Objects of Sex and ViolenceThe appearance of the Sports...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

March 28, 1992

Objects of Sex and Violence

The appearance of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition has given rise to some serious discussion among the women I work with. A co-worker pointed out that not very long ago the cover was a grainy picture of Mike Tyson with the word "GUILTY" across the front.

Does anyone else find this ironic? The same magazine which devotes an entire issue to the gratuitous portrayal of women as sexual objects also frowns upon men who treat women as such && objects.

Does anyone at Sports Illustrated think about the connection between attitudes such as those of people like Mike Tyson and their own depiction of women as less than people?

Women are given the message through the media that they should be sexy and attractive. However if those same women are assaulted they must have been asking for it because of the way they looked.

Relationships between the sexes are difficult enough without these mixed messages.

If the people at Sports Illustrated respond that they are only portraying the glories of perfectly fit athletic bodies, then I would ask, where are the men? Why are there no shots of healthy male bodies in thong bathing suits?

The answer is of course that the issue has nothing to do with health and everything to do with sex. The bottom line is to make a profit. Sex sells. Women as sex objects sell big.

As long as it is acceptable to portray women in this manner we will continue to have grainy black and white photos with the caption "GUILTY."

Mary R. Gunther

Baltimore

BWI's Future

I want to commend you for your balanced, perceptive March 13 editorial, "Sell BWI Airport?". It raised important issues that state officials must address before letting go of this valuable public asset.

There is one thing you did not mention, however, that is of great concern to the airlines: The tremendous debt such a sale could place on the airport and the effect that debt could have on the level of air service at BWI and the cost of traveling and shipping through that airport.

Mayors and governors across the country are being told they can reap hundreds of millions of dollars -- in some cases billions of dollars -- by selling their airports to the private sector. Naturally, such talk captures their attention. But state officials need to bear in mind that the buyer likely will be borrowing that money and will need to substantially raise landing fees, parking fees and rents to service the debt. The deal might be the ultimate leveraged buyout.

As you pointed out, BWI is an important economic engine for Maryland. The state should not jeopardize the airport's economic viability. Nor should it burden Maryland air travelers and shippers with excessive costs, which is exactly what would happen if BWI became a debt-laden, high-cost operation.

Robert J. Aaronson

Washington

The writer, president of the Air Transport Association of America, was the Maryland Aviation Administrator from 1972 to 1978.

House Overboard

Members of the Maryland House of Delegates have abdicated their responsibility to the state, to its citizens and to the future economic health of both. They passed a $500-million dollar tax bill for the state which allows for another $300 million for local governments through increases in the local "piggy-back" income tax.

The increase in the local "piggy back" income tax is the largest single tax increase this year and surpasses the total tax increase passed by the Senate. Yet, it has received almost no coverage.

With all but one county at the maximum 50 percent rate for the "piggy-back" tax, with more than 95 percent of the state's citizens paying the maximum rate and with support for the increased rate to 60 percent by delegates from the populous counties, most Marylanders will see a drastic impact from this hidden tax increase.

Are Maryland citizens prepared for nearly $1 billion in new taxes as proposed by the House? This citizen, as an economist and a Democrat, surely is not.

Frederick W. Derrick

Columbia

Dragon's Breath is Potentially Lethal

I am appalled that The Sun would allow the opinion of its movie critic to be portrayed as a factual news article.

Dragon's Breath, the subject of S.B. 364 which bans the sale of incendiary material, is potentially lethal. I introduced this bill at the urging of an unusually united law enforcement community that generally does not support bans.

Had Stephen Hunter, who does not cover Annapolis, contacted the bills' sponsor or any law enforcement group, he would have known the following:

1. The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) has tested Dragon's Breath. According to the director of BATF's testing division, this material, when shot from a regular 12-gauge shotgun, emits a 4,000 degree fireball which burns very hot. It will torch whatever it hits.

2. BATF tested the material at 30 feet on a mannequin dressed in a police uniform covered with a bullet-proof vest. It melted the vest and burned the mannequin.

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