Tuesday, May 6

Can I give back my Wash U degree?

One of my friends is interning at MORCRC this spring and it's nice to have her in the office, especially when she can fill me in on the Wash U gossip. I'll also be attending Wash U's graduation in May because lots of wonderful people are finishing up various degrees and deserve me getting overheated in the quad for a 3 hour ceremony. It seems like the ceremony this year will at least be interesting, because Wash U has decided to give Phyllis Schlafly an honorary degree. For those of you unfamiliar with Ms. Schlafly, she is an anti-feminist who has argued that feminism "is incompatible with marriage and motherhood." A St Louis native and graduate of the law school, she tours the country telling women that they can't be both mothers and professionals. Disregarding this mind-numbingly offensive statement in terms of female autonomy, I would love to ask Ms. Schlafly how she would respond to a woman who does not want children. Are childless women abnormal freaks?
I couldn't help pulling an entire paragraph from a Florida newspaper article, because I think it sums up her position so neatly:

"Schlafly asserted women should not be permitted to do jobs traditionally held by men, such as firefighter, soldier or construction worker, because of their "inherent physical inferiority."

At one point, Schlafly also contended that married women cannot be sexually assaulted by their husbands. "By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape," she said.

She clearly believes that as the weaker sex, women should not dare to put themselves or others in danger by engaging in 'manly jobs.' Of course this ignores that any women who could not pass the mandatory fire fighter tests, or boot camp requirements would not be allowed to work as a firefighter or soldier--the same as any man! Who died and made Phyllis Schlafly better able to identify what makes a good firefighter than say a fire chief or army commander??

I also think her views on marital rape are patriarchal and insulting. Getting married is a way of expressing your love and devotion to your partner. It does not give them the pink slip to your body,and to treat it the same way they would a piece of property.

Although Schlafly will not be speaking at graduation, it should definitely be interesting because I will be gladly participating in a protest. Some people created a facebook group explaining their dismay over Wash U's choice of an honorary degree recipient and the anticipated response. I will be proudly standing up and turning my back (or whatever the group ends up deciding to do) on a woman whose views I find utterly appalling.