If I had to choose a candidate for the person that has done more to set back the causes that support women than anyone else in the last 100 years, it would be Phyllis Schlafly.
With the support of arch-conservative groups, who were in turn supported by rich benefactors who are to this day too cowardly to come forward and admit their support, Schlafly spearheaded movements that spread misinformation about the Equal Rights Amendment, which is comprised of the following three sections:
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
Schlafly claimed that passing the ERA would allow the military to put women into combat zones (which it does now anyway), outlaw separate bathroom facilities for men and women,
The ERA was eventually passed in 35 of the required 38 states before ratification time ran out.
Schlafly was a member of the John Birch Society (hi, Fred!) but left not because she didn’t see communists behind every tree but because she felt that the Worldwide Communist Threat would come from outside the U.S. Schlafly soon thereafter formed The Eagle Forum, which still sponsors speakers, publishes books and pamphlets, and has a strong internet presence.
Schlafly firmly believed that a woman’s place was described succinctly by the Bible: home with the children, submissive to her husband’s wishes, and silent in the face of disagreement with men. (This was a joke in her case, with her political activism, her writing, and her frequent speech campaigns.
Schlafly is a strong advocate against feminism and women’s rights. Her tastes in anti-choice rhetoric takes many flavors; this is from a speech at Bates College:
“By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.”
She conveniently ignores the fact that a woman is a human being, entitled to the rights and privileges of human beings.
To top off this cavalcade of wingnuttery, let’s get two of them out on stage here, right now! Put your hands together for Michele and Phyllis!
Bachmann’s fangirlism for Schlafly is profuse:
“If I could just say a couple of words about Phyllis Schlafly, she is my heroine and my example as a forerunner…She truly is the mother of the modern conservative movement. I think she is the most important woman in the United States in the last one hundred years. Whatever Phyllis Schlafly says, it’s important that we listen, because she’s there on every issue, on every front. She is our hero, our heroine, our stalwart and I absolutely adore her. So God Bless you, my dear mentor and the person I hope to be some day.”
I don’t know about you, tovarisch, but I’m figuring if Phyllis Schlafly had had her way with American society, Michele Bachmann wouldn’t be in the House of Representatives, and she wouldn’t be running for president. She’d be back following the career her husband dictated and “raising” 23 more foster girls with eating disorders who make for convenient babysitters.