Who Killed The American Family?

Who Killed The American Family?

If you could put your finger on the leading cause of the deterioration of the American family what would that cause be?

Feminism, GloriaBy Chris Baccile

There are many things that go into the breakdown of traditional nuclear families here in America. Feminists, judges, political leaders, college professors, courses, etc. All of these things may seem minor in its own sense but throughout the years it has added up and has created an equation of destruction for the traditional family as we know it. Let us dive into just one of these factors: Feminism.


1920 proved to be a major win for women all around the US, but was it enough? For the feminists it wasn’t. Shortly after the 19th amendment was ratified to include the right of women to be able to vote, Alice Paul, a suffragist leader, drafted the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). Many arguments of pro-ERA advocates revolved around women having equal rights in a manner that demands equal outcomes – not equal opportunity. The ERA only increased the tension of the already growing feminist movement at that time.

Many advocates against the ERA focused on traditional roles of women and that being able to be on equal terms with all men would mean sacrificing certain benefits. It would have dictated, not complementarity, but “sameness” of men and women. The ERA would have eliminated the men-only draft requirement; it would have decreased the tendency of mothers to gain custody of their children, and would repeal protective laws such as alimony.

During the 1970s, one of the most influential opponents to the ERA and feminism in general, was Phyllis Schlafly who was a traditional Republican activist from Illinois who persistently stood for traditional gender roles. She started what has been known as the “The 10 Year War” (1972-1982)—during this time Phyllis Schlafly led the pro-family movement to victory over the principal legislative goal of the radical feminists.

By 1973, 30 states had ratified the ERA. However, once the campaign of Schlafly started, the number of states ratifying began to slow. Support for the ERA in the states that had not yet ratified dropped down below 50%. Critchlow and Stachecki argue that public opinion in key states shifted against the ERA as opponents—operating on the local and state levels—won over the public. Legislators in battleground states followed public opinion in rejecting the ERA.

What does this have to do with the deterioration of the traditional family?

In the 1970’s Phyllis Schlafly said, “If the Equal Rights Amendment were ratified, we’d have homosexual marriages, women in combat, and unisex bathrooms.” Although the ERA was never ratified (by the way, the ERA continues to be reintroduced in congress to this day), we have seen America adopt many of these ideas and that is what we are seeing today.

When Schlafly had made the predictions above she was scorned and ridiculed by feminists all over and some even wanted to ‘burn her at the stake.’ The most prevalent of her predictions turned fact being gay marriage and the redefining marriage storm that is racing all over the country. The Feminists, whether they wanted to or not, planted this seed and now it is growing out of control.

Today we are seeing parallels to Schlafly’s time. The redefining of marriage to include gay couples may be the most controversial issue in America today. I believe that even if the redefinition of marriage does not happen America WILL adopt these ideas and the country will drastically change. It already has begun. Ryan Anderson wrote an article that you can find here that explains the consequences of marriage redefinition. Some of these consequences include distancing marriage from the needs of children, diminishing social pressure for husbands to stay with their wives and kids, marginalizing those with traditional views and the erosion of religious liberty. He also mentions that:

If marriage were just intense emotional regard, marital norms would make no sense as a principled matter. There is no reason of principle that requires an emotional union to be permanent. Or limited to two persons. Or sexual, much less sexually exclusive (as opposed to “open”). Or inherently oriented to family life and shaped by its demands.

In other words, if sexual complementarity is optional for marriage, then almost every other norm that sets marriage apart is optional.

Now, I am all for women having equal rights. I believe that feminism brought forth a lot of good things for women – like the right to vote and enabling them to enter the workforce. I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with a woman choosing to go to work outside the home in order to help her husband support their family. Feminists are responsible for resisting and opposing movements made by equitable parenting groups attempting to restrict biased law courts which further separate family members, particularly children and their fathers. Feminism has turned men and women against each other rather than helping them turn towards each other for support.

What can we do about it?

This is my favorite section to write! Going back to what was written earlier ‘Critchlow and Stachecki argue that public opinion in key states shifted against the ERA as opponents, operating on the local and state levels, won over the public.’ Schlafly was able to stop the pro-ERA feminists in their tracks by working hard and appealing to the local and state levels. This is also where we should start. Advocating on the local and state levels will help us make our efforts more personable and we will have a greater desire to do it. Starting on these levels enable us to create roots that can grow into the branches of the government where permanent change can be made.

