Roger Marsh: In the 1960s, the feminist movement arose with the goal to free women from the perceived oppressive lifestyles they were living. However, this radical ideology eventually did much more to hurt the lives of women than to help them. The false promises of free love and sexual liberation were actually a guise to attack traditional values, gender roles, virginity, marriage and the exclusive intimacy between spouses were all put on trial by feminists. Now the fallout of this disastrous movement is still wreaking havoc on the family today. For that reason, in just a moment, we're going to revisit a timeless conversation on this topic. Dr. Dobson's guest on that occasion were author, Suzanne Venker and conservative icon, Phyllis Schlafly. Now Mrs. Schlafly passed away in 2016, but her legacy lives on today. In just a moment, these women will discuss the lives of the feminist movement and why God created men and women.
Before we begin, let me tell you a little more about our guests. Phyllis Schlafly was a best-selling author, lawyer and prominent pro family advocate. Her influence and strong conservative voice helped defeat the original equal rights amendment. Mrs. Schlafly spoke numerous times in front of Congress and various US legislatures. As I mentioned earlier, in 2016, she lost her battle with cancer and is survived by her six children. Our other guest, Suzanne Venker, is Mrs. Schlafly's niece. Suzanne is a syndicated columnist, author, speaker and certified relationship coach. Her many articles can be found in The Washington Examiner, The Federalist and The Wall Street Journal. Both of these women have a lot to say on this hot button issue, so let's begin. Here now is our host, Dr. James Dobson.
Dr. Dobson: Phyllis, I want to start with you. It's been 40 years now since the feminist movement claimed to bring freedom to women who were supposedly being oppressed by a patriarchal culture. And you and I have been here this whole time, observing this so called liberation. So tell us, what is the state of women today as a result of that movement?
Phyllis Schlafly: Well, in the first place, they teach young women to believe they are victims of the patriarchy, that they are oppressed by the man. And our position is that American women are the most fortunate class of people who ever lived on the face of the Earth. We have every opportunity and it was not created by the feminists. But recent polls show that American women are not as happy today as they were in the 1950s when Betty Friedan was telling women, they lived in a comfortable concentration camp from which they should be liberated. And so now that they've been liberated, they've got jobs in the workforce, more of them are going to college, they're not as happy as they were before.
Dr. Dobson: That idea, which really came to the fore in the sixties, was radical, and yet it seemed that the whole country bought it and believed it.
Phyllis Schlafly: It wasn't the whole country, Dr. Dobson. It was the media that bought it. They gave it to us every day.
Dr. Dobson: But it sounded that way I said, because that's all you heard. You said Suzanne, in this book, that Americans have been completely hoodwinked by the feminist movement. Explain that.
Suzanne Venker: We did say that. And one of the reasons that it was so important, that I felt it was so important to sort of set the stage with Phyllis's story and what she fought when feminism was in its heyday, was to lead up to where we are now, to explain exactly how the message became so insidious to the point where people felt as though it was the only thing to think and thus do not ever speak out the truth. And then when they ...
Dr. Dobson: [crosstalk 00:04:18] there're just more women who are willing to disagree.
Suzanne Venker: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: And you're one of them because you came out of a very liberal university and you had been fed a lot of that stuff yourself. And yet you've had the courage to put your name on a book.
Suzanne Venker: Yes, that's true. And I explain at the beginning of the book that I don't know that I would have felt the way that I did at the time, if my background, weren't what it is in terms of having had a completely different message from the women in my family, which is that you can have it all. But you have to have it in stages and you have to be responsible and you have to still honor the responsibilities that you have to both your family and yourself.
Dr. Dobson: You are obviously an author and you speak and do other things, but you consider yourself a full time mom don't you?
Suzanne Venker: Oh, I do. Absolutely. I'm very honest. And I do in my work talk about the very taxing experience of raising small children and say that ultimately, I believe that people have been given an out to skip that step and pay other people to do it because it is too hard. And that is not something that is ever said. It's always said within the context of having to work, it's always about economics when you hear it in the media, but that isn't true. That isn't true for a great majority. It has much more to do with the constant brow beating of the role of the full time homemaker that started back in the day when Phyllis was fighting this.
Phyllis Schlafly: That's right. If you read what the feminists wrote, they were not trying to get the woman out of the home in order to increase their economic benefits or have a higher standard of living. They were trying to get them out because they really disdained the role of full time homemaker. They thought an educated woman was wasting her life if all she did was take care of children, and that women could only achieve something by having a career. And I thought it was very important to co-author a book with Suzanne so that you get the viewpoint of another generation. So people don't say, oh, well, Phyllis, you come from another age and now we can get the viewpoint of the younger woman who has realized we were pretty right all along.
