Phyllis Schlafly, Asshole of the Day for April 16, 2014
by TeaPartyCat (Follow @TeaPartyCat)
In the last month or two equal pay laws and the gender pay gap have been in the news, and the excuses to do nothing about this have been all over the place. And not in a good way. So far we’ve seen:
But of course all those people are rookies compared to Phyllis Schlafly, who won’t be left out of the conversation. She’s been pushing for women to be second class citizens for 40 years! Her argument against equal pay laws? Women won’t find husbands if they’re paid equal to men:
While women prefer to HAVE a higher-earning partner, men generally prefer to BE the higher-earning partner in a relationship. This simple but profound difference between the sexes has powerful consequences for the so-called pay gap.
Suppose the pay gap between men and women were magically eliminated. If that happened, simple arithmetic suggests that half of women would be unable to find what they regard as a suitable mate.
Obviously, I’m not saying women won’t date or marry a lower-earning men, only that they probably prefer not to. If a higher-earning man is not available, many women are more likely not to marry at all. […]
The best way to improve economic prospects for women is to improve job prospects for the men in their lives, even if that means increasing the so-called pay gap.
If you boil down her argument, it’s
Some women prefer a man who makes more money than them
AND most men prefer to make more money than their wife
THEREFORE it’s good for women that men are paid more.
But does this even make sense? No. Since not every woman will eventually get married to a man— because some won’t get married, and because others will marry women— that prior to getting married, it would be better for women not to be paid less than men as a rule, because they won’t know whether they will fall into the married to men, married to women, or not married later in life category. The women who don’t end up married to a man will be sacrificing fair wages but not getting the “benefit” of better paid husbands.
And even among the women who do get married to men, there’s two other problems that Ms. Schlafly isn’t addressing— divorce and death. What happens when this better paid husband is gone? Should the woman forgo fair earnings then too? With half of all marriages ending in divorce, why should women ever accept unfair wages just to prop up the wages of husbands who may not be there when they need them?
And let’s go back to her original statement as well— Ms. Schlafly says that not all women prefer a man who makes more, nor do all men prefer to make more. But those people should just suffer along with the single women and gay women and the divorcees and widows so that some women can get better paid husbands.
And, yes, she’s old, so it may be understandable that she still thinks these things. But this isn’t a case of your 90-year-old grandma with outdated views lovingly giving advice to her granddaughter. She is still in the public sphere trying to influence policy. And she’s wrong. And if her policies are followed it will continue to impoverish millions of women and their children. And for what?
So, for saying women should accept lower wages to prop up their prospects for a husband, Phyllis Schlafly is the Asshole of the Day.
It is Phyllis Schlafly’s first time as Asshole of the Day.
Full story: Think Progress