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Karlberg's reasoning a male rationalization

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to Russell P. Karlberg '87's Jan. 16 letter to The Tech ["Dean's Office policies on parties, pornography violate laws of freedom"]. I particularly address the sentence: "The participation of men and women actors in [pornographic] films is entirely voluntary ..." There is another line which is also relevant: "Moreover, though I have seen several pornographic movies in my three years of college, I have never committed an act of violence against a woman before or after watching one of those movies."

Regarding the first, this is the oldest line of rationalization in the book. I assume that Russell has not heard of Linda Lovelace and has no knowledge of the pimp trade in the Combat Zone into which young, often college, women are pulled and become entrapped. Men have been rationalizing that women enjoy their own exploitation for centuries; perhaps if men began to ask women if they felt exploited or enjoyed such work they would get the answer No. Women are often attributed with enjoying rape as well, remember.

As for the second, again our writer has mistaken his own opinions for those of women. If he is unwilling to ask whether or not women enjoy doing porno films, he is probably unwilling to ask whether a woman means "no" when she says "no" or, just "maybe" or "yes." This young man is a prime candidiate for committing date rape and not knowing it -- or rationalizing it away. I don't say that he has, or insinuate it. My concern is that he ask and respect the answer, not assume he knows it.

I suggest two courses of action for Russell: (1) read Linda Lovelace's autobiography, Ordeal or, if his schoolwork keeps him from that large a book, Gloria Steinem's piece "The Real Linda Lovelace" in Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions (1983, pp. 243-252); (2) think about whether or not he has ever stared at a woman and been given a glaring look -- and then thought she had no sense of humor.

Kerry K. Skiffington->

Administrative Assistant->

Department of Economics->