Oh, consciousness raising--what inanities have been caused by its practice! How else can one explain the remark of an otherwise seemingly quite sensible Prof. Dolores Hayden that danger in the streets has its roots in "Victorian patriarchal views that reserved public life for men only" ("Feminists Say Safe City Design Would Allay Risk to Women" by Ann Japenga, May 8)?
First, please direct me to the Victorian parts of Westwood and environs.
But, more to the point, it isn't so. I do not pretend to personal knowledge of Victorian or even Edwardian times, but I did grow up in a city (Indianapolis) of street cars on fixed tracks, a downtown central market and tree and shrubbery-covered college campuses, all of them regularly negotiated with impunity by women. Those were the days when motormen helped women with packages, might stop in the middle of the block if that were more convenient and made high school boys get up and surrender their seats.
Why do you suppose that those basically unplanned systems worked while today's much better planned passive measures are not satisfactory to the planners? I fear the ACLU would not like the answer.
You see, those streetcar motormen would not let a drunk or a bum aboard even if he had money, much less any group of teen-agers carrying loud radios. Stray people were not allowed to lurk around parks or bus stops. . . . Police all over the country regularly hustled undesirables off the public areas.