Feminism is diverse and has improved many women's livesI...


September 11, 1999

Feminism is diverse and has improved many women's lives

I couldn't agree more with the headline of Cathy Young's column, "When teaching feminism, preach inclusiveness" (Opinion Commentary, Aug. 30). However, Ms. Young presents a distorted view of feminism.

She discusses Mary Daly, a scholar and theorist at Boston College who refused to teach male students, as though there was no debate among feminists about Ms. Daly's stand.

This is simply not true, as Ms. Young could have easily discovered.

Particularly telling is her remark, "feminists from Gloria Steinem to Eleanor Smeal . . . are championing Ms. Daly's cause." This is actually funny: taking account of feminists "from Steinem to Smeal" is like going from 1 to 1 on a scale of 100.

Many feminists, to the left and to the right of Ms. Steinem and Ms. Smeal, dispute Ms. Daly's stance.

Ms. Young used this column to plug her book and to attack the women's movement. "The women's movement, as we know it, is bankrupt," she tells us.

Really? Tell that to the women who receive counseling after rapes now, when 20 years ago they would have been grilled about what they did to provoke the rape.

Tell it to the future female engineers and scientists at Poly High School who weren't there 25 years ago, because only boys were allowed into its hallowed halls.

Tell it to the women in the workforce, where the wage gap still exists but is slowly closing, because of feminists' efforts.

Tell it to the thousands of women's studies students who are actually learning something about the female half of the human population, unlike those who went to college a generation ago.

Ms. Young needs to expand her feminist reading. We are large; we contain multitudes. We're not bankrupt and we're not going away.

Jo-Ann Pilardi


The writer is director of the Women's Studies program at Towson University.

A federal double standard on gender discrimination

Cathy Young's column illustrates the uneven enforcement of one of feminists' favorite laws, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which provides that co-ed educational institutions receiving federal funds cannot discriminate on the basis of gender.

While Mary Daly kept men out of her class at co-ed Boston College, the federal Office for Civil Rights was tightening Title IX enforcement at other schools.

Kauko Kokkonen


United Way `Day of Caring' kicks off charity campaign

Thank you for The Sun's coverage of the United Way of Central Maryland's annual "Day of Caring" campaign kick-off ("United Way raises sights," Sept. 2). For many nonprofits, the "Day of Caring" provides an opportunity to accomplish much-needed work with the support of corporate volunteers.

We'd like to publicly express our appreciation to United Way for this opportunity to work with the corporate community.

Our volunteer partners from William M. Mercer Inc. provided a full day of spackling, painting and, most important, fellowship with the elderly residents at Epiphany House, a congregate-care facility for frail, low-income seniors.

These volunteers not only rolled up their sleeves for a full day of labor, but generously opened their hearts.

We also thank Duron Paints and Wallcoverings for its generous donation of paints and supplies.

By imagine similar scenes throughout the metropolitan area, one can begin to appreciate the importance of corporate volunteerism.

Nancy Fenton


The writer is resource development director for the Govans Ecumenical Development Corp.

What about tolerance for Southern culture?

Why is it that people who push themes of tolerance, compassion and fairness seem to possess none of them when it comes to Southern culture?

In her column, "Rebel flag still flies, still means racism," (Perspective, Aug. 22) former Baltimore TV reporter Deborah L. Wright condemns all those who fly the Confederate flag as someone who "embraces the same racial intolerance and hatred that resulted in slavery."

Her reasoning? "If the Confederate flag is not a symbol of racial intolerance, why does the KKK Web site encourage the `white brother' to continue to fly it?"

So we are to believe that whatever symbols the racist Ku Klux Klan displays are inherently racist.

What about its use of the American flag and the Christian cross? Are these racist symbols as well?

By stereotyping all who venerate the Confederate flag as racists, Ms. Wright contributes to the racial caste system she describes, as surely as the police officer who stops a motorist for no reason other than "driving while black."

Chris S. Millirons


Confederate monuments stand right here at home

In her recent article, Deborah L. Wright describes her amazement and dismay at seeing a monument to Confederate soldiers in Hot Springs, Ark.

She states that she has "never visited or lived in a place where a patch of land was dedicated to honor the memory of those who had enslaved my ancestors."

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