Tag Archives: equal rights amendment

My Random Reply to a Feminist

I just can’t help myself- I just can’t. Most of the time I ignore feminists but on occasion I just have to reply. Seriously it’s always the same old tired argument that feminists make every time they see one of us “ignorant” anti-feminist women types who have apparently never read a feminist book in our lives. So, anyways, the rant was long enough to make a blog post out of. Enjoy (or not).

Night Owl” says:

“I would like to challene the writers to take a moment before condemning “all these ‘liberated’ women” to “miserable lives”. Before the women’s liberation movement, women were property, not individuals. A married woman could not have a checking account or a credit card in her own name. she was referred to as “Mrs. John Doe” rather than “Jane Doe.” The reason we submissive women have the luxury (yes, luxury) of ‘choosing’ a submissive lifestyle (and not being forced into one) is because of the work done by women and men in the civil rights and feminist movement.
Submission is not a black-or-white characteristic. It exists along a continuum from Gorean slave to the occasionally submissive switch. While I am not offended by your words, I ask you to please not pigeonhole me, a strong feminist woman AND a submissive, by your own personal experience of submission.”

————————–
Oh please. You feminists keep spouting off the same lies after lies. The reason married women were “Mrs. John Doe” and why they didn’t have credit cards in their own name was because husbands had the legal obligation to support their wives and married women had a right to be supported by their husbands. A married women could go to the store buying household necessities and her husband was legally obligated to pay. Being “Mrs. John Doe” instead of “Ms. Jane Doe” was a mark of HONOR not a status symbol for being inferior. It is only you feminists that downed housewives and the role of mothers as nurturers and knocked them off their pedestal and privileged position in society. Now look around you. Your husband can DESTROY your credit and he doesn’t have to support you even as the mother of his child. He can dump you whenever and not have to pay you a shred of alimony (oh, yes, here comes the feminist argument that men *never* payed their alimony. I’m sure you’ll be quoting Phyllis Chesler any moment now) and mothers are no longer even protected in child custody (hey, you didn’t want to be weak submissive nurturers, did you? And feminists are so concerned with men nurturing children these days they could care less about the natural and time honored role of mothers in young childrens lives) so don’t bank on being protected there. In fact, what you are saying is nothing more than lies that the media keeps promoting because they don’t want women to know the truth about our history and the fact that even in the oldest days of coverture even before Married Women’s Property Acts and the like married women DID have the option to control their own money (if they worked, but why would they want to when they were protected at home and honored in their roles as housewives and mothers?) and keep their own property if they so chose. My grandmothers owned property back in those *terrible* days before women’s lib. My maternal grandmother always had a career because it was a CHOICE she made, nobody forced her to stay home but also nobody forced her to be equally financially responsible for the family the way women are forced by LAW to be now because of women’s lib. My paternal grandmother stayed home until the kids went off to high school. Nobody put them down. Women were never property and I mean NEVER. I have traced back our laws and traditions back hundreds of years to the laws of England and never were women dogs or slaves and to say that is a complete misinterpretation of history, a bald-faced lie. There isn’t a single thing that women have gained from women’s lib. No-fault divorce legislation and the ERA (which thankfully never passed) that feminists pushed for have robbed women of their rights and choices. The only “choice” gained by anyone was the choice of men to no longer have to accept their rightful duties towards women and children. The choice of husbands not to have to financially support their wives. I don’t know why I’m arguing with a feminists in the first place because you all are just a broken record, spewing out the same things the way you’ve been trained all of your life. And if you wish to tell me how feminists don’t hate housewives, save your breath. I would be willing to bet us “submissive” women know more about your feminism than you feminists do and that’s exactly why we hate it that much. I refer to myself as Mrs. ********* ******* because it is tradition and tradition protects and honors women much better than any liberation movement cooked up by a bunch of career oriented feminist women.

