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'Here's to the Ladies'

February 16, 1986

In response to Kilpatrick's toast to the ladies:

I wish feminism was as simple as Kilpatrick writes--bra-wearing or bra-burning, virginity or free sex and the old standby, lesbians in combat shoes.

As a second-generation American woman, whose grandmother scrubbed toilets to feed her seven children, feminism means only one thing--economics. The dignity of earning a decent living in any work that fits my talents with no regard to whether I need a bra.

Feminism also means the ownership and control over my own body. It's saying no as well as saying what I want without the veil of manipulation. Feminism is choice, decision-making and creating a life I want to be in. Those choices could mean husband, children, dresses, bras or combat boots.

To focus on the simplistic is to ignore the fact we are past the point where insults could make any difference.

The "new order" Kilpatrick writes of is not a younger version of Phyllis Schlafly but women like my 19-year-old daughter whose feminism is part of her genetic makeup. The new order of feminism is also a man like my 17-year-old son who likes women, values their intelligence and values them as an integral part of his life.

So, Mr. Kilpatrick, your undeserved honor as 12th-ranked male chauvinist pig is cute and inconsequential. Your hope for this "new order" is a fantasy. Women are virgins today because they want to be virgins. Women wear dresses because they want to wear dresses. It's not because Phyllis Schlafly says they should. Pity the poor woman who feels she has to be the lady you and your 11 friends think she should be.

The new order stayeth, yielding to no one. Sic Transit James J. Kilpatrick, and here's to the boys, God protect them.


Woodland Hills

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