Dr. Dobson: You're the perfect example here because you're an attorney and a very successful one, and you worked your way through college.
Phyllis Schlafly: Yes. That's the thing that really, really blows them away because I worked my way through Washington University on the night shift, firing guns and machine guns to test 30 and 50 caliber ammunition, four to midnight and half the time, midnight to eight in the morning. And I got my degree in 1944. And the feminists tried to make you believe that women didn't go to college before the present time, before they invented it. And that's not true.
Dr. Dobson: So you are a shrinking violet, right? Phyllis, you're tough as nails, but you've also lived out the value system that you write about.
Phyllis Schlafly: Absolutely.
Dr. Dobson: We put it in the context so far of being employed outside the home or being a full time mom, but it's much, much bigger than that.
Suzanne Venker: If I could interject, that is why we tried to frame The Flipside of Feminism within the context of understanding what's really going on today is the same thing that went on for, or has been going on for the last 40 years, is that leftwing women rule the media. And that means that all of the information that young people get is filtered through a leftwing-lens only. And if they don't have another voice out there, like they will find in The Flipside of Feminism, where are they going to go? And I've heard from people all over the country. And I hear from them every day, just thanking us just profusely. Where have you been?
Phyllis Schlafly: People need to understand how really anti-male the feminist movement is. In fact, the one conservative Harvard professor, Harvey Mansfield, wrote in his book called Manliness that the feminist movement is anti-male, anti-masculine, anti-marriage, anti-motherhood and anti-morality. Now think about that. Their anti-masculine attitude has gotten them to eliminate so many of the men's sports in colleges. And anti-marriage, they're telling women "you're oppressed by marriage. Get out into the workforce. That's a more fulfilling life." And anti-morality, they're teaching young women in college, "join the hookup generation. It's more fun. It's liberating."
Suzanne Venker: It's very important to point out that if they were to hear her say this, obviously they would deny it and say, what do you mean? We're not anti-male and so on and so forth. So it's important to understand that they never come out and say it that way of course, that's what makes it so insidious. They choose instead to use these benign phrases and terminology to appeal to people's emotions and they sound very harmless.
Dr. Dobson: Suzanne, you said a minute ago that this feminist perspective still owns the media, and it's true. And I don't know whether this is going to make you uncomfortable or not, but Fox News has rejected your book. They will not do a program on it because there are feminist producers there, male and female, who don't like this message.
Suzanne Venker: Doesn't make me uncomfortable at all. It makes me very happy to talk about, and we believe that it has to do ... I don't want to speak for other people, I believe because since my first book, I have had an enormous education about what it's like to deal with women in the media. And they absolutely do not want my message out there. There's no question in my mind. And a lot of people have a perception that with the liberal media versus the alternative sources of media, yes, that's true, you'll get conservative voices in the alternative media sources, that's true, but that's different from feminism because feminism has infiltrated the conservative movement just as much as it has the liberal movement.
Phyllis Schlafly: Well, take as one example of that, Bernard Goldberg said in his book, Bias, about CBS, that the biggest story you'll never see on CBS is what's wrong with daycare. Because the feminists who work for CBS, if they have children, are dropping their kids off at daycare at eight o'clock in the morning and picking them up at six o'clock at night, and they're not going to hear anything about what's wrong with that. So they won't let the truth about daycare come out. The feminist movement is really anti-motherhood. They think it's oppression of women that women have babies and men don't have babies. So that's why they're in favor of abortion and in favor of daycare.
Suzanne Venker: There's no question, if there is nobody else in the house providing an income, that you have no choice but to provide that income. That's really a whole separate conversation talking about single mothers. This is about addressing women who have been taught to and gladly have absorbed, or maybe even absorbed unbeknownst to them, the idea that to be empowered, you must be in the workforce full time on a consistent basis and put your children in full time substitute care. There are plenty of women who are able to mix work and family on a part time basis or sequence their lives, as we've talked about, you're out for five and then you're back in. Maybe you tag team with your husband, you work weekends and night. There's all kinds of scenarios there. But the working mother phrase that I go by is what I said before is putting your children in full time substitute care from the time they're born, by choice.
Phyllis Schlafly: Well, our book, The Flipside of Feminism, is so important because with Suzanne's input, she's really given a roadmap for the young woman so that she can plan a life, in case she does have children and will probably want children, that she can follow. And it's very important for the young women to have that.
