ERIC Number: ED222410
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Autopsy of the Equal Rights Amendment: Failure to Meet Opposition Rhetoric.
Foss, Sonja K.
The failure of the supporters of the Equal Rights Amendment to understand the rhetoric and world view of its opponents resulted in the defeat of the amendment. The opponents of the ERA had six arguments: women are not discriminated against; women will be drafted; protective labor laws will be eliminated; the ERA will destroy tradition regarding support, alimony, and child custody; legislation already exists to do what the ERA will do; and the ERA will require men and women to use the same restrooms. Opponents characterized proponents as radical militant "libbers" who are aggressive and unrepresentative of American values. Strategies of ERA proponents violated the world view of its opponents and of male legislators, that women should remain in their proper sphere, the home, perform wifely duties, and ultimately be placed on a pedestal. Supporters could have emphasized that protective labor laws should apply to husband as well as wife, that existing legislation is not comprehensive and can be repealed, and that the ERA doesn't suggest there are not differences between the sexes, only that an individual cannot be penalized for a difference. The two conflicting rhetorical worlds had no common ground. (KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Equal Rights Amendment
Note: Paper presented at the National Women's Studies Association Conference (Arcata, CA, June 1982).