Feminism has hurt men and women, children, and marriage. Phyllis Schlafly’s not going to say “I told you so,” but rather seek to answer the question, “So what do we do about it?” She has teamed up with her niece, Suzanne Venker, in the new book The Flipside of Feminism, a handbook to picking up the cultural pieces. Venker and Schlafly talked to National Review Online’s Kathryn Jean Lopez about the flipside and the F-word.
KATHRYN JEAN LOPEZ: What exactly is the flipside of feminism?
SUZANNE VENKER: The Flipside of Feminism is a roadmap for Americans who know (but cannot admit publicly) that feminism has been a disaster. Countless problems in our society — the STDs, abortion, and heartache associated with casual sex; failed marriages, the neglect of children, men’s demotion from being vital citizens to downright expendable — have resulted from this large-scale social movement to change America from a traditional, family-centered country to a country in which female empowerment takes center stage.
: Your subtitle says, “What Conservative Women Know” — don’t liberal women know feminism doesn’t work, too? Isn’t it only natural to figure it out?
VENKER: Women who consider themselves liberal feel beholden to feminism because feminism is associated, rightly so, with liberalism. Even if they have doubts, they think they still owe feminists for creating opportunities. Many conservative women think this, too — that’s how insidious the feminist movement has been. That feminists are not responsible for liberating women is a new concept to these folks. In Flipside, we demonstrate that the conservative worldview is the antithesis of the feminist worldview and that being a feminist does not mean being strong, independent, and powerful. We believe those qualities better describe the conservative woman — that’s the reason for the subtitle. As Mark Levin wrote about our book: “Those who consider themselves ‘socially liberal but fiscally conservative’ will re-examine their attitudes after reading this book.”
LOPEZ: Men live in America, too. Who is putting them in burkas or otherwise keeping them from speaking up in one way or another?
VENKER: Feminists do a great job of pretending to be victims, but in fact they wield power in every societal arena. As a result, men are intimidated — and it isn’t natural for men to fight women anyway.
LOPEZ: How has feminism been most harmful to women?
VENKER: By making women believe they are victims of an oppressive patriarchy and that marriage and motherhood can’t possibly bring women happiness, or can at least be postponed indefinitely. As Kay Hymowitz wrote in Manning Up, feminists taught women that a career in the marketplace “equals glamour, passion, and a life fully lived.”
LOPEZ: And what about men? How has it hurt them?
VENKER: In Chapter 7, we explain how feminism affects males from the time they’re schoolboys to adulthood. When they’re young, their needs take a back seat in school; when they go to college, they’re adversely affected by the banning of many male sports; when they enter the workforce, they’re subject to sexual-harassment suits; and when they become husbands and fathers, wives have the upper hand as far as how the children are raised and, in the case of divorce, the family courts are so infected with the notion of women as victims that mothers can take custody of the children and reduce the father to a mere twice-a-month visitor in the lives of his own children. The father also has to fork over most of his income to a family he rarely sees.