Writer Didn't Mean To Criticize Women

The Times article about a controversy which arose over my book, "Orientation to Cinema," says it "is critical of women's performance in the film industry."

That is not at all what was intended.

The facts are that there are dramatic statistical differences in pay rates and job placement in various occupations. Students demand these be explained.

The traditional male-chauvinist point of view is that women are incapable of doing the work, while the female-chauvinist position is that the male chauvinists won't allow them to do the work.

But the evidence doesn't support either of these arguments. Instead, the reasons appear to be much more complex.

In the 12 paragraphs that deal with this subject, I attempted to present an unbiased explication of what psychological and sociological studies have revealed. Several sentences were quoted out of context, as though they were my opinions, when they were only interpretations of the data that accompanied them.

Since this is a textbook, rather than a dissertation, not every statement is footnoted. But I wish to assure readers that, for any statement that is not referenced in the text itself, I can quote chapter and verse from scientific data to prove every sentence.

The statement that seemed to cause the most excitement was that "women who attend college are generally after (1) a college-educated husband, or (2) a comfortable job (whichever comes first)--but not an all-consuming professional career to which they are willing to dedicate their entire life."

This is supported by an I.A. Lewis Poll reported in the Los Angeles Times Magazine on Feb. 21, 1988. A survey of 1,635 women found that the highest goal for most women was a happy marriage, and one of their favorite places to find a husband was on college campuses. Fame and power was their last priority, and a comfortable job was in the middle of the scale. This poll is only reconfirmation for many previous studies.

While discussing the pressures of work in the entertainment industry, perhaps I over-stressed the difficulties for a traditionalist woman and under-stressed the advantages for a liberated woman. And in my quest for brevity, I might have eliminated some qualifying clauses that apparently led to misinterpretation. These deficiencies are in the process of being revised.

I certainly never intended to be critical of the growing number of wonderful women who are doing creative work in the industry. And we are doing everything possible in our department to help their numbers increase.

DR. W. MILTON TIMMONS, Van Nuys. Timmons is an instructor in the department of theater and cinema arts at Los Angeles Valley College

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