT showing its true colors, more and more of late: Mrs. Schlafly became a forceful conservative voice in the 1950s, when she joined the right-wing crusade against international Communism.

Right. Because to be opposed to international Communism, the most murderous political cult ever to walk the face of the earth, is to be an inveterate right-winger.


I caught that too, Paul, but I think it's almost an accidental compliment--the only people the NYTimes recognizes as standing up against international Communism (which by the way had a body count in the tens of millions) is the right-wing. I agree! The Left did fuck-all to oppose international Communism, and in many many cases they HELPED that movement--a movement, again, that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of human beings.
The right-wing ought to be proud to have jackasses like the NYTimes admit that only the right-wing was on the correct side of that fight.

They didn't mean it as a compliment but it is one anyway.

EMD said...

the right-wing crusade against international Communism.

JFK. Right-winger. Who knew?

Jim Gust said...

As I recall, opponents of the ERA claimed that it would mean the elimination of single-sex public bathrooms. They were loudly ridiculed by the supporters, who suggested that there was no mention of bathrooms in the text of the amendment.

Turns out the opponents were 100% correct.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It feels so awfully quaint to talk about Amendments. Why didn't people who wanted that change just get 5 Supreme Court Justices to agree? Poof - done.
People sure were silly back in that ancient time--the 1970s--someone should have told them about the Court.

Birkel said...

Jim Gust:

Turns out the opponents of President Obama were 100% correct too. It is always odd to witness one side so able to predict what shall come and the other so eager to deny it. And yet at each turn we are asked to forget the records of the various predictors.

Who controls the past controls the future: A how-to guide for America's would-be totalitarians.

mockturtle said...

'dreams' falsely states: Plus, men do the hard, dirty heavy lifting and dangerous jobs. Women like to work in air conditioned buildings and wear nice clothes.

You obviously have never watched nursing home employees, mostly women, on the job.
Go to Alaska and see women doing all the 'hard, dirty, heavy lifting and dangerous' jobs that men do.

mockturtle said...

Schlafly was both intelligent and wise.

Darrell said...

I will miss Phyllis Schlafly. Prayers for her and her loved ones.

Rick said...

Are there still people who think the ERA would have been a good idea? Compare the ERA to relatively unobjectionable Title IX. An activist [Catherine Lhamon] worked herself into position in the Department of Education where she "discovered" Title IX requires using the preponderance of the evidence standard for sexual assault adjudication. In American law this is generally limited to non-criminal matters but obviously we're talking about serious crimes. She further provided rules which remove any due process rights and mandates a disturbingly unfair process which represents the most illiberal jurisprudence movement in America today. And she hooked this to federal funding which essentially threatens to put any University who wants to fight it out of business.

The outcome is a process where sexual assault accusations are effectively considered proof of responsibility exactly as the far left desired.

Consider what similar people would do with the ERA. These people are so misguided they believe (or pretend to believe) things like this:

Unknown said...
Good riddance. Partly because of her, women earned less for the same work for decades after the ERA was defeated.


Of course this is flatly false and yet extremists believe it so vehemently they're gleeful someone died. This comparison does not adjust for the type of work or even the amount of work. Apparently a group which performs more work must be paid less individually so the totals remain equal.

We would end up with a bureaucracy staffed by left wing activists inspecting every business for ways to penalize them. You can see the outlines of how it would work given the complaint of these activists today that it's somehow discriminatory that professions men select at higher rates pay more. So they would "discover" the ERA requires teaching [for example] to be as highly paid as engineering. Obviously this is great for teachers but then why would people undertake the arduous path to become an engineer? It's a disaster for societal progress.

n.n said...

Schlafly reconciled moral, natural, and personal imperatives. She concluded that women and men are equal and complementary. She valued both People and our Posterity. She did not conduct witch or baby trials. She was not a female chauvinist, and was appalled by their bigotry and violence. She was an American conservative illuminating a progressive twilight.

khematite said...

@khematite - haven't we moved from rational basis to intermediate scrutiny under 14th Amdt Equal Protection?

Which is part of why this is so interesting. We essentially got pretty clear she to where the ERA would have brought us, at least at the state level, through the judicial process and Equal Rights. And, since the 14th Amdt technogically doesn't apply to the federal govt, it can still discriminate in favor of women, such as exempting them from the draft.


Yes, the Supreme Court moved towards intermediate (or "heightened") scrutiny with Craig v. Boren (1976), well after the push for ERA was already underway. But that seemed to ERA supporters too much like half a loaf, compared to strict scrutiny. Especially so since the other class covered by intermediate scrutiny consisted of illegitimate children.

As for the 14th amendment's not applying to the federal government, the Supreme Court has for more than sixty years employed a process known as "reverse incorporation" to make the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection clause apply to the federal government via its incorporation into the 5th amendment's Due Process clause.

Washington, D.C.'s public school system, for example, was required to obey the Brown v. Board (1954) equal protection principle via a companion case, Bolling v. Sharpe (1954) that cited this equal protection component of the 5th Amendment's due process clause.