Suzanne Venker: We basically go farther than that in saying, just assume that you're going to want them because most people do. Most men and women want children. It's fine if you don't, but most do. And so therefore let's assume that, instead of assuming the opposite life where marriage and motherhood is questionable or changing so much that you don't know if it's going to work for you or something you can do later, later, later. And so I'm going to focus on this career and maybe I'll get to that other thing, flip that entirely on its head. Marriage and motherhood is the center. Everything else works around that. Trust me, 10 years down the road, you'll be thrilled you did that.
Roger Marsh: This is Roger Marsh, and we have reached the midpoint of this timeless interview here on Family Talk. With Christmas season right around the corner, are you still shopping for loved ones? Well if so, consider gifting them a Family Talk resource. Peruse many of Dr. Dobson's timeless books or popular teaching DVDs or CDs on our website. Go now to the resources tab at drjamesdobson.org and view our various offerings there. Want your gift by Christmas? Make sure to place your order between now and December 14th so you'll have time to put it under the tree. Also in the coming days, be on the lookout for our 2020 best of broadcast collection. This is sure to be a cherished set in your home full of valuable information for your family. Don't miss out on meaningful gifts from Family Talk this Christmas season. Visit the resources page at drjamesdobson.org, today. Okay, with all that said, let's now rejoin this classic edition of Family Talk.
Dr. Dobson: Suzanne, if I had to guess, I would presume that you have been asked this question before: Suzanne, why do you dislike women so? I mean, this movement has opened doors to every opportunity that could possibly be out there and it's made such a great contribution and you resent it for some reason. How come? Have you been asked that?
Suzanne Venker: I'll go a step further there again, I've been called a misogynist. So not just disliking, but outright hate. I'm very involved with the social media end with respect to Flipside, all the comments online and the various websites and the radio pieces, all that stuff that you can get online and all of those comments that come in, invariably say to me exactly what you just said, "How dare you? How can you possibly chastise the movement that gave you the life you had?" So this went on and on, but that has been the number one comment. And my response is always the same: feminism didn't give me the life that I have.
Phyllis Schlafly: No, and certainly feminism did not give me the life I had, or open any doors for me. You'll remember, Dr. Dobson, as an unknown housewife with small children in 1964, I published my first book, A Choice, Not an Echo and I sold three million copies out of my garage.
Dr. Dobson: It was a phenomenon. Phyllis, you have to be very proud of your niece here, Suzanne. I mean, you've got to be pleased that she gets it, that you've been speaking about this for 40 years and here comes the next generation along and understands it, and is now also articulating those very old ideas.
Phyllis Schlafly: Yes, I certainly am proud of Suzanne. And I think it's very important for the reading public and young women to have the viewpoint of a younger generation.
Dr. Dobson: Then they can choose.
Phyllis Schlafly: Then they cannot say, "Oh Phyllis is just an old fogey from another generation. She used to hang up her diapers on the line. We've moved on from that." But it's good to have her viewpoint.
Dr. Dobson: And the two of you have written this book together, it's called The Flipside of Feminism. And I love the subtitle. What Conservative Women Know and Men Can't Say. Why are men intimidated? I mean, a man is a man. Why can't he say what he believes? But apparently he can't.
Phyllis Schlafly: Oh, why is it that men can't stand up for what they believe in, in regard to relationships with women? And I think it's just not natural for men to fight women. I watched a program on television about bears in Alaska, and these were real bears. They weren't actors. And they showed the mama bear and how she paced off her fishing area to take care of her two Cubs. And then the male bear tried to encroach on her area and he's about 30% bigger. He's a big, gargantuan, tough monster. And they squared off like boxers in a ring. You know how boxers will look at each other and dance a little bit as they glare at each other. And then this big monster bear just hung his head and walked away. I think isn't natural for men to fight women. And a lot of these issues of feminism really have to be fought by women and explain how hurtful it is, both to women and to men and to babies.
Dr. Dobson: And that's why many men have no idea what it means to be a man. I mean little boys, for example, if they turn on the television set and they see sitcoms, the men are all fools and the women have it together and they're beautiful and they say smart things and men act like adolescent crazies.
Suzanne Venker: Father Knows Best has been replaced with Father's An Idiot. And in fairness to them, there are now fewer men who are taking that path. And I can't tell you how many men that I know of both personally and professionally who have no career path. They keep going from this degree to this degree, or they don't know what they're ... They just keep prolonging that adolescence because they don't have anybody encouraging them to hone in on something so that they can take care of a family.
Phyllis Schlafly: And they're not looking to get married.
Suzanne Venker: You think they're going to say to the woman that they're dating what their true feelings are about wanting a traditional family? They can't even get it out because if they ask or even allude to the idea that she take time out of her career to stay home when the kids are young, just that, how about that? Not even the whole time.
Phyllis Schlafly: Well, they better talk about it before they get married.
