Conservative anti-feminists and supporters of Phyllis Schlafly frequently attempt to evoke a horror of modern feminism by quoting radical feminists Andrea Dworkin and Catharine MacKinnon regarding the nature of traditional marriage, as in this paragraph from Ruth Malhotra's column at the Young American's Foundation:
. . . Many influential feminists demonstrate extreme animosity towards marriage and family life, even likening the institution of marriage to that prostitution. In Feminism: An Agenda, radical feminist author Andrea Dworkin declared that the home was a dangerous place stating, “Like prostitution, marriage is an institution that is extremely oppressive and dangerous for women.” In Feminism Unmodified, feminist law professor Catharine MacKinnon states, “Feminism stresses the indistinguishability of prostitution, marriage, and sexual harassment.” Not only are such statements absurd, but illogical, bizarre, and downright ridiculous. These “pearls of wisdom” were uttered by the leaders of the modern-day feminist movement . . .
But Phyllis Schlafly, icon of American anti-feminism, agrees with Dworkin and MacKinnon. Consider the following from a story about Shclafley's recent speech at Bates College:
At one point, Schlafly also contended that married women cannot be sexually assaulted by their husbands.
“By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape,” she said.
I have heard Schlafly express this sentiment before. She honestly believes that a married woman has no right to say "no" to sex from her husband. Schlafly believes that a woman gives a man ownership of her body the moment she utters her marriage vows. Schlafly believes that a man has a right throw his wife down and physically force her to have sex, regardless of whether she is ill, in pain, in the middle of doing something else, in mourning, or just plain doesn't feel like it for whatever reason.
The only area where Schlafly's view of marriage appears to differ from that of Dworkin and MacKinnon is that Schlafly considers a woman's loss of rights over her own body within marriage to be a good thing.
What she may not be counting on is that her view of marriage provides a strong, almost impossible to counter disincentive for women to give up single status. (Who in her right mind other than Schlafly would give someone permission to force sex on her at any time for the rest of her life?) Fortunately, thanks to feminism, marital rape is now a crime throughout the United States (and I assume in most industrialized countries), thus saving marriage from total extinction.