Jonathan Yardley's equation of Catherine Schuler's feminist critique of literature {letters, Dec. 4} with pie-slinging was instructive {"One White Male, Seeing Red," Style, Dec. 10}. It's a shame that phrases such as "white male paranoia" and "woman-hating" appear to insult him, presumably because of their tendency to generalize all the individualized, historically privileged white men. Perhaps his indignation will help him understand what I feel every time I am confronted by mainstream depictions of women in the arts, letters and media.

I hope Yardley's empathy will motivate him to examine the processes through which white male dominance has ensured perpetuation of politically selective values in the arts and letters. The "lamentably few exceptions" to white male production of Western culture are the result of white male control over the socio-economic circumstances of women and over the criteria for valorization of "great works."

As a woman who has a postdoctoral education in the white male curricula, I recommend to Yardley that he become equally informed about his opponent and her grievances before putting up any more pies. -- Joanne Klein

Although I didn't expect the dubious honor of a direct response to my letter, I must say that Jonathan Yardley's defensiveness, the nature of his argument, indeed, his very language ("our" literature, "our" art) reinforced my point.

Men like Yardley, who apparently have never experienced genuine discrimination or engaged in a real debate about curriculum transformation, typically respond to any challenge to white male hegemony with the kind of "she's not engaging in a reasonable debate" logic he displayed in his column. The implication is that fanatic feminists are incapable of rational discourse. This is a cliche' used mostly by people who have not studied the history and theory of oppression. Yardley has simply not done his homework, and every word he writes about canon and curriculum transformation confirms his ignorance.

One example will suffice. Yardley wrote: "With lamentably few exceptions, the great work of Western culture has been done by white males."

I would like to ask him a question that apparently has not occurred to him -- Who defines greatness? I can answer that -- for the most part, it is the same white males who create and are the principal audience for the "masterpieces" of Western culture. Doesn't it seem legitimate, then, to question the objectivity of these men?

Yardley said that your paper would gladly print a balanced discussion of curriculum transformation if someone would just submit it. However, articles on curriculum that have appeared in your paper during the past three years show a bias that is not particularly hospitable to feminist scholarship. If your paper does take pride in allowing all reasonable views to be heard, perhaps it should invite responses by qualified women and minorities to articles like those by Yardley and his fellow travelers. Better yet, why doesn't Yardley open up his column for the next several weeks to qualified women and minorities? I would be pleased to suggest some names.

Finally, Yardley and his lawyer (the one who said, "If you're a white male, forget it. That's the one group in our society that no longer has any legal rights at all") should really have a reality check. For them to suggest that white males are the most oppressed group in this country is not only an incredible distortion of fact but morally and intellectually dishonest. If anecdotal evidence has become a substitute for fact, I'd be glad to challenge Yardley anecdote for anecdote.

-- Catherine Schuler

The writer is professor of theater history at the University of Maryland.