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Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly died yesterday at age 92. While I'm not one to rejoice in death, I'm grateful her long career spitting hateful rhetoric and limiting the rights for women and LGBT people is finally over. Yet before we all praise hallelujah, let's look back on how powerful and hypocritical this woman was.

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Schlafly was arguably one of the leading forces behind the American conservative movement. She single-handily wielded her power to stop the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s — which if it had passed, would have ensured equal pay for women, reproductive rights, and much more. Perhaps if Schlafly hadn't so vehemently opposed equal rights, I wouldn't have had to pay $500 for my abortion. Maybe, just maybe, if she hadn't supported patriarchal ideals with such energetic force, we would be looking at a country where insurance covers reproductive choices. 

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“ERA means abortion funding, means homosexual privileges, means whatever else”— Phyllis Schlafly, 1999

  

The ironic thing about Schlafly's career is that she was an extremely successful politician and grassroots organizer, but she championed for women to remain subservient to their husbands. She justified her extensive traveling and writing with opening her speeches with, “I’d like to thank my husband for letting me be here tonight," according to The Concourse. Schlafly made sure to let women know their places in their marriages. She said in the Sun Journal in 2007, “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.”

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Her antagonizing statements angered many including Betty Friedan, who during a debate at Indiana University in 1973, recommended that she burn at the stake. Gloria Steinem also famously retorted back to one of Schlafly's ridiculous comments that suggested that all the women at a women’s conference were gay. Steinem answered, “If we’re all lesbians, where are we getting all these unborn babies to kill?”

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Her death hopefully will bring an end of women, armed with pearls and backed by wealthy husbands, shit-talking feminism and proliferating racist, ant-immigration, and normative ideals. Well, probably not, there are still tons of conservatives out there. But at least for now, her conservative legacy is finished.

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Patricia is a writer, activist, and aspiring journalist. She likes writing about politics, sexuality, and feminism. She is a bit of a wanderer and has lived in Morocco, Australia, and India. Recently moved to Brooklyn, she is currently learning to navigate NYC subways.

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