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Feminists flip over this book

WASHINGTON – Following a lengthy and reverential introduction by John Hilboldt, director of lectures and seminars at the Heritage Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly, the grande dame of the conservative movement, strode to the microphone and addressed an intimate gathering in the think tank’s auditorium as well as cameras from C-SPAN’s BookTV.

“Yes, I’ve had a very interesting and fun life, and I don’t owe any of it to the feminists,” the sprightly 86-year-old activist said in promoting her newest book, “The Flipside of Feminism,” written with her niece, Suzanne Venker. “Feminism has become a very hot topic. I suppose the reason is Sarah Palin. Feminists cannot resist attacking Sarah Palin. It’s not just because she’s a successful woman. She has a cool husband, a lot of kids, a great career, making lots of money. … And the acid in their wounds is that she’s pretty too.”

Legends are made of such stuff – and Schlafly is a living legend among conservatives.

Get the book that’s driving the feminists wild – “The Flipside of Feminism” – autographed exclusively by the authors, Suzanne Venker and the legendary Phyllis Schlafly, exclusively in the WND Superstore.

She almost single-handedly defeated the Equal Rights Amendment a generation ago – and now she’s back trying to finish off feminism with her feisty niece and collaborator.

It probably isn’t what Gloria Steinem had in mind for Women’s History Month, but it’s the way Schlafly and Venker kicked it off Tuesday with the official unveiling of “The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know – and Men Can’t Say,” the latest release from WND Books, in a media burst that included interviews with top national talk shows and a PBS interview.

If feminists weren’t already angry enough at Schlafly and Venker, the book is No. 1 at Amazon in the category of non-fiction, women’s studies, feminist theories.

The first stop on day one of the book tour was the Laura Ingraham radio show, with substitute host Raymond Arroyo, who called their book “fantastic” before the broadcast.

Arroyo is producer and host of “The World Over” on the global Catholic cable network EWTN, and author of books about EWTN founder Mother Angelica. Arroyo regretted that the authors couldn’t appear live on his show this week in Washington, but Venker had to return to her husband and children.

The elder stateswoman got the first crack at the old question, “Why did you write the book?”

“Well, we needed to tell the American people what feminism really is,” said Schlafly – ever on offense. “How it’s such a fraud. How it leads young women down a dead-end road. … And somehow they think that opportunities for women only came along when feminist movement came along. Wrong. I worked my way through college and got my degree at university in 1944. My mother got her degree at a great university in 1920.”

Phyllis Schlafly, Raymond Arroyo, Suzanne Venker

Needless to say, feminists don’t like Schlafly and Venker any more than the pair like feminists. The book is getting some rather harsh criticism, according to Venker, astonished to get e-mails comparing her unfavorably to Hitler. Too, Glamour magazine has taken notice of Venker’s previous work, “7 Myths of Working Mothers,”  placing it in the “Don’t Read” area of its “Dos and Don’ts” section.

After the speech, Venker and Schlafly caucused with Heritage’s interns, mostly female, for a private luncheon.

“Times have certainly changed!” said Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor-at-large of National Review Online. “We live in the days of Sarah Palin, vice-presidential candidate, the Susan B. Anthony List, and a plethora of pro-life women in Congress – and many a female Heritage Foundation intern! I interned [at Heritage] myself – not THAT long ago – and I’d frequently be the gal in the intern seminar. That room Tuesday was a Phyllis Schlafly success story, as are so many of the new female faces around Washington. Back in the heyday of the Equal Rights Amendment, she stood athwart feminism with a sharp-witted femininity. And now her natural, common sense is on the verge of becoming common-place. … [W]omen are liberating themselves from the self-denial known as feminism. Suzanne’s and Phyllis’ team-up is a great how-to for young gals who might be confused about what Ms. [magazine] wrought these past decades, since the textbooks aren’t being written by the Heritage Foundation or National Review writers quite yet.”

Phyllis Schlafly, Suzanne Venker at book signing

Next, Schlafly and Venker rushed to PBS’ studios for “To the Contrary” hosted by Bonnie Erbé. The authors and WND were warmly welcomed by producer and camerawoman Tiane Johnson. Joy Fowlin, who had read most of the book and remained off camera, interviewed Schlafly and Venker for 15 minutes each. Fowlin explained the sequence would be narrated by Ms. Erbé and packaged into a three- to five-minute segment, to be broadcast in late March or April 2011.

Fowler told Schlafly that she had recently interviewed Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., about the congresswoman’s efforts to revive the Equal Rights Amendment

Schlafly, the author more than 20 books that have sold millions and a WND weekly columnist, informed her it doesn’t have a chance because the U.S. Constitution and labor law are gender neutral. Thus, as she often explains, women should have been permitted to vote and exercise other constitutional rights from the earliest days of our nation. They aren’t denied any today, she said.