Deanne Stillman's "The Trouble with Male-Bashing" (Feb. 27) says exactly what I've been trying to get a female friend to understand for some time. Yes, much of the ill feeling against men is based on experience, and men do many things to reinforce the stereotypes that have led to the tension between men and women. But that does not mean that all men are evil, ill-mannered chauvinists. Just some of them. Well, maybe even a lot of them.
As an attractive, intelligent female, I have often been the victim of the unfair assumptions men make about me: I am apparently not supposed to have strong opinions or a brain in my head. Many men have made it clear to me that they are not interested in someone who is unwilling to bow to their supposedly better judgment. This is just as unfair as saying that all men are jerks.
Although it has been a long time since there has been a man in my life who appreciates and accepts me for who I am, I have not lost hope that I will find him. And if I don't, I'd rather be alone than waste my time on one of the aforementioned jerks.
Here is a presumably successful, intelligent and articulate woman coming to the defense of men at the expense of the members of her own gender. Stillman ridicules women, portraying them all as hostile and aggressive. She demeans the "gender difference" theorists. I realize she intended her article to be entertaining, but speaking as a woman and a staunch feminist, my reaction to her premise was: "With friends like this, who needs enemies?"
For the sake of comedy, she presents a one-sided argument, overlooking many of the reasons why women are angry. Working women earn 25% less than men. And while it's true that more women are succeeding professionally, how far have we really come? Women compose more than 50% of the population, but as of this year there are only seven women in the U.S. Senate and 47 in the House of Representatives. Is this equality?
Women like Stillman and Phyllis Schlafly do other women a great disservice. If we are ever going to achieve equality, it will require unity and support from all members of our gender. Let's not bash men, but let's not bash women either.
ANITA B. KREMEN
Most cultures encourage their males to female-bash virtually from birth. Now, thanks to daytime television, women have become more aware of the repressive techniques that men use to devalue women. While I do not sanction mutilation of any kind, I do believe it's perfectly OK to bash men. It's the only thing that seems to get through their thick skulls.
Good old "gal" Deanne, who is obviously a member of the Good Old Boys Club, has some valid points to make. Unfortunately, the patronizing and patriarchal style in which she writes speaks volumes on how little she values her gender. She may believe she is humorous or cute; she is just plain demeaning.
BARBARA A. ROBINSON
The question isn't "Why can't a woman be more like a man?" nor, in the current version, "Why can't a man be more like a woman?" The question is: "Can we recognize our many differences and live with them?"
As I commented to a male friend during the height of Bobbitt-mania, "If all women were to follow her behavior, wouldn't it be kind of like cutting off your nose to spite your face?"
Now I know how Nancy Kerrigan feels. Oh sure, Stillman's cheap shot about me in her article, "Stephanie Miller, the painfully not-funny KFI gabfest host," hurt a little. But what I really object to is her complete misrepresentation of me and my radio show. First, I completely condemned Lorena Bobbitt's action on the air several times, and second, I never had as a topic on my show whether Bobbitt should have cut off her husband's penis. It's interesting in an article on male-bashing that Stillman would stoop to such blatant female-bashing.
On second thought, forget Nancy; now I know how John Bobbitt felt. And at least Nancy got to go to Disneyland afterward.
Stillman responds: According to my notes, on Nov. 13, 1993, Miller lightheartedly asked the listeners to phone in and discuss the question of whether or not Lorena Bobbitt should have cut off her husband's penis. It is irrelevant to me whether or not she condemned the act; the point was that she trivialized a profound moment in the battle of the sexes by presenting the question in a superficial way during what she herself had billed--supposedly humorously--the "men are slime hour."
As for the second point--that my criticism of Miller constitutes "female-bashing"--she fails to note that I also criticized Rush Limbaugh, among others. In other words, if a woman expresses a negative opinion about another (very public) woman, it carries a political agenda; if the opinion is about a man, it's not worth mentioning.