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....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.
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.”
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.