Flashback to the seventies and Americans would be watching Welcome Back Kotter, Happy Days, All in the Family, Eight Is Enough, and Saturday Night Fever, while wearing bell bottoms and platform shoes. Around the dinner table, families would most likely be discussing the Equal Rights Amendment, which had just started gaining momentum. It was then that Mrs. Betty Friedan began her reign as Feminist-in-Chief of the National Organization of Women, advocating for abortions as a civil right. As a bored housewife, Mrs. Friedan spent her time encouraging her comrades in arms to strike for equality by not working during the day and ignoring wifely and familial duties in the evening as a way to make a political statement.
Mrs. Friedan graduated summa cum laude from Smith College with a degree in psychology. It wasn’t like Mrs. Friedan was excluded in any manner. She had a top-notch education and was not precluded from opportunities to pursue whatever she chose. The reality is that her push for women’s rights didn’t have a thing to do with “glass ceilings” or being excluded from anything. She was simply a women who “felt unfulfilled” and entitled. Yet the reaction to her “problem with no name” was to push women away from “family” to “enjoy being a woman.”
It was no longer enough for girls to have the same access to opportunities as the boys. Now girls were “victims” that the society was going to pigeon hole. And of women who actually chose to be “housewives,” Mrs. Friedan said, “They are in as much danger as the millions who walked to their own death in the concentration camps.”
Fortunately, there were strong women countervailing the dangerous feminist agenda. Among the better known were Mrs. Beverly LaHaye and Mrs. Phyllis Schafly. These women led exemplary lives that countered the feminists and completely unnerved them.
Mrs. Beverly LaHaye is the Founder and Chairman of Concerned Women for America, the largest public policy organization for women. She has long been recognized as a political and Christian leader. She is an accomplished author and hosted an award-winning, nationally syndicated daily radio program. To Mrs. LaHaye, however, it wasn’t her job that defined her, but her family, her husband, her children, her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren. She focused on her role as a pastor’s wife. Mrs. LaHaye clearly demonstrated how women could be feminine and fulfilled in womanly roles and still be leaders. She didn’t sacrifice her family or stop being a good wife. Rather, her fulfillment was based in the strength of her family.
Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly is the Founder and Chairman of Eagle Forum, a pro-family organization that she started in 1972. She is a longtime activist and lawyer. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts from Washington University in St. Louis, received her Master’s of Government from Harvard, and her Juris Doctorate from Washington University Law School. She has authored or edited over 20 books, does weekly radio commentaries, hosts a radio program once a week, and produces a monthly newsletter. Mrs. Schlafly was a wife (her husband passed away in 1993) and is mother to six children. She placed a premium on raising her family and considers that her greatest achievement. In 1992, she won the Illinois Mother of the Year award. She is well-known for her effective criticism of the Equal Rights Amendment. In fact, during a debate, Mrs. Friedan told Mrs. Schlafly: “[I] would like to burn you at the stake.”
It is confounding that the feminists continue to sharpen their claws against women who do not share their views. They have not learned that despite their control over media outlets, educational institutions, and political structures, the Equal Rights Amendment was defeated because women recognized they are not “victims” in society. Women like Mrs. LaHaye and Mrs. Schlafly continue to be shining examples to millions, because they are successful but recognize that it is their families and not their careers that define them.