SHE'S NOT OUR SISTER !
FIVE EASY PIECES -MOSTLY WOMEN
by Laura Douglas
In her article, "The Feminine
Mistake," Esquire, January, 1971,
Helen Lawrenson decries the "manipulated hysteria" and "splenetic
frenzy of hatred for men" of the
Women's Liberation Movement. Using
a barrage of emotional language
("sick, silly creatures," "phony
movement," "These are not normal
women. I think they are freaks.")
no less hysterical in tone than the
"strident speeches" she accuses
Women's Liberation advocates of
making, Ms. Lawrenson seems most
concerned to show that all women in
the movement are men-haters. She
proves this logically by stating
that they all hate housework, the
mother-wife role, and that many of
their leaders are divorced, separated, childless, or unrepentantly
single. She seems to favor the "I
state It, therefore it is true"
method of proving her generalizations.
If I had less knowledge of
biology, I would swear Ms. Lawrenson has a severe castration complex
No less than eight times does she
refer to egregious forms of men-
hating and male subjugation. The
motivating factor is possibly the
male assumption that once in power
we will do unto them as has been
done unto us.
I have to admire her thoroughness. She has dragged out every
canard in the anti-feminist litany.
Lack of space limits the number of
charges I can respond to. Most emphasized is the "biology is destiny" or "culture is nothing" argument which tells us that woman's
primary function is reproduction
and everything else is superimposed
This leads into the ancillary argument that there is no career more
rewarding than that of wife and
mother and that a woman who truly
loves a man wants to wait on him
and be bossed by him—to deny any
of the above is "bucking nature."
The corollary of the woman who has
no choice, who is not an independent human being, not an equal
partner, but is forced to live
through her husband and children
and in frustration nags and belittles them Is never assumed even
though Ms. Lawrenson bemoans the
fate of the hen-pecked husband.
Woven throughout the above argument are threads of the feminists' contempt for the "average
normal woman"(i.e., housewife), the
idea that a woman who is "gifted,
ambitious, and determined" enough
can make it(also known as the Gifted Negro Theory), and the reminder
that there are more urgent problems
to be considered.
The only contempt for housewives seems to be coming from Ms.
Lawrenson who has made it(i.e.,
gifted as opposed to average)and
thinks that men have more monotonous Jobs to perform than housework which "may get tiresome at
times but it sure as hell beats
working." Since housewives do not
get paid for their labor and since
money is the mark of value in society, It Is assumed that what they
do is not work but a "natural" form
The existence of other problems is not an argument for postponing women's rights, but clear
proof of the need for independent
human beings working in equal partnership to solve those problems.
The denial of rights, the denial of
choice prevents the development of
full human potential. Impedes
change, and cripples society. The
time of people as objects, of any
kind, is past. The time of human
beings must be NOW.
This is a movie which, for
some reason, has been receiving enthusiastic reviews. The name refers to the title of a beginner's
piano book, but it could Just as
well allude to the women portrayed
In the film.
All of the characters in the
film are shallow which, I suppose,
is what it is all about. The female characters are particularly
weak, however. The lower-class wo-
men(waitresses and bowlers)are portrayed as stupid, non-verbal snivelers. The central male figure is
constantly and painfully embarrassed by their linguistic bloopers—
but they are good for a "lay" and
by Nancy Callen
are therefore tolerated. In vain
I waited for these poor dumb females to display some tiny shred of
strength, character, or individuality of thought.
The upper-class women(concert
pianists)are more linguistically
adept but still "know their place."
They beg, cry, and mutter such
Freudian insights into female character as "M-m-m, I hear that sailors are sadistic." When delivering
one of the rare speeches of self-
awareness in this movie, one of
them Is silenced in typical Hollywood fashion by a kiss.
A movie which portrayed black
people in such a way would not be
THE PRIME OF MISS BITSY BEEKMAN
Reviewing a comic strip is a
chancy Job. It makes one watchful
and a little irked. Explaining a
comic serial is not difficult.
Predicting the outcome would not
tax the capacities of a double-
digit I.Q. But gauging the pace is
tricky. Accordingly, this review
is dated (Jan. 1, 1971).
If gaining public attention
can, in Itself, be considered progress, then women's liberation has
recently made a giant stride. No
longer merelv the butt of one-line
Jokes from single-cell brains, the
women's rights movement now enters
millions of American homes daily as
the subject of a highly popular and
widely syndicated comic strip.
Milton Canlff has left off detailing the exploits of Steve
Canvon, career hero and Air Force
officer, to turn his almost undivided attention to women's liberation. (He paused on Christmas
day to condemn those who talk about
by Helen Cassidy
peace at the price of dictatorship
and to salute those who are fighting in "far-flung places" to ensure
peace.) It is evidently difficult
for Mr. Caniff to stray too long
OiH". too far from war and the armed
forces—those subjects closest to
From his cast of characters,
Caniff has chosen Bitsy Beekman,
an individualistic pilot, to carry
the banner of women's rights.
Given his obvious prejudices, it
is easy to speculate why she was
chosen. Bitsy has been previously
portrayed as a frustrated female
in frantic search for a male. She
has always worn men's clothes.
She has frequently been Jealous of
more attractive women. Furthermore, she is in no way related to
Steve Canyon. (God forbid the
women's movement should ever
closely touch our hero.) His
choice is obviously not because
she is an able defender of the
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