Feminism Meets Terrorism

views updated

Feminism Meets Terrorism


By: Phyllis Schlafly

Date: January 23, 2002

Source: Phyllis Schlafly. "Feminism Meets Terrorism" January 23, 2002. 〈http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/phyllisschlafly/2002/01/23/162218.html〉 (accessed March 14, 2006).

About the Author: Phyllis Schlafly is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Washington University. She holds a master's degree in political science from Harvard University, as well as a J.D. degree from Washington University Law School. A lawyer and syndicated columnist, she founded the national volunteer organization Eagle Forum in 1972. A best-selling author since 1964, Schlafly is considered a founding member of the national conservative movement. She has written over twenty books and was named one of the 100 most influential women of the twentieth century by Ladies Home Journal. Schlafly is an opponent of the radical feminist movement.


Feminism is a movement of diverse approaches that collectively focus on gender issues such as equal opportunities for men and women, promoting women's rights, and protecting women's interests. The roots of feminism in the United States can be traced to 1848, when the first Seneca Falls Convention was held in Seneca Falls, New York. The assembly produced a "declaration of sentiments" that called for full legal equality for women, including equal educational and commercial opportunities, the right to collect wages, equal compensation, and, most contentiously, the right to vote.

The feminist movement gained momentum in the United States and other countries. In 1919, the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified, giving women the right to vote. In the 1960s, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 ensured that men and women doing similar work would be paid equal wages; the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination against women in companies that employed more than twenty-five people.

As time went on, feminists began to demanded abortion rights, occupational upgrading of women, scrapping of all legal and social barriers to education, political influence, and economic power. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX of the Educational Amendments to the United States Code, which prohibited gender discrimination in federally funded education programs. Additionally, the law required colleges to award sports scholarships proportionally based on the number of male and female athletes in their programs.

Feminists have been criticized for many of these demands. One opponent of radical feminism—Phyllis Schlafly, condemns feminists who demand equal representation in positions that require considerable physical strength, in an article called "Feminisim Meets Terrorism."


One of the unintended consequences of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, was the dashing of feminist hopes to make America a gender-neutral or androgynous society. New York City's fireMEN dared to charge up the stairs of the burning Twin Towers, and the firefighters' death tally was: men 343, women 0.

It is a testament to their courage and skill that many thousands of people were successfully evacuated despite mass confusion. The fewer than 3,000 office workers who died were mostly trapped above the explosions and could not have been evacuated under any scenario.

The feminists had made repeated attempts to sex-integrate New York's fire department through litigation, even though the women could not pass the physical tests. They even persuaded a judge to rule that upper body strength is largely irrelevant to firefighting.

September 11th called for all the masculine strength that strong men could muster. Firefighting is clearly a job for real men to do the heavy-lifting, not affirmative-action women.

President George W. Bush sent our Special Forces to the rugged and remote Afghan hills and caves to get the terrorists, dead or alive. Fighting the Taliban is a job for real men.

When the national media interviewed some of our Marines, one of our guys said, "There's no place I'd rather be than here." America is fortunate that the warrior culture has survived 30 years of feminist fantasies and that some men are still macho enough to relish the opportunity to engage and kill the bad guys of the world.

Watching the war pictures on television, we almost expected to see "High Noon" sheriff Gary Cooper or John Wayne riding across the plains. I suggest the feminists go to see the new movie "Black Hawk Down" and reflect on the reality that women could not have done what our men did in Somalia.

For several decades, the feminists have been demanding that we terminate the discrimination that excludes women from "career advancement" in every section of the U.S. armed forces, assuring us that hand-to-hand combat is a relic of the past and that all our wars will now involve only pulling triggers and pushing buttons. Tell that to our troops who trudged over land mines and jagged rocks where there are not even any roads.

In the eighties and nineties, the feminist assault on the right to be a masculine man became increasingly obvious and hostile. It was not just a semantic parlor game when they insisted that the words manly, masculine, and gentleman be excised from our vocabulary.

The feminists are playing for keeps. They attacked the right to be a masculine man in the U.S. armed services, the kind of man who would rush into a burning building to save a woman or search the Afghan caves for Osama bin Laden.

The feminists have intimidated our military into using a training system based on gender-norming the tests, rewarding effort rather than achievement, and trying to assure that females are not "underrepresented" in officer ranks. It's bad enough that men are forbidden to question the double standards or preferential treatment given to women; it is dishonorable to induce them to lie about it.

The feminists have used the courts to try to criminalize masculinity. Feminist lawyers first created judge-made law to expand the statutory definition of sex discrimination to include sexual harassment, and they now prosecute sexual harassment on the basis of how a woman feels rather than what a man does.

The feminists' attack on the right to be a masculine man is in full swing at colleges and universities. Feminism is a major tenet of political correctness, and the female faculty are the watchdogs of speech codes.

