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A New Look at the ERA — Men and the Equal Rights Amendment

April 16th, 2009 · 9 Comments

The ERA, first proposed during the women’s suffrage movement, has been debated for nearly a century, yet has never been adopted. The high water mark for the ERA was the early 1970s, when it finally gained bipartisan support (previously Democrats had opposed it) and was sent to the states for ratification. Over the next several years 35 states ratified the ERA, bringing it very close to the 38 needed to amend the Constitution. The drive for ratification petered out by 1980, and since then the amendment has only been brought up by diehard supporters — mostly women’s groups.

That the ERA lost support may appear perplexing at first glance, but one has to take into account the changes that were occurring in the 1970s. At this point, divorce laws had only recently begun to favor women, and US manufacturing was still fairly healthy. Additionally, affirmative action was just starting to kick in, and women still found themselves in what they considered an unfavorable situation. However, by the 1980s US manufacturing began its long decline, affirmative action became widespread, and the no-fault divorces that were mainly introduced in the 70s started to create windfalls for women across the nation. The American woman’s star was on the rise, and equal outcomes were no longer as attractive as alimony, child support and preferential hiring policies. For a time, men accepted these changes, as they still dominated the workforce and the Cold War economy created plenty of jobs for them. There were a few men, however, who saw the writing on the wall (mainly those who had been dispossessed in divorce), and men’s activism started to emerge as a recognized, if not particularly potent, political movement.

Despite the efforts of those valiant few men, the steady march of women’s activism did not lose steam; on the contrary, it became a juggernaut that mercilessly crushed its opponents throughout the Clinton presidency. When VAWA, the crowning achievement of women’s activism, was passed with the steadfast support of current Vice President Joe Biden, the women’s movement transparently switched from espousing egalitarianism to supporting outright domination.

The status quo that emerged in the 1990s has largely remained. Most ordinary men have been relegated to second-class citizens in their own homes and in the workplace, forced to walk on eggshells lest they get slammed with one or another allegation that could send them into the street overnight. Defeated men have begun to avoid marriage and commitment, and rather than take up traditional roles and responsibilities have been leading lives of carefree dissipation or quiet desperation.

Of course, it is up to men to do what they want with their lives. Given what men have been through over the last few decades, the last thing they need is more abuse, punishment or criticism. A man’s life should be his own, and, with due respect for the rights of others, he should live it as he pleases. But to be truly free, discrimination against men in the workforce in the form of affirmative action and discrimination against men in the family in the form of unfair divorce laws and VAWA should be eliminated. The ERA can do that. Every single provision of VAWA that gives superior rights to women could be gutted with these simple lines:

Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.

Supporting the ERA may require a shift in perspective for some men. It may seem radical, but given the circumstances we find ourselves in, it is our best shot at righting some of the wrongs of the past several decades. If men do not demand equality under the law, we will only see a further erosion of our constitutional rights and be driven ever further toward the abyss of slavery.

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9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 verite smith // Apr 16, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Good job! Finally some men are figuring out that the ERA (and those who support it) really do want equality of the sexes. That’s been the aim all along. So join up at http://www.4ERA.org and work to help get it ratified.

  • 2 Derek // Apr 16, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    I have been thinking the same thing. However, I am not sure it would help. Most state constitutions already guarantee those rights and yet women have special rights every day of the week.

    It’s not enough to have a law say something is equal. The issue has to be forced and I really don’t think most men are willing to force it. We would rather just drop out and let our society crumble.

  • 3 Lukobe // Apr 17, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Passage of the ERA would seem to validate gay marriage and require the elimination of the draft or the drafting of women. Rather libertarian, really.

  • 4 Justin // Apr 17, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    I tend to agree with Derek above. Equality to most people today means women and minority favoratism. Most likely it would just lead to more “equal pay” lawsuits and whatnot.

  • 5 novaseeker // Apr 27, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    Remember, the women’s groups are onto this, and hence no longer support the old ERA.

    Now they are advocating a female-tailored Constitutional Equality Amendment : http://www.now.org/organization/conference/1995/resoluti.html

    They see the issue you have raised. They do not want equality. They want supremacy. So they have revised their demand from the ERA to something that would advance women’s interests only, while preserving the advances of women in all other areas (aff action, fam law) without any adjustment.

    This is a full-blown supremacy movement, now.

    No way around that. ERA is no solution, because women are smart enough to have moved beyond that.

    They are outmaneuvering us.

  • 6 Welmer // Apr 27, 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Good find, Novaseeker.

    “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”

  • 7 sestamibi // Apr 28, 2009 at 9:03 am

    You know, that thought occurred to me about three years ago.

  • 8 novaseeker // Apr 28, 2009 at 10:09 am

    ““All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”

    Orwell is going to go down in history as one of the more prescient observers of the 20th Century, I think.

    But, yes, female animals, in this case, are more equal than male animals.

  • 9 MarkyMark // May 9, 2009 at 9:29 am


    One way to end all the foolishness is to GIVE women the equality they always bitch about having. They have superiority, of course, but if they really had to accept equality, they wouldn’t want it anymore. Just look at what’s happening WRT divorce cases where the woman earns more; now that WOMEN are getting taken to the cleaners, they’re crying like stuck pigs! I say let’s give ‘em MORE equality; let’s give them all the equality they asked for…


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