Roger Marsh: For decades now, modern culture has worked tirelessly to blur and even vilify traditional gender roles. At its heart, feminism has sought to undermine and overthrow the nuclear family. But as believers, we know that God created men and women differently, and for a good reason. Today on Family Talk, we will further explore these distinctions and the hollow promises of the feminist movement.
In just a moment, we'll conclude Dr. Dobson's interview with two amazing and well-spoken women. The first is Suzanne Venker. She's been on our program before, talking about other important topics. She's a celebrated columnist, commentator, speaker and a certified relationship coach. Our other guest is Susanne's aunt, the late Phyllis Schlafly. Phyllis was a prominent conservative voice for family values right up until her death in 2016. Mrs. Schlafly was a respected lawyer, a bestselling writer and a compelling speaker. She graduated from Washington University Law School and also Harvard University. Mrs. Schlafly also served on the Commission on the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution for President Ronald Reagan. These women will again use their book, The Flipside of Feminism as their guide for this conversation. Here once again is our host, Dr. James Dobson on this edition of Family Talk.
Dr. Dobson: Just from an historical point of view, Phyllis, take us back to the days of the ERA and how you managed to stop that almost single-handedly. It was incredible to watch, because both houses of Congress had already passed it. By the way ERA stands for Equal Rights Amendment. And you took it on when nobody was on your side.
Phyllis Schlafly: That's right. We had three presidents against us, Nixon and Ford and Carter, nearly all the Congress, 99% of the media, all the money that they could want, and Hollywood, and we beat them all. And it really is an inspiring example of how the grassroots can rise up and take on the whole establishment and win. And what we did was to show the handicaps, how ERA would hurt women. I testified in 41 state legislative hearings, and there was never was any benefit. There was no benefit to women.
I had sons and daughters, about 18 or 20 then. And one of the first effects of ERA would have been to draft women. Because we had a draft in 1972 when we were in a war and the Draft Act is the Classic Sex Discriminatory Law. It says male citizens of age 18 must register. And my daughters thought, "You're going to give us a constitutional amendment, and the first thing is we have to sign up for the draft like our brothers? You got to be kidding." And so anyway, the fight went on and we did the-
Dr. Dobson: And separate restrooms too. Didn't you make a case about that?
Phyllis Schlafly: All kinds of bad effects. Getting rid of the laws that say the husband should support his wife. There were so many bad effects, and then we realized we would have had same-sex marriage 30 years ago because you wouldn't be able to discriminate on account of sex.
Dr. Dobson: Now that would have been a constitutional amendment-
Phyllis Schlafly: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: ... which required the state houses of government. What is it? Three quarters of the-
Phyllis Schlafly: If three fourths of the States ratified it, it would be part of the U.S. Constitution.
Dr. Dobson: And you were down to three?
Phyllis Schlafly: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: I mean they only needed three more states and you took it on, Phyllis.
Suzanne Venker: It's an incredible story and we do have it in chapter two by the way.
Phyllis Schlafly: Yeah. The feminists are really not for equality. They are for affirmative action for women, preferential treatment, and fundamentally they are for interchangeability of the sexes. They want you to be interchangeable in everything. And that's ridiculous. They're at war with human nature.
Dr. Dobson: Well, that's very well said, Phyllis, and it's why you're a hero of mine for the way you stood up for what you just said, for those traditional values when there was no pro-family movement. You were truly a lone voice when you brought in millions of women and men to an understanding of moral and conservative values. And I applaud you for that. Now, let's turn a corner and get back to the topic of your book, The Flipside of Feminism.
Suzanne Venker: There is no question that the average young college woman today enters school and goes through those four years without giving any thought whatsoever to marriage and babies. They are there solely to get a degree and then plan a life that is going to revolve around this phenomenal life/career outside the home that is going to bring them the utmost of fulfillment and just feel so great about themselves. And oh, by the way, if I get married and have children, that's great, but that's sort of on the periphery. My advice to those women is the complete opposite of the advice that they get. Because even though they're not going to think of it this way now, give them 10 years and they will. And that is that you should flip that plan entirely and assume that getting married and having children is going to be the most important thing in your life. The most satisfying thing in your life, nothing will ever compare to it.