My Review of “Why We Lost the ERA”

Review of “Why We Lost the ERA” by Jane Mansbridge

I give this book five stars not because I agree with Mansbridge and the feminists (I strongly disagree), but because of the information contained in the book. Written in the late 80s, this book is 100% relevant to women today. This book finely showcases the absolute stupidity of the modern feminist movement. Though Mansbridge does state her opinion quite clearly in the book, she does attempt to keep it neutral when discussing the pros and cons of the ERA. She conveniently tells her readers to go ahead and skip to page such and such twice in the book (probably so her female audience wouldn’t read about how badly feminism has actually screwed them over- I didn’t skip ahead but read the entire thing). She goes on for nearly two hundred pages about all the ways in which the ERA could be interpreted to hurt women and goes into detail about past Supreme Court decisions that could (could being the key word here) effect how the ERA would be interpreted. Pretty much, it would offer no benefit to women the only reason the feminists wanted it was because of what it symbolized (a societal affirmation of the feminist perspective). Never mind that the amendment itself doesn’t even mention women. All it would have done is invalidate all laws that protected and favored women (alimony, child custody, child support, statutory rape, different treatment of unwed mothers and fathers, the draft, combat service, etc…). ERA or not, feminists have continuously gotten it their way, which she mentions in the book. From the book:

 

“From the beginning, ‘equal rights’ meant ending special benefits. An ERA would have made unconstitutional the protective legislation that socialists and social reformers like Florence Kelley, frustrated by the lack of a strong working-class movement in America, had struggled to erect in order to protect at least women and children from the worst ravages of capitalism…Nonetheless, the ERA never came close to passing until 1950 and 1953, when the U.S. Senate passed it, but with the ‘Hayden rider,’ which provided that the Amendment ‘shall not be construed to impair any rights, benefits, or exemptions now or hereinafter conferred by law upon persons of the female sex.’ In both years the House of Representatives recessed without a vote. Because the women’s organizations supporting the ERA knew that special benefits were incompatible with equal rights, they had tried to block the amended ERA in the House and were relieved when their efforts succeeded.”

 
“The Supreme Court’s extension of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to include women meant that by 1982 the Court had declared unconstitutional, either directly or presumptively, almost all the laws that proponents in the 1972 Congressional debates had said the ERA would change. The major exceptions were all-male draft registration, which because of the ERA’s legislative history would almost certainly have been declared unconstitutional if the ERA had been ratified, and certain laws designed to benefit women rather than men.” (87)

 
“From the very beginning of the modern women’s movement in the mid-1960s, feminists had been ideologically opposed to, or at best ambivalent about, homemaking as a full time career. NOW’s founding statement of purpose, in 1966, stated:

 
‘We believe that a true partnerships between the sexes demands a different concept of marriage, an equitable sharing of the responsibilities of home and children and of the economic burdens of their support.’

 
While NOW’s word ‘equitable’ was not nearly as strong as the more radical groups’ demands for ‘equal’ sharing, NOW’s ‘different concept’ of marriage still implied an androgynous division of labor, in which men took half the responsibility for child care and housework and women took half the responsibility for bringing in money. This position became not just an implication but an article of faith for later feminists…

 
…The very existence of full-time homemakers was incompatible with many goals of the women’s movement, like the equal sharing of political and economic power. Women can never hold half the economically and politically powerful positions in the country if a greater proportion of women than men withdraw from competition for those positions. More important, if even 10 percent of American women remain full-time homemakers, this will reinforce traditional views of what women ought to do and encourage other women to become full-time homemakers at least while their children are very young…Thus the more full-time homemakers there are, the harder it will be to break traditional expectations that homemaking ought to be a woman’s career. This means that no matter how any individual feminist might feel about child care and housework, the movement as a whole had reasons to discourage full-time homemaking.” (99-100)

 
“The typical NOW member had not been born in Illinois and did not necessarily expect to spend her life there. In my local NOW chapter, many of the members were recent migrants to the city, at least half were under forty, several were lesbians, and many were unmarried. ” (169)

