Douchebag Decree: Phyllis Schlafly & Suzanne Venker: The Flipside of Douchiness


This just in! Career antifeminists Phyllis Schlafly and Suzanne Venker blame feminism for the nation’s divorce rate (among other things)! In their upcoming book The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know—and Men Can’t Say, Schlafly and Venker posit that feminists, with our love of divorce, our hatred of men, our general negativity, and our blatant duplicitousness, have fostered a culture where splitting up a marriage is as easy and breezy as splitting the check at a restaurant.

Here are a few points these partners in douche made in a recent HuffPo interview with Beverly Willett about their latest book:

Feminism’s goal, first and foremost, is easy divorce:

Schlafly: They [feminists] wanted to be independent of men and liberated from the duties of marriage and motherhood. So, their first legislative goal was the adoption of easy-to-get divorce.

Notice, of course, that Schlafly doesn’t elaborate on why feminists might have concerned themselves with divorce, or why women during that time might have felt oppressed by the institution of marriage. Of course, this is coming from someone who believes marital rape is impossible (because marriage implies automatic consent no matter what else happens), so there you go.

Feminism is a hoax!

Schlafly: None of the feminists’ goals, including the Equal Rights Amendment, offered women a single benefit they didn’t have before, zip. But it would have taken away a lot of the rights and benefits women then possessed such as the right to be exempt from the military and the right of a wife to be supported by her husband. Feminists demeaned marriage and motherhood even though most women want marriage and motherhood. Feminism has run its course, and surveys show that women are not as happy now as they were in the 1950s.

Venker: Let me add that feminism also taught women that men are idiots, so now there’s a lack of respect for men who are considered an inconvenience. It’s a wonder any marriage survives.

So feminism is (or excuse me, “was”—we’ve run our course already) about taking rights away from women in the interest of demeaning marriage and motherhood. Oh, and about teaching women that men are idiots. Not only is that a bunch of horse hockey, but Schlafly and Venker fail to explain why they think feminists would take the time to do all of this. I guess it’s because we LOVE DIVORCE SO MUCH? Oh, and we are “negative by nature.” (Maybe that could be the name of a feminist Naughty By Nature tribute band? Except we would so NOT be down with “O.P.P.” We are too negative.)

This is all a conspiracy! Feminism is controlling the media and the government!

Schlafly: The decline of marriage is the result of the work of highly motivated special-interest groups, and they enjoy the support of Big Media. Feminists have also had the support of academia and Hollywood, and they did a pretty good job of intimidating politicians.

Ah yes. That’s why we’re living so high on the hog these days, what with the numbers of women contributing to Big Media, the lack of gender equality in academia, the culture of misogyny in Hollywood, and all of the funding cuts these so-called intimidated politicians are pushing on us. These are our salad days, folks! And we have divorce to thank for it! MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

Schlafly and Venker go on to suggest that we should legislate 50-50 joint custody of children in divorces so that women can’t flee marriage with their children as easily, and that couples should stay together until children leave the home unless addiction or abuse is involved. Anything to keep us feminists away from our beloved divorces, right? Because we’ll do anything to get them! (No, we won’t.)

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that Schlafly and Venker have missed the point with these ideas. Not only is feminism NOT hell-bent on dissolving the institution of marriage, feminists aren’t to blame for America’s problems (we also don’t consider men to be idiots, nor do we all have bad attitudes). If the Flipside of Feminism involves hanging out with ol’ Phyllis and Suzanne, talking about how feminists pulled the wool over all of our eyes and made divorce seem sexy and cool, I’d just as soon stay over here on this side of feminism. You know, away from the douchebags.

by Kelsey Wallace
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Kelsey Wallace is an editor in Portland, Oregon. Follow her on Twitter if you like TV and pictures of dogs.

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21 Comments Have Been Posted

"Feminists demeaned marriage

"Feminists demeaned marriage and motherhood --"

I'm afraid the patriarchy beat us to it by millennia.

"-- even though most women want marriage and motherhood."

Wait. I take it from the wording that marriage and motherhood have been somewhat successfully demeaned by the feminists, yet <em>most women</em> see them as an ideal state of being? How did all that demeaning business come about <em>without</em> the consent of <em>most women</em>? (Or men? Has anybody asked them?)

Stop the press - the public opinion has changed without public agreement! Feminists now have complete thought control!

oh dear..

It's interesting to see how horribly uninformed some people are. And how they can distort reality so much.

Thanks for setting it straight!


Who publishes this crap? Thank god we have our negative feminist magazines to save us the trouble of picking up your right-wing book in the bookstore or library. Thank you, Bitch Mag.

We're the fraud of the century!, all of them!

They make my head hurt with their misinformation (or just determination to ignore facts.) Feminist goals never include any rights women don't have? Do I need to make a list? No, thank goodness; not on this site, and you've done a great job of analyzing (some of!) their ridiculousness already.

To keep myself from stewing ("Why are feminists so aaaangry?" BECAUSE OF YOU TWO!) I'll focus on the funny/baffling anecdotes, like them saying married women not working is a "right" and declaring in WebNetDaily that the <i>Wall Street Journal</i>'s "pages attract feminists like bees to honey." Er, are we thinking of the same paper?


WHAT is up with that cover?! Is a pregnant white women supposed to be the opposite of feminism or the inadvertent side effect of feminism? The word "flipside" indicates the latter, but apparently feminists hate reproduction...I'M SO CONFUSED!

