Reimer promotes sterotypes about girlsColumnist Susan...

LETTERS

February 20, 1996

Reimer promotes sterotypes about girls

Columnist Susan Reimer owes all women, including her own daughter, an apology for her disgusting perpetuation of bigoted stereotypes about women and math (The Sun, Jan. 28). By far the biggest problem for girls regarding mathematics is the attitude expressed by Ms. Reimer, who parrots discredited prejudices and cartoon-like stereotypes in her facile denunciation of women's math ability. Worse still, Ms. Reimer implies an authoritative grounding for her bigotry by attributing her statements to unnamed "education researchers."

Ms. Reimer's comment about rule-following behavior is an uninformed, grotesque distortion of research that, rather than confirming Ms. Reimer's negative assessment, shows the problem to be primarily attributable to pervasive sexism in our culture and education system . . .

There is an enormous amount of literature documenting the disparate treatment of males and females in technical fields.

Ms. Reimer cavalierly asserts that "rules and orderliness appeal to girls from an early age," while boys behave "like puppies in an open field." This is no more than a stereotype.

Insofar as it reflects reality, much of the difference in behavior can be traced to societal expectations -- girls are supposed to be nice and compliant, while boys will be boys. Our culture gives permission to boys to show initiative and creativity, while relentlessly punishing girls who do the same.

Children tend to conform to our expectations. If we want girls to excel in math, we should expect them to, and they will. . .

Ruth E. Kastner

Greenbelt

Op-ed writer's views questioned

Alston Chase ("The myth of nature as a self-regulating ecosystem," Jan. 16) should stick to philosophy, in which he was trained, and avoid dabbling in sciences with which he is obviously deficient in insight.

I agree with -- and lament -- his observations that much of the conservation movement in this country has moved toward philosophy of preservation rather than the conservation ethic espoused by traditional environmentalists such as Teddy Roosevelt. However, his misrepresentation of one of the key precepts of ecology does more harm than good to his plea for more rational environmental management.

No scientist disputes the existence of ecosystems such as climax forests that might exist for centuries unless destroyed by man. The fact that an ice age might eliminate such an ecosystem illustrates the fact that stability is in the eye of the beholder and a function of both spatial and temporal dimensions.

To make an analogy between the disappearance of dinosaurs and the threat of eradication of some modern species is a greater scientific distortion than the teleological positions he so decries. What we have here is not simply a failure to communicate but science being distorted to support a political position.

I firmly believe that the preservationists started it, but fighting distortions with different distortions does little to move society as a whole toward a science-based comprehension of the nature of our current environmental problems and the development of a consensus philosophy of what we want out of our environment.

Mr. Chase should return to counting angels on the heads of pins.

William A. Richkus

Catonsville

Towson Circle could be nice

Your Jan. 27 article, "A tall order ahead for Towson Circle," ends with a quote: "Whatever else would you do with the Hutzler's building?"

My answer is to tear it down. It has always been an eyesore architecturally and an impediment to traffic. Towson needs a revitalized downtown area along York Road, and it is hard to imagine that warehouse stores (heretofore confined to semi-suburban strip malls) would fill the bill.

What is wrong with having an open park-like space -- trees, green grass, benches, skating rink in the winter, reflecting pool in the summer, concerts and many other activities? Down-under parking could be a source of revenue. The block south of Hutzler's could be rebuilt into office spaces as well as living spaces.

If you want to imagine warehouse stores in abandoned buildings, picture the old Stewart's store on Ridgely Road, now occupied by Caldor and Circuit City and falling apart at the seams. Picture another old Stewart's further down York Road in Drumcastle, now occupied by Caldor. Yuk. Not exactly downtown material.

If you want to imagine open space, picture the grounds around the Courthouse. They are a perfect example of how open space enhances an area.

It would be unconscionable to let Towson become another slum created by opportunistic and unfocused development. Towson deserves better.

Towson needs a development plan.

Frances W. Riepe

Monkton

Hispanics get trivial coverage

Can someone please explain to me why The Sun has decided that a miscount (admitted and disclosed by the pageant organizers) in a small local pageant is the most important news item printed concerning the Hispanic community?

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