 
“Pro-ERA marches and demonstrations also provided important opportunities for autonomous action. In the early days of the ERA struggle, pro-ERA demonstrations were open to all. As a consequence, almost every demonstration had a socialist and a lesbian contingent, with banners proclaiming their identities as well as their support for the ERA. After considerable debate, NOW decided not to allow socialist and lesbian banners in its ERA demonstrations. While many disagreed with this decision, it was explicit and relatively participatory.” (131)

 
“From the point of view of the movement as a whole, each organization, as well as each individual, was also an autonomous actor…Now could not keep the president and vice-president of ERA Illinois from attending a Republican fund-raising dinner. ERA Illinois could not keep NOW from calling a demonstration in the last days of the legislative session.” (131)

 
“During this moratorium, feminists will need to discuss what would be best for all women in the realms of combat, school athletics, prisons, and sex-blind legislation generally. Since about 1980, as more women have experienced the results of gender-neutral legislation like no-fault divorce and joint custody, some feminists have begun to articulate a critique of egalitarianism that looks much like Marx’s critique of bourgeois equality. They argue that in a society where one group holds most of the power, ‘neutral’ laws usually benefit the powerful group. From this perspective, a constitutional amendment that bars women from using their electoral majority and moral leverage to pass laws explicitly redressing the traditional balance of power may actually help maintain male supremacy. Although the ERA’s direct legal mandate for gender neutrality would probably have been balanced by its indirect political mandate for legislation and judicial interpretations that benefited women, its defeat still raises, in a different form, the questions that Florence Kelley raised in the 1920s. An open discussion of these issues among feminists would probably make some feminists more aware of the concerns that motivated mainstream legislators to vote against the ERA.” (197)

 

 

© 2013 What’s Wrong With Equal Rights. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

Ban on women in Combat to be Lifted: The Feminist War on Women Continues

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/01/23/panetta-opens-combat-roles-to-women/

Right now our rivals are celebrating that the restrictions on women serving in combat have been lifted. The feminists are celebrating this as another “milestone” to women’s equality. But what everyone must understand, assuming they are not already informed, is that this decision sets a dangerous precedent for ALL women. It also is dangerous for the security of our nation and all of our service members- both men and women- who are already serving. Almost certainly, women will be subject to any future draft and now that all the barriers to women serving in combat have been removed there will be nothing protecting young women from being thrust into combat alongside men. At this point I will not go into detail about biology or the simple facts of human nature. What must be understood is that this is what feminists have always wanted since the women’s movement burst onto the scenes in the 1960s and 1970s. This was also the major thrust behind the Equal Rights Amendment. Feminists were relentless about passing the ERA. When opponents suggested a compromise in the 1950s with the Hayden rider and later with the Wiggins amendments, the feminists would hear none of it. There would be no compromise for them. They simply would not settle for the Equal Rights Amendment if it meant that women would retain the rights, benefits and exemptions they currently held under the law- benefits such as exempting women from the draft and combat service and laws maintaining that it be the primary obligation of fathers to support their children, as well as other laws regarding insurance, statutory rape and different treatment of unwed mothers vs unwed fathers. The period between 1972 and 1982 saw U.S Supreme Court decisions change nearly every law the ERA was designed to change. The only exception was the draft. In the 1981 case of Rostker v. Goldberg, 453 U.S. 57, every feminist organization around teamed up with men’s organizations when a group of men from Philadelphia protested the draft because it did not include women. Though feminists were generally opposed to the draft, they took up the case anyways because to not do so would be to abandon their goal of male-female fungibility. They lost their case in a 6-3 decision siding against the plaintiffs. Then Justice William Rehnquist dissented “The Constitution requires that Congress treat similarly situated persons similarly, not that it engage in gestures of superficial equality.” The Court concluded that drafting women was unreasonable because women were not eligible for combat and the main purpose of raising troops was to engage in combat; under this reasoning women could be excluded for the purpose of military readiness.

