OTI Online
Summer 1998

Reader Feedback
Summer 1998


Lack of Outrage

In "Hollywood Downsizes Women" [Spring 1998], Molly Haskell states that in 1997, with very few exceptions, film viewers saw countless instances of exploitation and abuse of women whisked past their eyes with "hardly a voice raised in protest."
      It seems that with the right to make a film comes the right to strip women of their dignity, figuratively and literally. Women are generally depicted as weak, unstable, insecure, and submissive, and their lives almost always revolve around a particular man, or men in general. Where there is a so-called strong female character, her strength and/or independence are usually tempered by a major character flaw or life crisis: The successful, enterprising businesswoman is depicted as callous and unlikable; the freethinker is plagued by loneliness and depression, because her independence prevents her from remaining in relationships with men.
     There also seems to be a standard nudity clause in all female film contracts. Even during sex scenes, where nudity is entirely relevant, any naked bodies that are shown are female. Aside from the X-rating a film risks for a depiction of male nudity (for reasons I am unable to fathom), perhaps there is something else behind the lack of male nudity in films: If male actors appeared totally naked, Hollywood's "big" male stars wouldn't be so big after all.
      In our society there is an established pattern and attitude in which women are often abused and exploited. This might explain the lack of outrage when women are treated this way in film: It is difficult to be angered by a wrong when you do not perceive it as being wrong.

 Deborah Reedy, New York, NY

Woman-Friendly Corporations

Being a retired General Motors autoworker, I appreciated learning from your review of The Feminist Dollar [Spring 1998] that G.M. tops the "woman-friendly" list.
      I can remember when women came into our workforce in the early 1970s. It was a monumental effort, which took a lawsuit and several courageous women to accomplish. G.M. would not have made the list, however, without the efforts of the U.A.W. Many of the benefits are union-negotiated, and most were won by strikes and tedious negotiations.

 Tommy R. Gomez, Norman, OK

A Magazine for Women with Brains

As a women's studies graduate of U.C. Berkeley who just checked out your web site, I'm thrilled to have found you! It is wonderful to see some insightful, (usually) well-thought-out articles. While I don't agree with everything, the dialogue that has been established is rich and complex. Kudos for having created a magazine for women with brains!!

 Jessica Caudwell, Sacramento, CA

Mary Daly not a "christian"

As I made clear in my interview ["Manifesting the Goddess", Spring 1998], I am not a christian. I was deeply offended to be identified as such in the opening paragraphs preceding the articles in the section titled "Should the Trinity Be a Quartet?"
      I left the catholic church and christianity in the early seventies. I have spent the better part of the past 35 years exposing and analyzing gynocidal atrocities perpetrated and legitimated by christianity and other patriarchal religions.
      Also, I am a Radical Elemental (not "Element") Feminist philosopher.

 Mary Daly, Newton Centre, MA

Editor's Note: OTI apologizes for the typo, and for the mis-identification in the general introduction to the cover story. Daly was, of course, correctly identified in her article.


Early Returns from Reader Survey

Editor's Note: Following is a sampling of comments we've received in response to our Reader Survey [Spring 1998]. If you haven't yet responded, you have until June 30 to do so.

My reasons for reading OTI: It covers more than white women's issues; isn't afraid to include women's spirituality; and goes beyond liberalism in advocating societal change.

--Michigan

I can't believe you didn't ask about sex/gender! Given the level of detail in the survey, I assume this was by design, but just in case -- I'm male!

--Salt Lake City, UT

I am a white MBA/CPA, and a victim of domestic violence. While feminists say domestic violence strikes all classes, intervention services aren't set up for working women. I can't even get counseling at night; and I really need counseling. Crisis staffers asked me seven times if I received public assistance because they have trouble believing a professional like me can be a victim. But my economic status hasn't stopped the man from hurting me.
     We need to destroy stereotypes about victims of domestic violence in order for working women to obtain help.

--Name withheld by request

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