One of the, I think, more provocative points that I did make in there that there is a biological clock, and that biological clock does tick, and it has a beginning, and it has an end. And it may not be politically correct, or it may not even be pleasant, but it's a fact. And it is a terrible disservice to encourage women to ignore that clock and to suggest that you don't have to worry about that 'til you get to it later. I can't think of anything more horrific to say, because you are messing with someone's life. These women are getting to be 35, 36, 37, and realizing, "Time is running out. My body's not cooperating. It takes me a million shots just to get pregnant because I'm doing it so late." And some of them end up with only one child and they want more than one. And they can't. That is a travesty and it's a lie. Why would we do that to them?
Dr. Dobson: Why indeed, Suzanne? You know, as you're talking, I'm thinking with empathy about the single woman who's out there, who hears what you're saying. And there's nothing she wants more, she wants a child to hold. She wants to be a mother. I'm one of those that believes there is a maternal instinct and there is a great desire to be loved, embraced by a husband. And I don't want to make things worse for those single women out there who have done things right, but the Lord has not brought a man, a suitable man into their lives.
And as a result, they hear Big Ben. They hear the gonging, the passage of time, and they know menopause is coming and they know all about it, and they know when it typically occurs. And they realize they're not going to have that blessing of holding a child or at least it hasn't materialized yet. So I want to make sure that we are compassionate with those single women and that we are not unmindful of the pressures and the pain that she is experiencing. And I have met hundreds of them, and you have too. Suzanne, continue with your thought, what else do women need to know as they make decisions about their lives?
Suzanne Venker: The other very taboo thing to say to young women is, "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.
Another point is when I say that the reality is, there are going to be some careers that are probably not going to be good options for you as a woman. Let me give you an example. I was speaking with a woman from the Boston Globe recently. She wanted to get my opinion for a piece she was writing. She ended up cutting it out and not including it at all. But I said, I have an 11-year-old daughter. And if we got into the conversation of what am I going to do in X number of years and she comes to me and she says, "Mom, I want to be a brain surgeon." And she said to me, the Boston Globe reporter, "Well, what would you say to her?" I thought for a moment.
And then I said, "I would ask her, okay, is there anything else that you want in your life?" And if she presumably then says, "Well, I'd like to get married and have children too." I'd say, "Then you probably better pick something else, and here's why. These two things are going to conflict majorly. You are going to spend 10 years preparing for this major life as a brain surgeon, which is one kind of life, all consuming. And then right when your body is winding down biologically, you want to get married and have children, and that ain't going to work. That is a harsh reality. You've got to accept it. If you don't want to get married and have children, that's one thing. But if you do, this is a conflict and I didn't make it. It's just the way it is. So how do you make this work for you? Find something else that you want to do." The crux of the whole thing is about de-valuing the role of what we then call the full-time homemaker.
Phyllis Schlafly: Most of the feminist leaders are bitter women. Many of them came out of dysfunctional homes. And what they tried to do was to make their own personal problems society's problems and pretend they were everybody's problems. And that's the way they built their movement. And they built it by a technique called consciousness raising session, where they would get a lot of women together, and then they would exchange their horror stories about how badly some man had treated them. And grievances are like flowers. If you water them, they will grow. Little grievances grew into big grievances. And that's the way they built their movement.
Dr. Dobson: To be honest here, let's admit that there are a lot of women out there who have been abused by men. There've been a lot of girls that have been sexually abused when they were in the preschool years and certainly through adolescence. And they've got a right to be angry. They have been badly mistreated. And they're also girls who during adolescents were made fun of and dropped by the guys that they wanted to be friends with and so on. So there is a reason for some of that anger that's out there. Would you agree with that? Phyllis, would you agree with that? I mean, that won't explain all of it, but it does happen.
Phyllis Schlafly: I think everybody has problems. If there's somebody who doesn't have any problem-
Dr. Dobson: That's right.
Phyllis Schlafly: ... I would like to meet them. When I was growing up, we only had one problem, it was money, I grew up during the depression. But now people have a lot of other problems, but that doesn't mean necessarily that it's a societal problem that needs a big grant from the federal government of taxpayers' money.