Now feminists have truly abolished all remaining protections for women. This decision to lift combat restrictions sets a dangerous precedent for all women- the women already in service who do not wish to be in combat and normal civilian women should there be a draft in the future. The time to act is now. For the sake of all women living today and the sake of future generations of women, TWRAs must make a stand. Please share our message. The war on women- the REAL war on women which comes from feminists- and the war on reasonableness must be stopped. Feminism must be brought to its knees.

The Corruptions of Feminism Part II: Male-Female Fungibility

“When I went to the hearings for the Equal Rights Amendment and I heard what they were saying, and they had absolutely no benefit to offer women, but we could see a lot of disadvantages in it…What that amendment would do is to make all laws sex-neutral. Well, the typical, classic law that is not sex-neutral is the draft registration law. And we were still in the Vietnam War in 1972. I had sons and daughters about age 18. My daughters thought this was the craziest thing they ever heard. You’re going to have a new amendment for women? And the first thing is they’ll have to sign up for the draft like their brothers. Now, that was an unsaleable proposition.”[i]

Thus began one of the biggest anti-feminist fights in history. After the 1960s feminism had taken a radical turn. No longer were these new wave feminists concerned with family life for women as they had been in the past. Apparently to this new wave of feminism abortion, equal pay and women in combat were big enough issues that they were willing to harm millions of women to get what they wanted. I mean, according to them life was so miserable for women and all women were confined to the single option of becoming breeding machines. According to them, women were the inferior sex and her position in the family was an inferior one. As we’ve gone over before, this is about as far from the truth as it gets.

For many women before the modern feminist movement, family life took center stage in a woman’s life. Not because women had no other choice, but because they believed their families were more important than any amount of money they could bring in. Contrary to the tales feminist love to tell, women have always had the right to own property, pursue careers, and choose who they want to marry. In the memory of nobody living today have women not had the right to divorce an abusive husband or retain custody of children or pursue a career of their choosing. In the 19th century laws were more restrictive of married women, but all married women had options to bypass the restrictions of coverture. In regards to property, Married Women’s Property Acts were passed in states in the mid-1800s to allow a woman to maintain control over any property she came into the marriage with. Even before these acts, however, there were ways around the law:

“However, the common law also had for a long time been modified by arrangements in equity which provided loopholes. Wealthy fathers who did not have faith in their prospective sons-in law and wished to endow their daughters with an inheritance they could use free from their husbands’ control found a way to accomplish that. They established trusts which separated legal ownership from use. A trustee held title to the property and kept it out of the hands of the woman’s husband; the woman, however, had use of the property. Through such legal fictions, some women acquired the fruits of property ownership.”[ii]

The right to vote was a complicated thing and laws generally varied state to state. Many men did not have the right to vote unless they were property owners. The Fifteenth Amendment guaranteed the right to vote regardless of race or other previous condition of servitude (as the Amendment reads). Although many states did allow women to vote, the 19th Amendment would not go into the Constitution until the early 1900s. Again, the right to vote has nothing to do with the modern feminist movement. The Equal Rights Amendment was written by a suffragist, but the Amendment was ignored by most feminists of the time who did not believe in male-female fungibility the way feminists from the 1960s onward believe.

Women’s lib was about removing protective legislation for women that early feminists fought so hard to achieve for women. The most notable assault of women’s lib came from the so-called “Women’s Rights Project” of the American Civil Liberties Union, of which premier feminist lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg was the director (she was first a volunteer lawyer for the ACLU before The Project really took off). In a succession of Supreme Court cases, she sought plaintiffs (mostly male) from all around the country to remove any legal exemption or protection that women had. In the words of Phyllis Schlafly, “Ginsburg was vehement in her desire to abolish any legal preference or protection that women might have”[iii] The cases of Taylor vs. Louisiana, Ballard vs. United States, Kahn vs. Chevin, Califano vs Webster, Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld , Orr v. Orr, Rostker v. Goldberg, Michael M. v. Superior Court of Sonoma City and numerous others were all designed to take critical protections and exemptions away from women- all in the name of “women’s rights” and “gender equality.”