Subservience to feminist orthodoxy on campuses is not only mandatory, it is nondebatable. Women's studies courses and many sociology courses are tools to indoctrinate college women in feminist ideology and lay a guilt trip on all men, collectively and individually.

The feminists use Title IX, not as a vehicle to ensure equal educational opportunity for women, but as a machete to destroy the sports at which men excel. Since 1993, 43 colleges have eliminated wrestling teams, 53 have eliminated golf, 13 have eliminated football, and the number of colleges offering men's gymnastics has dropped from 128 to 23.

The feminist battalions are even on the warpath against the right to be a boy. In elementary schools across America, recess is rapidly being eliminated, shocking numbers of little boys are drugged with psychosomatic drugs to force them to behave like little girls, and zero-tolerance idiocies are punishing boys for indulging in games of normal boyhood such as cops and robbers.

Of course, when you wipe out masculine men, you also eliminate gentlemen, the kind of men who would defend and protect a lady—like the gentlemen who stepped aside so that, of the people who survived the sinking of the Titanic, 94 percent of those in first-class and 81 percent of those in second-class were women.


Phyllis Schlafly notes above that after the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, no female firefighters died, while 343 male firefighters did. Such statistics, she posits, prove that women are not physically capable of enduring a firefighter's responsibilities. According to the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), fewer than 0.3 percent of fire fighters employed by them are women, which explains why there were no female casualties after the September 11 attacks. As of 2005, only 2.5 percent of fire fighters in the United States were women. Media reports indicated that soon after the attacks, women volunteers inundated ground zero to offer their services. Many of these—nurses, doctors, emergency medics, construction workers, and chaplains—contributed in the rescue efforts.

Schlafly also pointed out that women were not sent into combat against the Taliban in Afghanistan—because this is prohibited by law. However, women have served in the United States armed forces for over a hundred years. The Army Nurse Corps was created in 1901, marking the beginning of female enlistments in the army. Till the 1950s, women were mostly employed as nurses, telephone operators, or ground support staff. It was only during the Korean conflict that the military began to recruit women for active duty posts in the army, navy, and air force. Ten percent of U.S. soldiers serving in Afghanistan and Iraq in 2006 are women. They include engineers, medical personnel, truck drivers, pilots, weapon experts, and intelligence experts—positions that are considered extremely important. Several female army veterans emphasize that women must be considered at par with men in the armed forces—a practice that is rarely followed. They argue that women do not get as many opportunities to fight in a war as they are not provided with similar training, guidance, and counseling as male recruits.

Schlafly also argues that Title IX has destroyed a number of male collegiate wrestling, golf, football, and gymnastics teams. However, a March 2001 study undertaken by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that the Title IX does not require schools to abolish male athletic programs to add female teams. The report found that about eighty percent of schools added one or more women's sports teams in the 1990s, and more than two-thirds did so without discontinuing any existing teams. Experts claim that lack of interest has led to the elimination of male teams in colleges.

In February 2002, the National Wrestling Coaches Association, College Gymnastics Association, U.S. Track Coaches Association, and several other groups representing male athletes filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education alleging that Title IX regulations and polices were unconstitutional and unfair. However, on May 14, 2004, the District of Columbia Circuit Court dismissed the case, stating that there were no grounds for suing the Department of Education. The court observed that men's sports teams were not eliminated as a result of Title IX, or under pressure from female students. It also claimed that there was no reason to believe that the teams would be reinstated if Title IX was amended.


Web sites

American Association of University Women. "Equity in School Athletics" 〈http://www.aauw.org/issue_advocacy/actionpages/positionpapers/titleix_athletics.cfm〉 (accessed March 14, 2006).

Education Update Online. "Title IX Comes of Age: Eliminating Gender Discrimination" 〈http://www.educationupdate.com/archives/2004/apr04/issue/spot_titleix.html〉 (accessed March 14, 2006).

Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. Facts about Women in the Military, 1980–1990" 〈http://www.mith2.umd.edu/WomensStudies/GovernmentPolitics/Military/factsheet〉 (accessed March 14, 2006).

United States Department of Education. "Title IX: A Sea Change in Gender Equity in Education" 〈http://www.ed.gov/pubs/TitleIX/part3.html〉 (accessed March 14, 2006).

United States General Accounting Office. "Intercollegiate Athletics" 〈http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d01297.pdf〉 (accessed March 14, 2006).

Women in the Fire Service. "Beyond Ground Zero" 〈http://www.wfsi.org/resources/archive/article_archive.php?article=4〉 (accessed March 14, 2006).

Women's International Center. "Women's History in America" 〈http://www.wic.org/misc/history.htm〉 (accessed March 14, 2006).

Women's eNews, Inc. "Record Number of Female Soldiers Fall" 〈http://www.womensenews.org/article.cfm/dyn/aid/2226/context/cover〉 (accessed March 14, 2006).

About this article

Feminism Meets Terrorism

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article