Dr. Dobson: Or that it's characteristic of the entire masculine gender.
Phyllis Schlafly: Or that you're better off to have your babies before you get married. And when they started out, they called it the women's liberation movement. And you have to ask yourself, "What did they want to be liberated from?" It was home husband, family, and children.
Suzanne Venker: That has been the number one biggest travesty of feminism is the terrible divide between men and women that exist today. And the fallout of obviously marriage and divorce and all of that.
Dr. Dobson: Yeah. It's not rocket science that society works better when men and women cooperate with each other. Especially with regard to the raising of children. How silly to think that makes sense that you create World War III in the home while children are there. I mean, that can't work.
Suzanne Venker: No.
Phyllis Schlafly: And Ms. Magazine, in it's a beginning, promoted marriage contracts in which they would agree that husband did the dishes and the diapers three days a week. And the wife did it three days and then they would fight over who did it on the seventh day. And that's ridiculous. My husband never changed a diaper. I didn't want him to-
Suzanne Venker: Well, that's a little extreme, but.
Dr. Dobson: You know, 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 60s, and I witnessed all this, had to do with the feminists, Gloria Steinem and Germaine Greer and so many others.
Phyllis Schlafly: Who knew nothing about children.
Suzanne Venker: Yes.
Dr. Dobson: That's the point.
Suzanne Venker: Yeah, right.
Dr. Dobson: 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. Feminists 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 is where we talk about children's needs, because they have nothing [crosstalk 00:14:52].
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 and-
Suzanne Venker: She never had children.
Dr. Dobson: ... 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-
Suzanne Venker: Yeah, that's right.
Dr. Dobson: ... before medical science proved that the brains are different.
Phyllis Schlafly: The feminists are anti-marriage. They think that you don't need men. You can have babies without men. You can have your affirmative action job. And it's very unfortunate. Many of us grew up in a society where we had traditional families. The father was the provider and protector of the family. And that way of life seems to be going away. Now, the big attack on marriage is coming from the feminists. They were the ones who put through the unilateral divorce in the late 60s. And they are the ones pushing today to get rid of the federal law about marriage called DOMA, Defense of Marriage Act, which we must keep. The feminists are the major enemy. And we have got to restore marriage of the mother and father as the basic stable fundamental of our society.
Suzanne Venker: My advice to those women is the complete opposite of the advice that they get. And there are several things that they can do to help themselves in rejecting the feminist culture. And the first thing is to reject the idea that sex is something that should be casual. And that promiscuity or sleeping around is somehow liberating. And it makes you freer or more in touch with yourself as a woman or more enlightened or whatever word you want to give it. Because all the facts show that that is not the case, not to mention the obvious results that come from that, negative results that can come from that. There's also a big emotional piece there that is rarely discussed in which we talk about in Flipside and how that lifestyle affects women differently than men. And then the second thing is to assume, as we've talked about before, that marriage and motherhood will really become the central aspect of your life, and it's not going to be when you're 22.
So you have to have a little faith there and know that once you become a mother, everything changes. Every plan you ever had goes out the window and just know that going into it and assume that your life really begins when you have a family, it doesn't end. And that is a huge paradigm switch from what young people are taught today, which is that you want to postpone marriage and motherhood because that's the end of your life and your freedom and your independence, and then you succumb to this life- flip that entirely. It is the beginning of life. There's no question that what we're asking of people is a tall order. Because you're talking about a complete shift in the way you view the choices you've made. The way you view the male/female relationship. The way you view marriage, the way you view mother. I mean, it's huge. There is no question about it, this is a tall order. But I'm an optimist, and I do believe that anything is possible at any time in your life. And you can always flip the switch and make a change. But you have to be open and willing to hear the message first.
Dr. Dobson: Now we really do need to issue a disclaimer, because there are women listening to us who feel called to work outside the home and their backs will be up if they think they can't do that. Now, you're really talking about giving them a choice. And as of this time, according to your book, Suzanne and Phyllis, they don't have a choice because they are denigrated for being a full-time mom.