In the case of Orr v Orr, the majority opinion of the justices was,

“…There is no question that [he] bears a burden he would not bear were he female…the old notion that generally it is the man’s primary responsibility to provide a home and its essentials, can no longer justify a statute that discriminates on the basis of gender”[iv]

Well, dear feminists, the reason why the obligation of support is on the husband is because women are the ones who carry all of the physical burdens of the sex act and the main purpose of marriage is for men and women to reproduce in a stable family unit- thus sex is the constitution of marriage. Women, by nature of our biology, bear burdens we otherwise would not if we were born male. No amount of legislation can change that. That is how we are designed, and because of that our laws placed the obligation of support onto husbands and fathers. Even if a mother was unfit to retain custody of her children, the obligation of support was still that of the father and the obligation to support the wife was that of the husband before feminists burst onto the scene wanting the false notion of “gender equality.” Quoting Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly again:

“Since the women are the ones who bear the babies and there’s nothing we can do about that, our laws and customs then make it the financial obligation of the husband to provide the support. It is his obligation and his sole obligation. And this is exactly and precisely what we will lose if the Equal Rights Amendment is passed.”[v]

This particular case caused all remaining states to remove the exemptions that women once held. Now, dear feminists, forcing extra legal obligations onto women is not so much allowing her the choice to work as it is forcing her to work under the penalty of law. Explain to me again how that is an example of the “choices” you promote for women..?

“As a practical matter, the Court’s ruling had widespread repercussions in moving the law to a gender-neutral position. Ten other states that maintained divorce laws similar to Alabama’s were forced to change their laws as a result of the Court’s decision. Now courts can require both financially able husbands and wives to pay alimony to needy spouses at divorce. And laws concerning child custody, attorney’s fees, and child support arrangements were also considerably affected by the decision as they were reshaped to recognize the new economic and caretaking roles of both men and women in the America family.”[vi]

Feminists see cases such as this in a favorable light. They praise equal treatment. I mean, how dare us suggest that husbands should support their wives? Of course, women should be forced into the workforce to bear the burdens of men on top of all of the biological burdens women bear, burdens which men have never shared- Soviet Union egalitarian policies at their finest.

Thanks to feminism, we now have constant gender wars and most in the Western world don’t even see marriage as a necessary thing for having sex or starting a family. Marriage today is basically nothing more than cohabitation with insurance benefits. So, why not just cohabit in the first place? Thanks to the gender wars that feminists started, a woman’s place within the family is not secured, nor are her natural roles valued. Thanks to feminists, a woman is viewed as lazy and a worthless leech unless she joins the workforce and becomes an “equal partner” within the marriage (as if she wasn’t already a partner of just as much, if not even more, worth as her husband before).

Feminists hate housewives. Oh, they say they don’t really have a problem with a woman staying home for a little while to raise her kids. After all, many of them say they do it themselves. But, those same feminists will turn around and still believe a woman is lazy if she expects financial support from her husband for her lifetime.

Thanks to feminists traditional women now have another enemy: the MRM (Men’s Rights Movement). They too want gender-neutral laws to further avoid the responsibility of breadwinner for the family. They claim to be anti-feminist (which really doesn’t make much sense, as feminism has handed them all the things they claim to want right on a silver platter and feminists often take their side on the issues, in fact feminists have teamed up with them in the past to hurt women).

There appears to be two major groups of MRAs- ones that are traditional and those who just plain and simply hate women. The latter often use acronyms for themselves such as “MGTOW” or “Men Going Their Own Way.” To be fair, the feminist movement was all about women going their own way and breaking away from dependence upon men. So, once again, thanks feminists for the current mindset of our men today. You feminists don’t want to be supported and they don’t want to support you. I hope you enjoy it.