Otto said...

Betty Friedan, a 3rd rate, bored Westchester princess author who tapped into the last false leg of liberalism-victimization. Made a lot of money and left in her wake millions of uneducated single parent mothers.

campy said...

"'I’d like to burn you at the stake!' growled Betty Friedan

Obviously Friedan was influenced by violent rhetoric from Donald Trump.

Wilbur said...

"You may choose to be burned at the stake or have your head chopped off!"

I'll take burning at the stake.

"Why?"

A hot steak's better than a cold chop any day.

- The Three Stooges

YoungHegelian said...

"I’d like to burn you at the stake!” growled Betty Friedan at Phyllis Schlafly during a public debate over the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) at Illinois State University in 1973

When a Jew threatens to burn a Catholic at the stake is that an example of "turnabout is fair play"?

Paul Snively said...

Otto: Betty Friedan, a 3rd rate, bored Westchester princess author who tapped into the last false leg of liberalism-victimization. Made a lot of money and left in her wake millions of uneducated single parent mothers.

While this might be a bit overheated (or might not—I haven't made a close enough study of Betty Friedan to have formed a strong opinion), it at least touches on two significant patterns I see in leftist thought that make it unequivocally and irrevocably impossible for me to be leftist:

1. An overemphasis on the realm of abstract sociopolitical ideas and wordsmithing coupled with righteous anger that these are not valued as highly economically as actual trades or professions in functioning capitalist economies.

2. A complete disconnect from policy outcomes, if not an outright doubling-down on failed policies.

As far as I can tell, these are the constants in the equation of leftist thought. And they're not just eye-rollers that induce a what're-ya-gonna-do? reaction. They're at best deeply regressive and induce revulsion, recoiling, and disgust in proportion to the extent to which you care about both liberty and the actual plight of the poor and otherwise marginalized.

Sebastian said...

"'I’d like to burn you at the stake!' growled Betty Friedan // Did Friedan really growl or was that humorous hyperbole?" Faux question, right? I mean, feminists didn't do humor, and especially not Friedan. The left really does want to destroy its opponents. No joke.

mockturtle said...

Sebastian is right. One of several reasons I abandoned the feminist movement in the mid 70's was due to their lack of humor. They could never, ever laugh at themselves. Only men. They did laugh at men.

Rick said...

mockturtle said...
They could never, ever laugh at themselves. Only men. They did laugh at men.


I took Human Sexuality in college. It wasn't nearly as much fun as I'd hoped, it was almost entirely political as my older self would have expected.

The Professor would make a big deal about the distinction between girls and women and that respect was important, then ten seconds later make small-dick jokes. It was like having a not particularly mature twelve year old girl run middle school sex ed.

virgil xenophon said...

Schlafly was the true feminist that those who called themselves "feminists" could only dream about. Remember that 80s tv perfume ad about the woman who COULD. DO. IT. ALL...."cause I'm a woman..Bring home the Bacon. Fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget your a man! I can work 'til 5'o'clock, Come home and read Tickety-tock. And if it's lovin' you want I can kiss you and give you the shivers.."

In the ad she begins in a business suit and swinging a brief-case, then grabs a frying pan and transitions to a comfy pair of slacks and violet silk blouse (perfect for frying bacon) and then is seen in a sleeveless silk number for the "never let you forget you're a man" bit.

But of course in real life this is fantasy land for most feministas who don't even't come close--or even try to. But Ms Schafley came as close as most to this feminist ideal. She married, had a family and put herself through Law School by supporting the Korean War effort by testing heavy machine guns at the southern Indiana Army test range near her home in St. Louis. Married, credentialed, WORKED her way thru law school and was a patriot to boot--THAT--ALL of it--was what drove the feministas ABSOLUTELY cray-cray..,she was the REAL "feminist."

richard mcenroe said...

After seeing what "you side" has made of the campuses, workplaces and culture since, I'm kind of sorry you're still not on Phyllis' side...

Francisco D said...

Just an irrelevant side comment:

Goldwater was not hard right as the usual suspects led us to believe. He was a somewhat conservative libertarian.

Ann, I think you spent too much time among the usual suspects.

Andy Krause said...

"Are you sure you want to leave this page?" That message on this site is so lame. It marks the site as being about as old as Phyllis.

JamesB.BKK said...

"Little old ladies in tennis shoes" is a phrase I have used to describe the bondholders and stockholders that are being screwed over by monstrous Federal Reserve policies aimed at transferring and which have transferred their justly due income away from them to irresponsible debtors, including large governments, which I suppose are in the business of creating the kind of America some want to live in, and want to give it to the rest of us good and hard.

Kirk Parker said...

"Why pass the 19th Amendment then?"

A very good question!

EDH,

Well, Murray's colleague (if real) was certainly right! Patty "Osama the Daycare Provider" Murray has been a net negative for the Republic.