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Mature discussion is needed on porn issue

To the Editor:

The latest round of controversy following the showing of Not A Love Story has been most enlightening.

Enlightening, but also quite worrying.

What worries me in particular is the very subtle undercurrent of the statements, mostly by women, in reply to statements made by members of the Lecture Series Committee or other male members of the MIT community.

First, I'd like to address Ruth Perry's reply to Gordon Strong's letter to The Tech and to various deans, as reported by The Tech ["ODSA knew," Feb. 5]. I'm honestly upset by Perry's conclusion that Gordon's aims were harassment, and not an attempt to point out the absurdity of the Deans' Office's recent behavior in carrying out its own policies.

I know Strong personally and I find it really hard to believe that he'd want to harass young (or old) women.

To me, Perry sounds as though she is the one who feels threatened. What worries me now is that people like Perry will interpret any male's attempt to comment on the matter as harassment if they don't agree with them.

The other person who has me worried is Kerry Skiffington. In her letter ["Kalberg's reasoning," Feb. 8], she insinuates that men cannot know what women's opinion's are, in particular reference to Russell Karlberg's statement in a letter of his that he had never committed an act of violence against women.

She then brings up the subject of the date rape, and suggests that "this young man" (Russell) is a prime candidate for committing it. Why? Because, it seems, he doesn't think he's ever committed violence against women. Because he thinks he's sensitive to women, Skiffington accuses him of rank insensitivity.

Something about her reasoning seems a little flawed. She later also suggests that there's something wrong with looking at a woman. I am well aware that her actual words were "staring at a woman," but anyone who stares at any one else deserves a stare in return.

What Skiffington has done has made visual admiration socially unacceptable behavior. An admiring look, be it at woman, man or siamese cat is only as offensive as the person giving it, and most guys in the world really are okay human beings.

The end result, folks, is that as a man, I feel threatened. Because I have written this letter, and defended Russell and Gordon to some small degree, I'll probably be accused of harassment. If I look at a woman because I find her attractive, I'll be branded a potential rapist.

When I tell you I'm a member of LSC (which I happen to be) you'll decide I must be a biased bigot, incapable of sensitivity or insight. If what I just said pleases some women on this campus, then I feel a little sorry for them.

I wish all of MIT would just grow up a little. I wish the Dean's Office would try to talk to LSC on a reasonable, mature level, rather than devising ridiculous and badly upheld policies.

I wish women's groups would try to speak to people before attacking them. I wish I didn't have to write letters like this, but maybe I'm just not man enough not to feel threatened. And speaking to harassment, how many of you are going to say something unpleasant about my last name?

David Simson '86->