Uniting For Human Rights

Bloggers Unite is sponsoring a day of blogging for human rights (thanks to AI for the tip), and I have a few words to say about something that I've been thinking about lately, as have many people in St Louis.

Phyllis Schlafly is set to receive an honorary doctorate from Wash U. There is considerable outrage about this: many Wash U faculty, staff, and students are protesting what they see to be an honoring of someone who is against academic and intellectual inquiry, dissent, and gender equality.

I am completely against what Phyllis Schlafly stands for. I protested her speaking engagement at Truman as an undergrad, for several reasons. I also asked her a question which she skillfully deflected and did not answer, basically calling me a crazy feminist instead of acknowledging the flaw in the rhetoric she was presenting. Frankly, I don't really care if Wash U honors her; like it or not, she is well-known and well-respected by a portion of our nation.

And I'm not against her message of honoring and respecting the role women play as homemakers. I am totally in support of women choosing to work in the home, and that work is difficult and important. I'm just against women being forced into that role, and I don't believe that women hold exclusive claim to that role; I believe men can be wonderful working-in-the-home husbands and fathers, just as women can have successful careers. Every family has the right to decide what works best for them.

I am completely against what Schlafly has said (and this is my segway into human rights) about marital rape. Schlafly believes that if you get married, you are consenting to sex. Forever. A woman cannot be raped by her husband. This is something that I completely disagree with. A woman has the right to say no to sex at any time. A man, even a husband, is not entitled to sex whenever he wants it. This is why feminism did not need to die with the ERA, as Schlafly suggests: because there are significant portions of our population who still believe that women cannot lay claim to their own bodies and that men assume control of a woman, mind, body, and soul, when they are married. Schlafly believes that women who accuse husbands of marital rape are just trying to use those accusations to get out of "legitimate" marriages.


Because women are never abused by their husbands. Because women never fall out of love with their husbands. Because women are never trapped in marriages by poverty, children, lack of opportunities, physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse. Because it's impossible for a marriage to deteriorate to the point where a woman would be repulsed and violated by engaging in sex with her husband. Because men would never use rape as a tool of power and oppression over women, women who just may be their wives.

Because, sometimes, just sometimes, after a long-ass day of any combination of working, cleaning, childrearing, and cooking, a woman may not have the energy or desire to be sexified.

Because sometimes women just don't feel like it.

And that is our basic human right.

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