Phyllis Schlafly: Let me answer that Dr. Dobson. I grew up during the great depression and my father lost his job, and he really never did have a full-time job after that, little jobs here and there. And my mother became the principal support of our family. She was 25 years the librarian of the Saint Louis Art Museum, but she had prepared herself with her college degree before she got married. And then when the depression hit, she was ready to fill into that role. Now, you have to deal with the problems that life thrusts upon you. And so, there are conditions that you just simply have to deal with. No problem about that. But obviously the family was first. We had a very close-knit family, but you have to do some of the things you have to do.
Dr. Dobson: Of course.
Suzanne Venker: But the key is to obviously have that backing and education that you need should those situations arise. And then there's understanding that generally speaking, the trajectory that you want to plan for is one that allows you to step out. So, when you said that some women feel called to be in the workforce, we're absolutely not saying, "Then you shouldn't do it." We're saying, "There's a time and a place." You can have that in your life. We're only talking about a few years, really when you think about it. Once children are in school, you have the whole middle of the day where you can find time for yourself.
Dr. Dobson: I can tell you they go by very fast.
Suzanne Venker: They go by very fast.
Phyllis Schlafly: In the modern parlance, we are sequential women.
Dr. Dobson: I like that. That means, do this first and then the whole world's open to you.
Phyllis Schlafly: But we're not interchangeable with men.
Dr. Dobson: Really? So, it is important for us to say, that for these past days we've been focusing on general principles that the Lord has laid out for us in scripture that help us navigate family life and gender roles and our place in society and the home. But it's important not to forget the sovereignty of God, because He does have a plan for our lives, and it is different for each one of us. These commands and these guidelines that we've been talking about will help us bring order and joy to our lives and to our homes. Once again, the title of the book that we've been talking about is The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know…And Men Can't Say. Last question, Suzanne, what is the flip side? Give us in the shortest possible answer because we're out of time. What is that flip side?
Suzanne Venker: The flip side of feminism is that there really is a completely different way that you as a woman can view the relationship between the sexes, your own life, having it all, motherhood, work, all of that stuff. There's a completely different lens from which to view those things. And we provide it for you in The Flipside of Feminism.
Dr. Dobson: Phyllis, any last comment?
Phyllis Schlafly: Well, a feminist teach women that they are victims of the patriarchy. And our view is that American women are the most fortunate people who ever lived. Where you can have a wonderful life if you plan it right.
Dr. Dobson: The book is coauthored by Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly. And I strongly recommend it to our listeners out there. Thank you all for being our guests and for flying here from St. Louis. Phyllis for being my friend for 40 years, you are a good lady and you're still out there defending the things that I believe with all my heart.
Phyllis Schlafly: Well, Dr. Dobson, you're one of the great leaders of the pro-family movement. I'm proud to be your friend. Thank you for inviting me.
Dr. Dobson: And, Suzanne, would you speak if people write and ask you to come?
Suzanne Venker: I would.
Dr. Dobson: Yeah.
Suzanne Venker: And I do some of that.
Dr. Dobson: And you are going to do some more writing?
Suzanne Venker: I am definitely doing some more writing. I can't stop writing. That's part of my problem.
Dr. Dobson: Go home and get at it.
Suzanne Venker: Thank you so much for having me.
Phyllis Schlafly: Blessings to you ladies.
Suzanne Venker: Thank you so much.
Phyllis Schlafly: Thank you, Dr. Dobson.
Roger Marsh: Certainly a stirring message about the pitfalls and failings of the feminist movement, here on Family Talk. Our guests for these two classic programs have been Suzanne Venker and the late Phyllis Schlafly. Go to today's broadcast page at drjamesdobson.org to learn more about their popular book, The Flipside of Feminism. Once you're there, you can also connect with Suzanne or request a physical copy of this broadcast. You'll find all of this by going to drjamesdobson.org, and then tapping the broadcast icon at the top of the page. Thanks so much for listening today, and also partnering with our ministry. Your generous financial support is greatly appreciated by everyone here at JDFI. Your one-time or recurring donation allows us to continue to care for families worldwide. You can pledge your gift by going online to drjamesdobson.org. That's drjamesdobson.org. Or you can make a donation over the phone when you call (877) 732-6825. And please know how grateful we are for your prayers and financial support. Be sure to join us again next time for another edition of Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk. I'm Roger Marsh. Thanks for listening.
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