I was wondering what type of letter you would select for publication following your cover story "Boobs, Not Bombs" [WW, March 19, 2003], and I was so disappointed that you selected the pinch-nosed, "I'm-a-feminist-but-this-isn't-feminism/I-believe-in-female-sexuality-but-this-doesn't-count" missive written by Ms. [Meredith] Norwich. To dismiss your cover photo by saying, "...next time, how about celebrating women rather than sticking them with pins?" is not only childish, but misleading as well: Would Ms. Norwich have us believe that these women's piercings were done to them forcibly? I have zero doubt that both women on your cover would report that their choice of body adornment was entirely up to them.
Allow me to say that I consider myself a committed feminist and not one to participate in or advocate any activity that I feel is degrading to women. Were the women on the cover degraded? I did not think so at all; far from seeing degradation, I saw power, and a very powerful, albeit somewhat different, expression of female beauty. For what it's worth, I think feminism should mean accepting widely different ideas of beauty, wide enough to--gasp!--include all women. Aren't all women beautiful? Aren't all women drop-dead gorgeous?
I think the point, though, is that whether I (or anyone) find these two women attractive is not as important as realizing that some persons express themselves differently than others, and there is certainly room to be in a tolerant, diverse society for Pierced and Proud Chicks in Charge.
Tory Paul Mitchell
Southeast Harney Street
TITS AND ASSETS
I think Ms. Roe really got it right when she said that the Suicide Girls craze recreates the mainstream world. It's sad that even young feminist and punk women still hunger for approval based on the prettiness of their faces and bodies.
I'm sympathetic to these young women, as I spent six months as an Internet porn model myself. When the WW article talked about the girl who was glued to her computer for three days, reading customer responses to her nudie pictures, it brought back memories. I, too, felt an incredible high when viewers complimented my flesh assets. Thankfully, this lasted only a matter of days before I realized it was a mistake to get my self-worth and validation from a bunch of unseen, lonely people who had perfected one-handed typing.
Many of us, men and women, alternative and mainstream, have internalized sexism to the point where we don't even question why the world continues to be a beauty contest with women as entrants and men and women as judges. I know it's exhausting to fight sexism and people might think you're a drag when you point it out. But I am determined to find my real power, which does not come from people admiring my lush tits or firm ass.
Southeast Washington Street