"If there's one thing feminists love, it's divorce - they consider it liberating." That's just one of the claims Phyllis Schlafly and her co-author Suzanne Venker make in their new book, The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know - And Men Can't Say, to be released this March.
Schlafly--political activist, bestselling author, syndicated columnist, radio personality--is often called the grande dame of the conservative movement (she is perhaps best known for her successful campaign to stop passage of the Equal Rights Amendment and founding of the national volunteer organization known as the Eagle Forum). Venker, a.k.a. "No Bull Mom," is author of 7 Myths of Working Mothers and a regular contributor to NewsReal.
In a series of e-mails and telephone conversations over the last few weeks from their offices in St. Louis, Missouri, they weighed in on marriage, divorce and feminism in our society: Why do you claim feminists love divorce?
Phyllis: Their own writings reveal that feminists sought liberation from home, husband, family, childbirth, children, and the role of fulltime homemaker. They wanted to be independent of men and liberated from the duties of marriage and motherhood. So, their first legislative goal was the adoption of easy-to-get divorce. They were behind California's adoption of unilateral divorce, which then spread across the country.
So why do so many marriages fail, not just those of feminists?
Suzanne: Living in a culture in which people break vows easily makes it difficult to keep one's own vows. The modern generation was groomed for an independent life. Marriage and motherhood are not something to which young women have been taught to aspire. Instead the women in their lives tell them to focus solely on their career. The result is women don't think of marriage and motherhood as fulfilling in and of itself. It's silly to think there's something wrong with being in the kitchen--everybody has to eat! Sandra Bullock's claim marriage is the end of who you are is indicative of the modern generation's defeatist attitude toward marriage.
What do you believe is the single biggest obstacle to lasting marriages?
Suzanne: Americans' attitude. We have this notion that "Hey, we can always get divorced if it doesn't work out." This is in stark contrast to the attitude in previous generations, where marriage was assumed to be a lifelong, irrevocable commitment. In my twenties, I had what we now call a "starter marriage": one that lasts less than five years and does not produce children. My ex-husband and I both had considerable doubts, and I distinctly recall our conversation, before we got married, about the fact that we could always get divorced. How pitiful is that?