Sexist notions about women and shopping"Men prowl, women...


September 15, 1996

Sexist notions about women and shopping

"Men prowl, women shop" in the Sept. 8 Perspective section was the most blatantly sexist and absurd article I have read in the Sun in quite some time. Xandra Kayden postulates that male and female reactions to attaining powerful positions in society are different. ''Men,'' she states, ''who are unsure of themselves respond destructively, including inappropriate sexual behavior. Women shop.'' This she states ''at the risk of generalization.'' I say she succeeds at generalizing and sounding stupid.

She cites Dick Morris as an example of male power stress, and Imelda Marcos and Tammy Faye Bakker as examples of female reactions to power stress. True enough, Morris was caught with a call girl, and the Rev. James Bakker did abdicate his powerful position as a result of aberrant sexual behavior. But had Tammy Faye done the same, who would have admitted to being the seducee? It could be that women seduced by powerful men are more likely to kiss and tell than men seduced by powerful women. There are many more powerful men than powerful women, and therefore more examples of powerful men exhibiting inappropriate sexual behavior as a reaction to stress. . . .

The two powerful women [Marcos and Bakker] mentioned were both overshadowed by their more powerful husbands. . . . The challenge is to find a powerful female in any society upon whom we can pin a shopper's reaction to the stress that power created. . . .

Truth be known, people shop because they have the money. And power brings money. Why do we not postulate that Donald Trump's reactions to the stress of power are both sex and shopping? Doesn't his collection of Rolls Royces, yachts and real estate qualify as power shopping? Shoes and cosmetics are cited in this article precisely because they are stereotypically associated with women, a fact that makes it clear that the author is using twisted logic to support a sexist theory.

Bruce T. Gayle

Perry Hall

Colleges should play intellectual equals

Myron Beckenstein's article on Northwestern University football (Perspective, Sept. 8) gives me a chance to voice the idea of changing college football.

The Ivy League schools have the right idea. Stick to a level playing field.

Schools like Northwestern, which stress smarts instead of size and weight, cannot compete with these NFL feeders such as USC, Penn State, Alabama. Thus there should at least be another type of conference, similar to the Ivy League.

Place Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Northwestern, Notre Dame (not a misprint, because it stresses mental ability over physical prowess), Stanford, Duke, Rice and any other scholastically oriented, mid-sized university into a football conference where the abilities of players are still subordinate to college courses.

In the tradition of the Ivy League it is so much more enjoyable to go to watch football on a crisp autumn Saturday and see a group of students indulge in a game. No coaches calling the plays, just an afternoon that brings together a few dozen boys against a similar group.

Most of these schools aren't really under-funded, so dangling sizable monies in front of them shouldn't be as important as the friendship, competition and fun for both spectator and player. Winning (money) is not everything, except in America.

I hope that Northwestern does do as well in 1996 as it did last year. But most certainly, I hope that it maintains its scholastic integrity and doesn't try to become a football factory similar to Penn Sate or Ohio State.

R. D. Bush


It takes a village, no matter who says so

I don't know how long African Americans have been familiar with the wonderful African proverb, ''It takes an entire village to raise a child,'' but I first heard it a few years ago.

Since then, I have heard it used frequently, often identified as an African proverb. Hillary Clinton adapted it as the title of her children's book, I assume with attribution.

When Bob Dole mocked that proverb in his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, Hillary Clinton never entered my mind.

I thought, instead, of courageous African Americans such as Marian Wright Edelman of the Children's Defense Fund, who supports the rights of all endangered children. I thought of Geoffrey Canada, who risks his life every day to try to bring hope to poor black children in Harlem.

I turned off the television.

The morning paper enlightened me. The Sun thinks that Candidate Dole was really taking a shot at Hillary. I'm not sure that motive is much less offensive.

But if that was his intent, his ignorance of the African provenance of this saying speaks volumes about his lack of knowledge of the African-American community.

We need a president who will reach out to an entire nation. Candidate Dole has yet to begin.

Phyllis L. Hubbell


The writer is co-minister of First Unitarian Church.

Family planning needed for future

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