Feminist liturgy was on vibrant display in today's muted, less evangelical style in Susan Isaacs's lamentation over the absence of a new generation of heroines in contemporary movies ["Searching for More Than a Sex Symbol," Outlook, Aug. 15]. But even to make this rather pallid protest, Isaacs was required to ignore contrary evidence that would muffle it further.
Two of the most popular and critically acclaimed films of recent years both showcase strong women who triumph over stupid, sadistic men rather than run off with them. Frances McDormand as the small town cop in "Fargo," and Pam Grier as the redoubtable Jackie Brown in the film of the same name, bring to life courageous, cunning women in unforgettable roles. Unforgettable, that is, for most of us, but evidently not for Isaacs. Can we attribute her oversight to the fact that these working-class women -- one a pregnant, loving wife, the other a black airline attendant -- simply don't comport with the middle-class intellectual's myopic view of strong women?
Just because neither went to Wellesley nor ended up with the corner office, these are no reasons to deprive them of their heroism -- or their humanity. After all, given today's vanquished, post-Clintonian feminism, the movement's leaders can ill afford to be choosy about their conscripts.
-- Luke Popovich
Your Aug. 14 editorial "A Subway Series?" ignores all women who grew up in the 1940s and 1950s as enthusiastic fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Your reference to "an aging cohort of men who remember the grand clashes between the Dodgers and Yankees in the 1950s" is inexplicable, especially given Doris Kearns Goodwin's fine book, "Wait Till Next Year." She wrote for all of us when she described the love of a girl in the `50s for "dem Bums" -- Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Duke Snider, Don Newcombe, Preacher Roe, Gil Hodges and Pee Wee Reese, who died this month.
When I was a little girl, my uncle and my aunts introduced me to baseball on the radio. At my girls' camp, there was always a mighty contest among Dodger, Yankee and Giant fans to see which team could produce the noisiest fans when we sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." When the Dodgers finally won the Series, my shout of joy startled the elderly proprietors of the bookstore in my staid New England college town.
I can probably forgive the adjective "aging" but not your insult to the many women who grew up Dodger fans and who still cherish memories of a team that broke the color barrier in Major League baseball and whose members earned the loyalty of their fans by their perpetual struggle against those Damn Yankees.
-- Carol Garfiel Freeman
Melynda DuVal's defense of her appearance in a skimpy bikini at the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) veggie hot dog giveaway ["Naked for a Good Cause," Free for All, Aug. 14] provides a rather adolescent, unsophisticated response coupled with a significant absence of good judgment, a lack of finesse and positively no class. DuVal seemingly fails to understand that despite present liberal times, a sense of propriety relevant to certain behaviors, situations and audiences still exists.
At an event such as the one hosted by PETA on Capitol Hill for members of Congress, the presence of women flaunting themselves in bikinis only served to detract from any sense of a meaningful cause.
DuVal, obviously and unabashedly proud of her sexuality, is welcome to use her body for her chosen purposes. But her appearance, along with that of her substantially bare-bodied female counterparts, might better serve as an advertisement for an adults-only entertainment club or legal Nevada brothel. That way, at least DuVal and her companions would not be denigrating women under the guise of a legitimate cause and cheapening the context of PETA's real agenda.
-- Karen L. Bune
We've been pondering Robin Givhan's assertion that "a steel-spined feminist wouldn't have on a bra to begin with" [Style, Aug. 15]. Of the two feminists in our household, one wears a bra when the occasion or dress calls for it; the other doesn't. He doesn't need one.
-- Kathleen Strouse