Weird cover

I think they're trying to imply that feminism threatens white heterosexual motherhood. Y'know, because there are absolutely no white heterosexual feminist mothers. Not to mention every time a straight white couple has a baby a mob of feminists bursts into the delivery room with pitchforks and torches. *eyeroll.*

Hmmm that is interesting.

Hmmm that is interesting. Seeing as I am happily married, a mother, and a Feminist.
Oh well I guess this means I must not be real because the conservative Christians are always right.
Give me a break. This publication doesn't even need to be spoken against, it is doing it for itself.
Let them make fools of themselves. It is just sad that these women are making themselves look like the idiots
that so many feminist have tried so hard to prove against.

Part of me really wants to

Part of me really wants to read this book, (I like getting all hot and bothered), but I do not want them to get my hard earned cash that I earned being a big, bad, career woman. I guess I will ilegally download it somewhere.


Find it at the library. Then you can also be supporting something else so many conservatives would like to cut.

Contradictions galore~

I love the relationship paradox that antifeminists have worked themselves into. Feminists are responsible for the divorce rate but are also somehow simultaneously all single and refusing to get married, or single-mothers, or lesbians. Pretty much anything that deviates from the nuclear family fantasy is blamed on "the feminists," which wouldn't be a problem if more people saw that claim for exactly what it is: grabbing at straws to protect your old way of life.

These two don't speak for me...

Can I get a divorce from both of these idiots? Feminism enabled them to spout this lunacy. Speaking as a man, these two are clueless about feminsts (I have those sensibilites-got them from my mother), am divorced (women aren't always paragons of virtue) and am raising my daughters to be smarter than these two. Let them speak-completely proving themselves clueless as to what feminism is about. Thank you women for getting this man out of the patriarchal mold these two would want to force me into.


WTF? [Sorry I can't add anything more intelligible right now. Still in shock.]


If this book sells well, I'll be pissed. Phyllis Schlafly and Suzanne Venker need to stop perpetuating patriarchal lies. I cannot believe they actually get attention for it. Even if you want to read this book, I urge all Bitch readers NOT to buy it. Instead, rent it from the library.


Not only is this douchey, it's BORING douchey. Hasn't the whole "feminists make women get divorced and since women actually just want to pop out babies and not think about anything but popping out babies, this makes women sad, this feminism makes women sad" argument been around, like, forever? I mean, if you really have to be a douchebag, can't you at least be an original douchebag?

Good point

Yeah, their arguments are practically in the "Go make me a sandwich" category.

Speaking of, what's with everyone blaming feminism for decreased happiness? Has anyone ever considered it might be related to the 5 billion other reasons women might be depressed? Like the fact that after all these years of work we *still* don't get equal pay for equal work? Or because many women still have to work the "double shift"? Or because rapid information sharing technologies and globalization have made us ever more aware of issues/events such as genocide, human trafficking, repressive governments, natural disasters abroad, the pervasiveness of exploitative labor conditions etc? And how do you measure happiness, anyway? Especially across generations...? The whole thing smells rotten to me.

"And how do you measure

"And how do you measure happiness, anyway? Especially across generations...? The whole thing smells rotten to me."

Yeah, it's one of those 'differences' that doesn't show up in any regular plain old descriptive stats; you have to run one particular very special test to see it at all.


Can we just take a step back

Can we just take a step back here and remind everyone that the so-called divorce rate is a bogus statistic? What is the divorce rate, after all? It's the number of people getting married in a given year versus the number of people filing for divorce. Look at those pools of people. One got married thous year and one got married this and every preceding year. With the population of potential divorcees much, much larger than the newlyweds, it's a number skewed to look scary. Really, the number to investigate is the probability that one will remain married to the first partner one married. In the United States, that probability has hovered around 85 percent for a long time. Schlafly as usual is employing scare tactics to whomever will listen.

The other thing I take issue

The other thing I take issue with is the idea that divorce is a bad, scary thing. Sure, divorce is hard and it would be nice if people could remain happily together, but I have a problem with the idea that getting divorced is the worst thing that could happen to a woman. My parents divorced when I was young, and though it was hard for them, it was ultimately for the better, and I like to think that my childhood was actually more stable with my parents apart. Staying married doesn't equal a good marriage or happy spouses.

Ridiculous review

Wow...the author of this review can hardly be taken seriously.
With such mature, lady-like behavior, I should aspire to be like you? I think not.

*unintelligible screaming*

I just read an interview with this woman and everything she said made me almost physically ill: comparing feminism to Marxism, claiming that the issue of violence against women is "smaller than it’s made out to be,” and that some of the victories in the fight for equality "came at a great cost to businesses and government." I mean, it's all just blather to me.

The most disgusting of her observations, to me anyway, is this:

"Rather than yapping about how you’re a victim, go find your way. Somebody will listen; somebody will be there. But it’s a huge jump to say that women are oppressed. "

See, I just recently read another disturbing article in the UK (Guardian) about the incidence of self-immolation among Afghan women. The subject has gotten a lot of press lately, which is great. Do a little reading onthe topic and then tell me that these women who kill or disfigure themselves for life are just "yapping" about being victims. Tell me that up until now, there was someone to listen and hear their stories. TELL ME THIS IS NOT OPPRESSION. Not gonna go on and on. I'm sure that everyone here knows about this and many other horrors women around the world are facing every day. Ol' Suzy here just thinks these ladies just need to learn how to "make lemonade out of lemons." *gag*

Oh, by the way, Ms. Venker also asserts that feminists are not interested in women outside of the U.S.A. Uh, yeah, that would be wrong too.

*end screaming*

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