Antifeminism 101 with Phyllis Schlafly and Gwyneth Paltrow
by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux
I can't believe we're still listening to this woman. Phyllis Schlafly, who was at the forefront of the campaign to stop the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (which was intended to ensconce gender equality in our constitution - what a crazy idea!) in the early 1980s, was interviewed in Time yesterday and is still spouting views that are breathtakingly wrong and intolerant. According to Schlafly, "[Feminists] have given us divorce, millions of fatherless children and the idea that it's O.K. to be a single mom." She goes on to say that had the ERA been passed, gay marriage would have been legal 25 years ago, directly causing the collapse of the American family, despite the fact that she has a gay son (the gay community tried to make a "thing" about this at one point, she says, but her son understands that keeping marriage rights from people of his sexual orientation is part of the "need for a stable society", so it's ok). But really, the problem isn't with those scary gays - it's with feminists. "The feminist movement," says Schlafly, "is not about success for women. Feminists don't honor successful women. You never hear them talking about Margaret Thatcher. Take Condoleezza Rice."
Right. So wanting women to be paid equally - not about success for women. Wanting women to have control over their own bodies - definitely not about women's independence. Wanting women to have sexual autonomy - really about wanting women to be victims. Let's just venerate Condoleezza Rice because she is a woman (not because we agree with her policies) and forget that women routinely face job discrimination, our reproductive rights are constantly under attack, we are essentialized in motherhood and racialized and sexualized because of our gender.
And while I'm angry: let me just say, Gwyneth Paltrow's blog, Goop, makes me want to tear my hair out and claw the walls. Here's a choice sample from Paltrow's January newsletter:
"It is that time of year, folks. I need to lose a few pounds of holiday excess. Anyone else? I like to do fasts and detoxes a couple of times during the year, the most hardcore one being the Master Cleanse I did last spring. It was not what you would characterize as pretty. Or easy. It did work, however. As I do not wish to subsist on lemon water in the middle of winter, I asked my doctor, a detox diet specialist, for the guidelines he uses to achieve a good detox that is not as hallucinogenic (in a bad way) as the Master Cleanse. He actually thinks that the Master Cleanse can be dangerous because the liver is not supported by the nutrients it needs."
Really? Only drinking lemon water can be dangerous for your body? And are there diets that can be hallucinogenic in a "good way"? Paltrow claims that her blog is there to help us "nourish the inner aspect" but it sounds more like she wants us to "nourish the inner eating disorder." I never thought I would say this, but I wish that Gwyneth Paltrow would start making movies again.
Thanks to Aku for the tips!