We will never be able to defeat the ideology of feminism but we can stand for what we know to be true and right and take it one battle at a time. I believe that men and women were created equal and have roles that are divinely appointed to complement one another. There are certain things that men and women bring to the table to further develop society, to raise children, and to have stronger marriages. Coming together with these differences is the answer.

Chris BaccileChris Baccile is a senior at Brigham Young University- Idaho studying Marriage and Family. He has been in the leadership of BYU-Idaho’s Child and Family Advocacy Society and has presented many research topics at professional conferences. He plans on furthering his education through Master and PhD programs.




Donald T. Critchlow, Cynthia L. Stachecki. The Equal Rights Amendment Reconsidered: Politics, Policy, and Social Mobilization in a Democracy. Journal of Policy History. Vol. 20, Num. 1, 2008, pp.157-176.


Ryan T. Anderson, “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It,” Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No. 2775, March 11, 2013.


1 Comment
  • lmerryangel
    Posted at 07:15h, 06 June

    I agree that radical feminism and attempts to redefine traditional roles and redefine marriage contributed to the breakdown of the family, BUT another HUGE contributing factor was the Hollywood-condoned liberal acceptance of sex outside of marriage, with cohabitation as the norm, and even the Supreme Court rulings that let single woman have access to birth control. Pre-marital sex in the 50’s and before was a shameful act, but with feminism and access to birth control, premarital sex was called “FREE LOVE”! We now have evidence it has NOT been free, but has HARMED/KILLED millions and left fatherless youths common.

    I have all of the detailed data- particularly the SAD statistics on how
    blacks are negatively affected because according to our own CDC and the U.S. Census Bureau -they
    engage in uncommitted non-marital sexual behaviors at much higher rates
    than their white/Hispanic peers–THUS more devastating numbers in ALL of the areas
    mentioned in the following summary of FACTS:

    Blacks account for 12-13% of the U.S. population–yet they have higher
    numbers as a percentage of their race in all of the following social

    POVERTY-The #1 group trapped in poverty are single female -headed
    households–NO marriage–sadly, blacks have a 70%+ out–of-wedlock
    rate–so more will be trapped in poverty, marriage drops the probability of child poverty by 80%! ! Time Magazine recently had the statistic that we spend $500 billion on poverty-related programs.

    STD’s –Blacks have higher numbers of ALL STD’s -not just
    HIV/AIDS–which in some areas they account for 50% of the new cases–but also for Herpes,
    Chlamydia, Gonorrhea..and others,.-we know that STD’s are directly
    to sexual choices-very few to rape/incest! One estimate noted that we
    spend $20 billion on screening/treatment.

    CRIME–We know that black youth engage in higher rates of criminal
    behavior and on
    more black victims–we also know that 70% of the men in prison came
    homes with NO fathers–NO marriage–thus NO positive role model–people
    making sexual choices, but then abandon their responsibility! How does
    one begin to factor the costs of an unproductive life spent behind bars,
    along with the estimated $40,000/year per inmate for upkeep in prison?

    ABORTION–We know that since 1973-Roe v. Wade that 45 million unborn
    have been KILLED in legal abortion–BUT 1/3rd of those-15 million–
    were black and Planned Parenthood-et.al. sets up more inner city abortion
    targeting blacks-Black Americans for Life calls it genocide-!
    Statistics show that 85% of abortions are choices made by unmarried women, I THOUGHT BLACK LIVES MATTER!

    If any of you claim that abortion should remain legal–PLEASE go to
    _www.abortionno.org_ (http://www.abortionno.org/) and view the
    reality–how can any sane person support this atrocity?

    I also want to include the devastation from emotional effects of
    pre-marital sex like
    increased rates of depression and suicide, loss of self-esteem and many
    other emotional negative effects that we spend millions on
    Two new books, “Unprotected” by Dr. Miriam Grossman and “Hooked” by
    McIlhaney discuss the hormonal influence with sexual choices, and how
    youth do not understand why they feel so depressed after being
    after casual sex.
    We have seen unbelievable individual and societal devastation by
    adopting/funding the irresponsible behavior of sexual choices outside of the “PROTECTIVE” boundary of marriage. Until we return to the conservative ideals of traditional marriage and rewarding fathers who take responsibility for raising law-abiding children, and helping people
    choose LIFE for innocent unborn babies, we will continue to see the devastating consequences!

    –May GOD bless us everyone!
    MRS. Laura Merriott
    814 835-0249

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