Lifting their tops does not elevate women's stature...


June 03, 2000

Lifting their tops does not elevate women's stature

Contrary to Rita Simon's assertion in The Sun's article "Naked truth is a feeling of untopped exhilaration," (May 25) and to popular mythology, women did not burn their bras 30 years ago or anytime since.

Ms. Simon is referring to a 1968 protest by New York feminists against the Miss America Pageant.

As part of this protest, they filled a trash can with what they considered some of the instruments of women's oppression --including bras, girdles and makeup.

This reflected, in Natalie Angier's words, "a symbolic rejection of constructed femininity." But nothing was burned. Yet the next day the New York Times reported there had been "bra-burnings," and thus the myth was born.

Further, the 1968 protest had nothing to do with exhibitionism which Ms. Simon seems to link to "freedom and power." Throwing those objects into the trash was meant to convey women's refusal to be objectified.

It was about how women were seen as objects and judged by how they look. Thus the protest was at the site that symbolized that objectification: the Miss America Pageant.

It seems that what was protested 32 years ago is still very much with us --women are still judged by their appearance and men are still doing the judging.

Judith Beris


The writer teaches women's studies at Goucher College.

The Sun's article "Naked truth is a feeling of untopped exhilaration," didn't give enough attention to the totally discriminatory nature of the situation.

I'm sure a lot of guys were walking around without shirts. Why weren't they mentioned?

Given the obesity problem of many Americans, a lot men have bigger breasts than many women.

However, a portly man can take off his shirt in this setting and everyone thinks it's normal. But let a woman, even a flat-chested one, take off her bikini top at the beach and someone will call the police.

A law or policy that allows a policeman to walk onto a beach, observe a woman and a man, both topless, and arrest the woman and not the man, without any consideration of breast size or shape, is inherently unfair.

Curt Dobbs


A momentary flash or a lifetime of exposure?

The exhibitionists at the Preakness may have considered their "flash" a momentary thrill; however, the photo shows numerous spectators taking pictures.

I suspect those photographers will enjoy the memory for a long time.

Additionally, the young ladies should consider where those photos may turn up in our age of prolific Internet pornography.

A moment of poor judgment could cause a lifetime of harm.

Debbie Marino

Bel Air

Driving responsibly now seems to pose a hazard

I am an elderly driver and I am a hazard ("Elderly drivers are a hazard," letters, May 27).

I drive 55 miles per hour on the beltway, obstructing the flow of 65 to 75 mph traffic. I stop before making a right on red, impeding traffic at intersections.

I slow for yellow lights, posing a hazard to those who are trying to run the red. I use turn signals and give right of way at "yield" signs, utterly confusing those behind me.

Yes, I am a hazard in today's traffic; I will probably turn in my license this year.

Oscar Schapiro


Letting boys be boys would help control ADHD

The Sun's editorial "Time to unscramble the Ritalin riddle" (May 29), described the American Pediatric Association's attempts to better diagnose attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

If the schools weren't so indifferent to boys' need to be active while learning, a lot of the problem would disappear.

Neil Steyskal


Many minority athletes have won acclaim as Orioles

For someone who claims to be a lifelong Baltimorean, Arnold H. Sampson shows a remarkable lack of knowledge of Orioles' history ("Go to bat for all Orioles", Opinion Commentary, May 26).

He suggests that players who aren't white have had their accomplishments discounted and downplayed. How about Al Bumbry, Paul Blair, Ken Singleton, Elrod Hendricks, Mike Cuellar, Tippy Martinez and Luis Aparicio?

Some of those Mr. Sampson claims have had their contributions lost are almost a joke. Reggie Jackson? He played here one season, held out, then jumped the team as a free agent.

Eddie Murray? He is one of the most revered Orioles, in my opinion. When have his accomplishments been ignored?

Mr. Sampson claims this "bias" is why true and consistent greatness has eluded the Orioles. But at one time, the Orioles were a model organization with the best all-time winning percentage of any franchise in professional sport.

They only dropped from the ranks of the elite after 1983. To find the reason for that, look into the owner's box, not the color of the players on the field.

Bill Gates


To cite Frank Robinson as the one exception to the rule that minority athletes are not credited for their accomplishments as Orioles is to totally ignore the contributions of many others who are still recognized and respected for both their past and continuing contributions.

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