Phyllis Schlafly, conservative activist and author, spoke to a packed Marvin Center auditorium Wednesday night.
The event, sponsored by the College Republicans, was called “Feminism vs. Conservatism: the great debate.” Schlafly gave an address, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience.
“The notion that women in this country are oppressed is the biggest lie of the 20th century,” Schlafly said. “Feminism doesn’t empower women, it keeps them licking their old wounds.”
About 250 people filled the third floor auditorium to see the College Republican speaker discuss the pitfalls of feminism and answer audience questions on topics ranging from gay rights and teen pregnancy to women in Islam.
Schlafly, who led the successful effort to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment in 1972, is a national conservative columnist and founder of the Eagle Forum.
“No one writes about feminism like I do,” Schlafly said. “If I’ve opened a few minds tonight, that’s a plus.”
The speech was well attended, though of the 250 people in the crowd perhaps 30 were there in opposition to Schlafly’s ideology.
Lee Roupas, who introduced Schlafly for the College Republicans, said the student group makes an effort to bring both conservative and liberal members of the party to speak to campus.
Schlafly asked the members of the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, the Outcrowd and other activist groups, who had planned on protesting the event but were seated among the audience, to raise their hands, and thanked them for attending the event.
“The feminist movement is just not compatible with happiness,” Schlafly said. “They are not for equality, they want to kill everything masculine.”
Schafly’s opponents charged that her pro-family position is anti-gay, a point addressed multiple times in the question-and-answer section of the evening.
Schlafly easily handled questions from the audience, pointing out inaccuracies in students’ questions and often clarifying her points to students who misquoted her in their arguments.
When a gay student in the crowd challenged Schlafly on her opposition to allowing same sex marriages, despite the fact that one of Schlafly’s sons is gay, she quickly silenced the student.
“You are entitled to your attitude, but you don’t have to make me accept it. When you legislate that (same sex marriages) are allowed, you are saying that society recognizes it,” she said. “You are not entitled to make us recognize it.”
“As for my son, who is not on the agenda tonight, I love him and am very proud of him,” she said.