Rest in peace, Phyllis Schlafly. I respected her for her leadership skills, even when she campaigned against almost all of the causes that I supported.
I also was often bewildered by her contradictions. In that I was not alone. Schlafly, who died Monday at age 92 in her home in St. Louis, was the quintessential anti-feminist leader in the 1970s, yet she lived a life that embodied in many ways the feminist dream.
She was a proud wife and mother but also a lawyer who built her own media empire, wrote or edited 20 books, published a monthly newsletter, wrote a syndicated newspaper column (a colleague!), produced radio commentaries, anchored a radio talk show and maintained stardom on the college lecture circuit.
To me she was the anti-feminist feminist. She founded the Eagle Forum, a potent social conservative group, denounced feminism as promoting "power for the female left" and called "oppression by the patriarchy," among other feminist arguments, a "ridiculous idea."