To the Editor:
IN HIS COLUMN (“Nasty, Brutish, and Fat,” November), John Podhoretz observes that earlier restrictions on women’s behavior “imposed unacceptable limitations on the freedoms of women.”
I disagree that the norms of the 1950s and early ’60s put unacceptable limits on women’s freedom. It did protect them from thugs like Weinstein. Now we women must protect ourselves. In my time working at law-firm offices, I never encountered a “casting couch” or any sexual advances. I never had to deal with such behavior, not just because lawyers are more buttoned-up, but because I dressed in a conservative, modest style, as I was taught in my childhood. I acted in a businesslike manner. I’m not blaming the women involved, but they wanted to be actresses and models. What did they expect? Is anyone teaching them not to go to a man’s hotel room? Somehow I knew which men to avoid. Their leers and stares gave them away to anyone who didn’t want trouble. Women are either no longer given the warnings I was given, or they no longer heed them.
With these cultural limits no longer in place, we women must protect ourselves.
To the Editor:
HARVEY Weinstein is only the tip of the iceberg. Below the tip is the rest of society, the institutional breakdowns, our change in norms. In the 1950s, police officers were revered, having sex before marriage was ruinous to a woman’s reputation, cheating or stealing was the end of anyone’s good standing. Today, police are hated by many, preteens and teens “hook up,” cheating in schools is rampant, our “public servants” have become a corrupt professional “political class,” and movies are filled with gratuitous sex. Weinstein should be in prison, but that won’t change society—just as revealing Bill Clinton’s crimes did nothing. We brought about change in 1776; we may need 1776 again.
Rehoboth Beach, Delaware