Suzanne Venker: That's right. But they're not. And they're afraid to say that because of course they will be deemed a chauvinist. Forget the fact that they might come from a divorced family themselves and they're just concerned about the effects of daycare on kids, and they want a voice in how their kids are raised. They don't have a voice. They can't do that because the immediate assumption is that you're a chauvinist, which is absolute bunk.
Phyllis Schlafly: Well, I'd tell a young man in college, find out if your girlfriend's a feminist, because you don't want her if she's a feminist.
Suzanne Venker: But it's hard to do that because they don't use the term anymore.
Dr. Dobson: That'll bring some mail.
Suzanne Venker: That's the problem.
Dr. Dobson: Suzanne, I may be telling something out of school, but my daughter, Danae had a blind date with a guy a few years ago. And he took her out for coffee and expected her to pay for her own cup of coffee. I mean, if that doesn't say it all.
Suzanne Venker: Say it all. Yes, says it all.
Dr. Dobson: The guys have not been taught.
Suzanne Venker: That's right.
Dr. Dobson: Suzanne, what do women need to know as they make decisions about their lives?
Suzanne Venker: You need to look for a man who can support you. And the reason why you want to do that is not because you're never going to make your own money and go out into the world. It's because you're going to hit a point, particularly in those years when the children are not in school, the first five years, when you are not going to want to be bothered with making an income, because you're going to want to be with those babies. That doesn't mean you have to find a rich man. It just means you have to find somebody who is ambitious and capable of holding down a job and finding a path that is consistent, where he does not flounder.
Dr. Dobson: My field is child development. And so where I had my most serious problem with the feminists because I was in graduate school in the sixties and I witnessed all this. It had to do with the feminist, Gloria Steinem and Jermaine Greer and so many others.
Phyllis Schlafly: Who knew nothing about children.
Suzanne Venker: Yes, that's the ticket.
Dr. Dobson: That's the point. There's no evidence that they had ever had a class on child development and they certainly didn't have children or had spent any time with children. They began telling the rest of the world how to raise their kids.
Suzanne Venker: That is such a critical point because I truly believe that most people don't realize that this major movement that has affected their very own lives and paths and choices was fraudulent in that if you read and learn and know how it started with those folks you mentioned. Not only did they have horrible upbringings and very troubled marriages and just angry, but they also had no experience with children and children never come up, I might add, in a conversation on this debate, whether it's about work and family balance or feminism or whatever. We never talk about the children. And yet they're everything. Feminist will never talk about the needs of children because they don't get it. They don't have that, not only as a priority, but don't even have the information about what kids need. So they don't even touch that subject. That's usually where I try to get them as we're talking about children needs because they have nothing [crosstalk 00:00:21:52].
Dr. Dobson: So, you have Marlo Thomas writing a book, Free To Be You And Me, telling mothers especially to raise their little girls like little boys and raise their little boys like little girls.
Suzanne Venker: She never had children.
Dr. Dobson: And blaming the differences between them on a patriarchal society. It made no sense whatsoever. And again, Phil Donahue and the rest of the media bought into that and validated it for 30 years before medical science proved that the brains are different. I'm enjoying myself and I don't want to stop. I think that there is another day here. We really ought to talk about some other issues that are in the book, The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know and Men Can't Say, that we just can't afford not to address. And so let's just do one more program right here and then we will air that tomorrow.
Phyllis Schlafly: Thank you Dr. Dobson, it's an honor to be with you.
Suzanne Venker: Thank you so much. It was so great meeting you, really.
Dr. Dobson: And Suzanne, thank you for this book and for having the courage to do it. I don't think it takes any courage for Phyllis to do it because she's been at it for a long time. But for you as a young mother to do it, I think it does take a lot of courage and you put it on the line. They're going to be a lot of people that will hate you for it.
Suzanne Venker: Oh they already do.
Dr. Dobson: And so what?
Suzanne Venker: So what? Thank you very much.
Roger Marsh: You've been listening to part one of Dr. James Dobson's interview with Suzanne Venker and the late Phyllis Schlafly here on Family Talk. Be sure to tune in again tomorrow for the conclusion of this timeless and stimulating conversation. For now, visit our broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org to check out the many resources mentioned on today's program. For instance, see how you can get a copy of Suzanne and Phyllis's book, The Flipside of Feminism. It's an eye-opening work on just how this liberating movement has actually destroyed true womanhood. You'll find this book and more when you go to drjamesdobson.org and then click on the broadcast button. Are you struggling to listen to our daily programs on a consistent basis? Fortunately, we have numerous ways that you can stay up to date with our latest programs. First, you can listen online through drjamesdobson.org, or access our broadcast through your Amazon Alexa.
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