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Bates on Buzz Cover

September 11, 1997

Karen Grigsby Bates' tiresome essay (Commentary, Sept. 3) chastising the lovely black actress Jada Pinkett for posing nearly nude on the September cover of Buzz magazine is nothing short of antediluvian priggishness posing as PC commentary. It would be merely hokey were it not so unforgivably condescending to Pinkett, whom Bates actually refers to at one point as "Miss Jada."

I won't attempt to defend myself and my staff against accusations of "chocolate fantasies" (crass concept courtesy of Bates). But in Jada's defense, be assured, she was in characteristic control at that photo shoot. Where a prude saw a "wanton hussy," Jada (and we) saw a joyous, triumphant winner; someone who can handle the challenges both of being a woman and being black. Might I suggest that Bates take a closer look: Nowhere in that image is there a trace of, "Come and get it, boys." Rather, it hollers, "Come on, life; I've got you by the tail."

Bates seems to believe that blacks are the only women who fall prey to lurid verbal insults from strange men--incredible given 30 years of feminist caterwauling on the sorry topic.

MARILYN BETHANY

Editor-in-chief, Buzz

Los Angeles

* Someone should tell Bates that her black women friends were not propositioned because they were black, they were propositioned because they were women. If she had asked any woman of whatever color they could have told her of propositions!

I'm fair, fat, freckled and well past 40 and it still happens to me. I just tell whoever that they couldn't possibly afford the price! It makes my husband laugh.

KATE REEVES

Fullerton

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