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Schafly at CPAC in 2011. (Image by Gage Skidmore, via Creative Commons)
Last week, conservative activist and anti-feminist gadfly Phyllis Schafly spoke to a class at the famously all-male Citadel, a military college in South Carolina. The class was a new offering called “The Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America.” (And no, I’m not even going to make a joke there, that opening is far too obvious.)
Among other things, Schafly assured her dudely audience that contraception is “not controversial” on its own, but that the debate should be over who pays for it. It feels strange to call Schafly more optimistic than I on this issue. While I concede that for many conservatives this may be true, it is certainly not true of the movement as a whole. Indeed, many of Schafly’s fellow conservatives -- particularly evangelical Christians -- would probably recoil in horror at her assertion, as I think it’s clear that for many, easy access to contraception IS controversial and deeply political.
But I’ll give Schafly that one, because I’m feeling magnanimous; for now let’s just pretend that everyone who opposes contraception coverage is only interested in dollar signs and not in legislating women’s reproductive agency.
What I can’t give her is the following:
Schlafly talked to a group of Citadel students about the culture of conservatism and the history of the religious right. She told the all-male group that “feminist is a bad word and everything they stand for is bad.”And she warned them about having personal relationships with feminists. “Find out if your girlfriend is a feminist before you get too far into it,” she said. “Some of them are pretty. They don’t all look like Bella Abzug.”
An ominous warning indeed! But I’m not sure Schafly was specific enough in just suggesting these strapping young military lads not date “feminists.”
What is a feminist anyway? How can you spot one? What are the telltale signs? It can’t be as simple as spotting a pair of ugly Birkenstocks in her closet, or a Le Tigre album on her iPod. Some feminists even shave their armpits, I’m led to understand! So is it like shopping for a horse? Do you need to figure out a way to look inside her mouth to know for sure?
Because of these many lingering questions, and because feminism is often insidious and non-obvious, I’ve decided to help out by making a handy list of other women that men at the Citadel should not date, either because they are likely to be stealth feminists, or at least to have benefited from feminism, which is basically the same thing. And I’m getting specific about it.
1. Women with equitably-paying jobs.
OH WAIT, as of 2009 women still only get paid about 78 cents for every dollar a dude earns. This is probably women’s fault, though, for not working hard enough, for or failing to prioritize their jobs over their families or personal lives, or for daring to take maternity leave like a freaking brood sow.
Or maybe just for not being white men in a culture that candidly and overtly values their contributions over anyone else’s.
But this is all SUPER BORING on a date, right? Who wants to have this conversation over drinks? Better if your ladyfriend has no strong professional interests of her own, that way you can run the conversation however you like. In fact, it’s probably best to just not date any woman who mentions career ambitions of any sort, as she may have been lightly soiled by feminism.
2. Women with an interest in controlling their fertility.
This is a big one, guys. You want a lady who will let you have sex with her whenever, without regard for whether she becomes pregnant. You want a lady who thinks nature is the best family planner!
Did you know that even the humble hormonal birth control pill came about because of a feminist? It’s true! In the 1920s, Margaret Sanger, a nurse and social activist, coined the term “birth control” and started the organization that would become Planned Parenthood. The pill wouldn’t be approved by the FDA for another 40 years, but without Sanger pushing for research, it might not have happened even then. Within five years, 6.5 million women were on the pill, proving that lots and lots of women are totally into the idea of not having unplanned pregnancies, all of them radical harlot slutmonsters.
Thus, the pill itself is a feminist enterprise, as is safe access to abortion and other reproductive services for women. Be warned: If your girl is on birth control, she’s probably a feminist. She may also have a medical issue for which the pill is a treatment, but do you really want to take that chance? DTMFA.
3. Women who own property and who vote.
It was only around 1900 that most US states had seen fit to generously bequeath broad property rights to married women; prior to this, women’s husbands controlled whatever property they may have owned before getting married, as well as property they came into during their marriage.
This evolution was connected to the women’s suffrage movement, which took over 80 years to see its purpose successfully achieved by the narrow ratification of the 19th amendment to the US constitution in 1920, which finally gave women the right to vote.
Voting is SO feminist that scary radical suffragists were willing to die for it, staging hunger strikes while in prison for demonstrating, and being force-fed to prevent the public relations nightmare that dozens of dead imprisoned white ladies would have caused for the US governement.
Lots of them were unmarried too, which is probably the only reason why they gave a crap, as they had not come to know true feminine fulfillment via dedicating one's life to the service of a husband and children! What’s voting when you’ve got a man’s shirts to iron and babies to care for? You can’t leave those things alone for even one single second, you know.
So it’s clear that any woman who votes is participating in that feminist legacy, boys! And who knows where that will lead; maybe today she’s just casting a vote for Rick Santorum, but tomorrow she might be exercising free sexual agency (Schafly, after all, has gone on the record in 2007 as arguing that wives cannot be raped or sexually assaulted by their husbands, because simply getting married means giving lifelong consent to any sex your husband wants, anytime he wants it). Next she might start wearing pants!
A woman who makes claims to her own rights, be they political, social, or even just to her own personal space, is probably a feminist in some measure. NIP IT IN THE BUD, dudes, and get her out of your life pronto.
Oh, and there’s lots more feminist warning signs, like being an athlete (thanks, title IX!) or going to college or driving a car. Hell, even the mad vigilant anti-feminist Schafly has benefited from feminism, insofar as being a widely respected intellectual and activist voice, in spite of her persistently having that pesky vagina.
I guess it turns out that pretty much NO women are truly safe from the pervasive nature of a variety of feminisms, and their positive influences on the lives of women, even if individual women don’t recognize or appreciate all that feminist activism has done for them. So who should this idealized upcoming generation of anti-feminist Citadel men be dating?
There’s always one lucky lady available; her name is Phyllis, and she enjoys literature, fine dining and the increased subjugation of women as supported by erroneous and essentialist ideologies of gender. Get in line, boys, at this rate her calendar is going to fill up fast.