Another thing that puzzles me about a lot of them though is that some of them want women in the home yet complain about paying alimony and complain when the mother keeps the kids. Well boys, as the saying goes, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Unilateral (or “no-fault”) divorce is bad news for all of us all and women are feeling the sting of it too. But these boys conveniently forget (or maybe they never understood in the first place) that traditional family law gave numerous preferences and advantages to women (provided the woman was faithful and had committed no grave wrong against the husband):

“Traditional divorce law perpetuated the sex- based division of roles and responsibilities enshrined in traditional legal marriage: the wife’s domestic responsibilities and the husband’s obligation to provide support. Although traditional family law assumed that the husbands support would be provided in a lifelong marriage, if the marriage did not endure and if the wife was virtuous, she was nevertheless promised alimony- a means of continued support. Alimony thus perpetuated the husband’s responsibilities for economic support and the wife’s right to be supported in return for her domestic services. It therefore maintained at least part of the basic reciprocity in the legal marriage contract.

Traditional divorce laws also reaffirmed the sex-based division of roles with respect to children: the husband remained responsible for their economic support, the wife for their care. All states, by statute or by case law, gave preference to the wife as the appropriate custodial parent after divorce, and all states gave the husband the primary responsibility for his children’s economic support.

Traditional divorce law helped sanction the spouses’ conventional roles and responsibilities in marriage- by both punishment and reward. On the punishment side, if a wife was found guilty of adultery, cruelty, or desertion, she would have to pay for her wrongdoings by being denied alimony (and sometimes custody and property as well). And if the husband was at fault, he would be punished through awards of property, alimony, and child support to his ex-wife.

On the reward side, traditional divorce law promised “justice” for those who fulfilled their marital obligations. It guaranteed support for the wife who devoted herself to her family, thus reinforcing the desirability and legitimacy of the wife’s role as homemaker and the husband’s role as supporter. And the law assured the husband that he would not have to support a wife who betrayed or failed him. Justice in this system was the assurance that the marriage contract would be honored. If not, the “bad” spouse would be punished, the “good” spouse rewarded, and the husband’s obligation to support his wife (if she was good) reinforced.”[vii]

The feminist movement and the subsequent changes in family life, along with the passing of “no-fault” divorce laws all across the nation dramatically altered the social, legal and economic climate of our civilization. As we have seen before in history, however, egalitarian societies do not work. And anyone or any group of people who is in favor of these ideals and in favor of male-female fungibility has no respect for the traditional woman, no matter if they try to convince the public that they are not looking to harm the homemaker of force unnecessary burdens onto women and families. We have seen egalitarian ideals and the breakdown of the nuclear family crash civilizations before in history. Rome is a historical example so breathtakingly similar to ours that we can learn from. There are also plenty of 20th century examples our civilization can learn from (such as Soviet Russia after the bolsheviks took power). George Gilder demonstrates quite poetically how gender relations can either make or break a society. If women will begin to listen, maybe there is a chance. But, as an unknown author so exclaimed: “Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it. Those who do learn history are doomed to watch helplessly while everyone else repeats it.”

“The woman’s financial superiority thus leads to a society of sexually and economically predatory males. The sexual power of women, if combined with economic power, leaves many young men with no civilized way to achieve sexual identity. If they cannot be providers, they resort to the primal male assets, wielding muscle and phallus for masculine identity and attacking the fabric of society…What Mead concluded from all her other studies as well, the New Gunea experience affirms: Males always require a special arena of glorified achievement from which women are excluded. Their concern with sexual differentiation is obsessive. Men can be passive without grave psychological damage only if the women are passive also. Aggressive and competitive women, unconcerned with motherhood, produce more ruthless men- and a society so competitive that it disintegrates. Men, on the other hand, when passively preoccupied with child-rearing, become incapable of effective sexual behavior and paranoid about aggressive women. A society with a great emphasis on child-rearing will, however, be exceedingly generous and cooperative. In none of the tribes Mead studied is there the slightest evidence that roles, however created, through culture or biology, can be switched back and forth or that the aggressiveness and volatility of males can be ignore by any society”[viii]

 

Notes:

[i] http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=134981902

[ii] Jacob, H. “Silent Revolution: The Transformation of Divorce Law in the United States,” p. 107. The University of Chicago Press. 1988.

