Phyllis Schlafly is an American constitutional lawyer, conservative activist, author, and the founder of the Eagle Forum. She is known for her opposition to modern feminism and for her campaign against the proposed Equal Rights Amendment of 1972. Before this point Phyllis Schlafly already had political involvement, yet still stood by her role as a house-wife. To Phyllis Schlafly stopping the ERA was an issue she could build a political career around. Schlafly began her own campaign called "STOP ERA". STOP is an acronym for "Stop Taking Our Privileges." Schlafly argued that the ERA would take away gender specific privileges currently enjoyed by women, including "dependent wife" benefits under Social Security and the exemption from Selective Service registration.
Here are some quotes from Voices of Freedom: Phyllis Schlafly "The Fraud of the Equal Rights Amendment" (1972)
- “Suddenly, everywhere we are afflicted with aggressive females on television talk shows yapping about how mistreated American women are, suggesting that marriage has put us in some kind of “slavery,” that housework is menial and degrading, and –perish the though –that women are discriminated against.” (Pg. 315)
- “The claim that American women are downtrodden and unfairly treated is the fraud of the century.” (Pg. 316)
- “Why should we lower ourselves to “equal rights” when we already have the status of special privilege?”
-“Foxholes are bad enough for men, but they certainly are not a place for women.” (Pg. 316)
“Why should we abandon these mandatory wife-support and child obligation to take job?” (Pg. 317)
- “The women’s libbers are radicals who are waging a total assault on the family, on marriage, and on children.” (Pg. 317)
In conclusion, Phyllis Schlafly is a woman who during the 1970's almost single-handedly prevented the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (also known as the ERA), which is a proposed constitutional amendment guaranteeing equality of rights for women. Schlafly strongly believed in all the privileges women received before the ERA and believe that as women, “we” should be grateful. Throughout the 1970's she barnstormed the country with her supporters, lobbied state legislatures, and debated feminist leaders. Phyllis Schlafly was very determined and strong-minded. She wrote many books such as The Positive Woman, which was published in 1978, in which she compared a traditional wife and homemaker, pro-family and pro-defense ideal, to feminist ideals and values. Her style and content again offended readers across the political spectrum, but some commentators acknowledged a strong vein of common sense in her arguments. Although Phyllis Schlafly worked real hard to stop the ERA, it wasn't enough.