To the editors:
What was the purpose of Chris Petrakos' "To Women" [September 9]? If the author meant to emphasize that ignorance and misogyny still exist in the eighties, he only partially succeeded. What proved to be most disturbing about Petrakos' treatment of this idea was his devotion to articulating George's views on women. Instead of addressing the dangerous assumptions made by George or even using them to promote an intelligent discussion of more relevant topics (such as examining the cultural significance of why women are more often objectified/exploited in pornographic media by men), Petrakos instead joins him in a facetious salute "to women." I failed to understand what aims "To Women" attempted to achieve outside of creating an uproar. But then again, such a reaction by women would only be a smoke screen, wouldn't it?
Chris Petrakos replies:
Contrary to Ms. Thielman's suggestion, my intention in writing "To Women" was not to cause an uproar. Her complaint strikes me as being an oversimplified reaction. What she's basically asking is: why didn't I write the article the way she wanted it to be written, full of "intelligent discussion" and "relevant topics"? The answer, of course, is that the content of the incident demanded to be told without editorializing or judgment. My devotion, as she calls it, was not to articuiating George's ideas of women or to facetious salutes, but to telling the story of what happened while I was waiting for the bus that night. George didn't need me to point out his ignorance and alienation from women; he did it himself with his own words, freely and unconsciously.