[iii] Schlafly, P., “Feminist Fantasies,” p. 139. Spence, 2003

[iv] Cushman, C. “Supreme Court Decisions and Women’s Rights,” p. 79. CQ Press, 2001.

[v] http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=134981902

[vi] Cushman, C., “Supreme Court Decisions and Women’s Rights,”p. 81. CQ Press, 2001.

[vii] Weitzman, L.J., “The Divorce Revolution: The Unexpected Social and Economic Consequences for Women and Children in America,” p. 11;14. The Free Press, 1985

[viii] Gilder, G. “Men and Marriage.” Pelican, 1993.

 

 

 

 

© 2013 What’s Wrong With Equal Rights. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

Feminist Myths II

Myth: Before women’s liberation there were no laws protecting women.

Before women’s liberation there were actually hundreds of laws that benefited and protected women. Now it is important to stop right here and understand that the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s had absolutely nothing in common with the early feminists of the 19th century. These early feminists were trying to give women basic rights and protections that the feminist movement of the 60s-70s would ultimately take away from women. It is very essential to note that most of the women living at the time of the “first wave” of feminism in the 1800s probably did not see themselves as victims or “second class” in any way. Even when it came to the suffragist movement (which really should be put in a different category separate from the feminist movement) women stood on opposing sides. They were both suffragists and anti-suffragists.

“Under the old laws of coverture, the husband was held completely liable for the actions and well being of his wife.

“Under coverture rules, a woman could not make contracts; write wills; sue or be sued in court; or own property such as money, clothing, and household goods- these belonged solely to the ‘head of household,’ the husband. This meant that if the wife worked for pay for someone else, her husband owned the wages that she earned…”[i]

In the words of William Blackstone in 1765:

“By Marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated into that of the husband; under whose wing, protection and cover, she performs everything…and her condition during her marriage is called coverture.”[ii]

However, “even in the old Common Law tradition, man and wife were not so merged that women had no legal identity. The wife’s position was not that of a possession but of her husband’s ward. She could, for example, maintain property rights, though they were limited by her husband’s authority.”[iii] Also, along with being head and master of the house, “the husband is bound to provide his wife with necessaries by law, as much as himself; and if he contracts debts for them, he is obliged to pay them…..If the wife be indebted before marriage, the husband is bound afterwards to pay the debt.”[iv]

Before women’s liberation the laws that protected women were numerous. Because our society understood that the reality for women is, and always has been, different than the reality for men, our laws and customs gave women preference and protections in many areas of the law. Divorce could not be obtained just because one party wanted to walk away or got bored and yes there were laws protecting women should she need to divorce her husband because he had been abusive. Many today distort this part of our history by saying a woman was property before women’s liberation and couldn’t get away from abusive husbands. In the 1700s and early 1800s such things might occur, but, as stated above, women gained rights and protections in the mid to late 19th century. Women were protected. Family wages laws were enacted to ensure a man could easily support his wife and children on one income, the maternal preference in child custody cases was put into law to ensure that young children would not be taken from their mothers in the event of divorce (unwed fathers did not have rights, but occasionally did gain the right to visitation), and multiple other laws protecting widows, wives, mothers and women in general.

