Let's go forward, not backward
To the Editor:
Having read Dina Giddens' guest column on the importance of femininity, I can only wish she had gone farther.
Giddens observed two couples for approximately four minutes while waiting in line to see a movie. During that time, she discovered a universal truth about the relations between men and women -- an impressive feat, given that no actual researcher has made that much progress that quickly.
Apparently, a man will treat a woman like "a princess" if she wears a sundress, but he will ignore and belittle her if she dresses like Snooki.
Giddens additionally noted that the sundress-clad woman was far more polite than her Snookily dressed counterpart and implied that the phenomena were related.
The men's outfits were barely mentioned, but I'm sure they also reflect a great deal about Mars-Venus relations, in addition to how politely the men are likely to behave.
Giddens surely limited her anthropological investigation of men due to space constraints. She certainly wouldn't hold women up to a double standard, would she?
Perhaps the next time she is at the theater, she could ask the "polished" prince of our sundressed heroine to verify her facts. I imagine the conversation would go something like this:
Giddens: "Excuse me, is it true you are interested in this woman because she is dressed in a manner that reflects her demure femininity?"
Baffled man: "What?"
Ladies, take note. He isn't interested in you because of your sparkling laugh or your mutual fondness for kayaking. It's not your shared history, or even the affection you feel for each other. Men only want sundresses! Return all your trousers to the store at once!
In all seriousness, this article advised women to "stop focusing on being equal" and it described a woman Giddens believes we should all want to be. This ideal woman is someone with "child-like innocence" who is "extremely fragile" and whose "honor is worth protecting."
Personally, I think we should all be protected equally under the law, regardless of what we are wearing.
Giddens' euphemistic use of the word "honor" makes this discussion all the more critical, as it implies that certain women, chaste-looking women, are more worthy of protection than women who dress in more revealing clothes. This argument has actually been used in courts of law in the United States to suggest that victims of rape were asking for their own sexual assaults.
As such, I feel compelled to reject Giddens' article in the strongest terms.
Although feminism is considered a bad word in many circles, one of its most important insights is that, for far, far too long, women's lives were organized around nothing other than their effect on men. Giddens accuses modern women of "neglecting" to consider how they affect men, and I can only say, "Brava!"
Her prescribed "demure femininity" is an irresponsible step backwards.