Phylis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly says too many women in college is driving campus sexual violence

In my more youthful and energetic days, I read and reviewed an entire book co-authored by Phyllis Schlafly, a rather absurd endeavor given that Schlafly’s worldview is hopelessly incoherent, hypocritical, and fantastical, but which left me with an enduring fascination with the career anti-feminist, who is still at it at age 90. 

In a new article on World Net Daily, Schlafly proposes that the disproportionate number of women at colleges these days is driving sexual assault on campus. “Long ago when I went to college, campuses were about 70 percent male, and until 1970 it was still nearly 60 percent,” she writes. “Today, however, the male percentage has fallen to the low 40s on most campuses.” (Unsurprisingly, given her retrograde beliefs, most of Schlafly’s work leans heavily on “back in my day” reminiscences.)

The gender imbalance, Schlafly argues, gives men power to dictate the terms of the social scene, which “results in more casual hook-ups that are dead-end encounters with no future and no real romantic relationships.” This argument isn’t a new one; in fact, the New York Times story called “The New Math on Campus” that she frames her piece around is from 2010 — Schlafly is apparently so stuck in the past, she can’t even be bothered to pull her evidence from the last five years.

Schlafly goes one step farther than most “hookup culture” warriors, though, by saying the gender imbalance on campus not only drives “casual” sex that women hate deep down but also sexual assaults. Actually, that’s a bit of an assumption, because Schlafly doesn’t talk about sexual assault, violence, or rape at all. Instead, the problem of campus sexual assault that’s garnered national media and governmental attention recently is vaguely alluded to as “various sex scandals.” She writes, “The imbalance of far more women than men at colleges has been a factor in the various sex scandals that have made news in the last couple of years.” For conservatives of her ilk, of course, sexual assault is imagined to be just a particularly bad hookup, an inevitable part of a culture of casual, premarital sex, which is the real problem.

And that’s how Schlafly lands on the most simple fix to the college rape epidemic proposed yet: institute a quota that admits equal numbers of men and women to college. (I look forward to learning of an equally elegant solution to the off-campus rape epidemic in a future column.) By her logic, that should be enough to erase the problem, but, for good measure, she also suggests bringing back the men’s sports that were supposedly destroyed by “extremist feminist application of Title IX” and abolishing college loans in order to force students to stop partying and get jobs to pay for their tuition, just like — you guessed it — Schlafly did back in her day.

(h/t Salon)

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St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is executive director in charge of editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard magazine. Her work has appeared in publications like,, Bitch Magazine, as well as the anthology The Feminist Utopia Project. Before become a full-time journalist, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008. After living in Brooklyn, Oakland, and Atlanta, she is currently based in the Twin Cities.

Maya Dusenbery is an executive director of Feministing and author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm on sexism in medicine.

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