“Before the feminist movement burst on the scene in the 1970s, there were literally hundreds of laws that gave advantages or protections to women based on society’s commonsense recognition of the facts of life and human nature. These included the prohibition against statutory rape, the Mann act, the obligation of the husband to support his wife and provide her with a home, special protections for widows…and laws that made it a misdemeanor to use obscene or profane language in the presence of a woman”[v]

There were numerous protections that women had under the law and numerous rights. These rights were there before the feminist movement of the 60s and 70s. The feminist movement of the 60s and 70s was nothing more than an attempt to push women out of the home and into the workforce and destabilize society. Whether or not women actually enjoyed having careers was inconsequential.[vi] In order to get women into the workforce so there would be more workers for the government to tax the family had to be destroyed and all laws that favored and protected women abolished (all in the name of “equality” of course). Instead of wives and mothers being protected and husbands and fathers having the responsibility for supporting and protecting their wives and children, a new code was developed to make wives and mothers equally financially liable and divorce laws were liberalized. The main method of achieving this was the Equal Rights Amendment. But even though it failed, it didn’t matter. Feminist lawyers were still able to get laws gender-neutralized both on the state and federal level.

“Because of women’s rational fear that they might become comparatively destitute if they were divorced, our no-fault divorce laws exerted tremendous pressure on women to decline the housewife’s role. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) would have served that same goal. By the end of the campaign for enactment, the amendment’s only real purpose was to compound further the pressures to drive all women into the work force. As Jane Mansbridge has noted, decisions of the United States Supreme Court had, by 1982, already changed almost all the laws the ERA was designed to change. The amendment’s major legal effect would have been to subject women to the draft and combat service and invalidate certain laws that benefited women; supporters could point to little else they claimed was discriminatory. But what the amendment had come to represent-and the reason its enactment seemed crucial to the women’s movement- was a societal affirmation of the feminist perspective.”[vii]

“‘What was at stake in the battle over the ERA was the legitimacy of women’s claim on men’s incomes’; the force of feminism, Ehrenreich concedes, was to ‘allow men to think they have no natural obligation to support women.’ Mary Jo Bane anticipated that the ERA would encourage reexamination of marital roles to ‘stimulate questioning and perhaps change behavior,’ thereby fostering families where wives are no more likely than husbands to take time from the workplace to rear children.”[viii]

Ultimately what the feminist movement of the 70s did was bring women’s rights back to the old days where women were not protected and their husbands could once again leave and take the kids, their wages, and property. But with corruption so rampant our laws don’t care who gets hurt or taken advantage of- in this regard the sexes are indeed equal today- just as long as families don’t stay together. If women cannot be protected because it would mean sex discrimination, women can be fined, thrown into jail, taxed and the elite can profit off of it. Broken apart families leave a civilization vulnerable. It opens the way to massive government interference in people’s private lives and the government begins to decide how children will be raised, what they will be taught, and where they will live. Women view careers as more important than simply being wives and mothers and men become unmotivated and refuse to marry and take responsibility for women and children. Women’s lib was about getting children out of the care of nurturing mothers and out from under the guidance and protection of patriarchal men.

Ultimately, women’s liberation was never about women’s rights. Women have gained in the area of reproduction and marketplace achievement but have sacrificed their happiness and security in the process. Mostly women’s liberation was about taking protections and rights away from women to achieve a gender-neutral society.

“The feminist quest for female fungibility with males has led the women’s movement to support the invalidation of laws benefiting and protecting women. This was the thrust, for example, of litigation directed by Ruth Bader Ginsburg when she was director of the Women’s Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union and , often using male plaintiffs, secured invalidation of laws that favored women.”[ix]

Of course, feminists see this as an example of “women’s rights.” Those such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg see protecting any group of people, particularly women, to be harmful because it locks us into stereotypes. Nothing less than complete equality would suffice for feminists.

 

Notes:

[i] Cushman, C. Supreme Court Decisions and Women’s Rights. CQ Press, 2001.
[ii] ibid
[iii] http://www.chroniclesmagazine.org/2010/09/29/the-wrongs-of-womens-rights-ii-coverture/
[iv] Ibid.
[v] Schlafly, P., Feminist Fantasies. p.144, Spence, 2003.
[vi] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NN05DHO9bJw
[vii] Graglia, C.F., Domestic Tranquility: a brief against feminism. P. 137, Spence, 1998.
[viii] ibid., 138.
[ix] ibid., 295.

 

© 2012 What’s Wrong With Equal Rights. Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.