Letters to the editor

For richer and richer: There's no holiness in this matrimony Plus: Not all religions are sexually repressive; Asian eyelids are beautiful without surgery

Published February 18, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Who wants to marry a multimillionaire?

I find it very interesting and sad that a show such as this has aired in an era where state after state is rushing to enact "Defense of Marriage" bills to "protect" the "sanctity" of this institution from same-sex couples.

It is indeed sad, and very telling, that two heterosexual people can meet for the first time in what amounts to a cattle call on a television show and legally marry with the blessing of the laws of every state. Yet same-sex couples who may have been co-habitating for years in loving and meaningful relationships are denied this right.

So much for the "sanctity" of marriage.

-- M. Alread

Why in all the commentary I've read about this show so far has no one asked the obvious question, which is: when will we see the sequel: "Who Wants to Marry a Multi-millionairess?"

Even your writer seems to assume that only men can be multimillionaires, and that only women would compete to marry one. Can you imagine the spectacle of 50 young studs strutting their stuff for the honor of marrying an unknown, unseen woman in her 40s? Just think about it ...

-- Leslie Myers

McCain's ancestors owned slaves

It's somewhat surprising to me that Sen. McCain didn't know about his ancestors owning slaves, since he knew they owned a plantation and his great-great-grandfather fought for the Confederacy.

I know for sure that some of my ancestors owned slaves, as well as fought in the Confederate Army. While I'm not responsible for what my ancestors did, I must recognize their part in the horrors of slavery. And I recognize that my own rather privileged position in American society, as a middle-class white woman, owes a debt to the ancestors of African-Americans I see around me every day. And I recognize that while I have been privileged, they have had to struggle with the legacy of slavery and discrimination.

I hope Sen. McCain will also look and acknowledge the debt his family owes to the pain and toil and sorrow of slaves.

-- Toni Michael

If you can defame a man by his ancestors, we are all at risk aren't we?

-- W.D. Grissom

Beware of "women's culture"

Thank you for saying we have a brain! If there is one thing that has irritated me to no end it is the popular "feminist" view that women are
continually victimized. Of course they are, but who needs to be told
what to watch, buy, protest or ignore? I'm perfectly capable of
determining that myself -- thank you very much.
I wish Prose, Dworkin, McKinnon et al. would have faith in their gender
instead of preaching to it. Bravo for speaking your mind.

-- Lisa Solomon

I think in her ire Jennifer Foote Sweeney missed the key points of Francine Prose's article. First, Prose discusses the upsetting irony that the childish and materialistic image of women reflected in the media represents a bastardization of feminism at the hands of women who studied and benefited from that feminism. No longer can women blame men for stereotyping women as superficial and, well, simple-minded, because the marketing-minds behind Oxygen, et al. are all women.

Second, Prose points out that something is fundamentally wrong when anything specifically tailored to women is of offensively poor quality. When "women's" is used as a genre/niche identifier, as in "women's programming," you can assume it's bad. I challenge Sweeney to refute Prose's claims by finding any commercially popular book or movie or TV show which doesn't reproduce all the stereotypes she identified ("Providence," "Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing," etc.).

Finally, Prose asks the ultimate question, "Why does new lipstick represent the solution to every woman's problems?" Of course, lipstick represents any image-oriented product with le promesse de bonheur. All the progress supposedly made in the second half of the 20th century still hasn't changed the fact that women are expected to pursue superficial interests, look good, find a husband and then be happy.

-- Jason Frydman

Sweeney's idea that Prose is "talking down to women" is a very strange take on Prose's more probable intention -- to call attention to marketers' latest attempts to buff a new shine onto the age-old trend of reducing "women's interests" to the proper application of cosmetics and the care and feeding of a man.

I don't see how Prose's valid criticism amounts to an insult to women. Does one write and publish one's ideas only in the spirit of educating the unwashed heathen? Isn't writing often an attempt to communicate with other like-minded people?

Furthermore, in Sweeney's mind, what differentiates Prose's media criticism from her own? Perhaps I feel talked down to by Sweeney for suggesting that I can't read Francine Prose's piece and make my own judgments about it.

-- Holly Teichholtz

Monkey business

Contrary to what our own Puritanical culture might tell us, not all religions are repressive of sex. Buddhism views sex as a healthy expression of love between two people. Some Zen teachers have been known to tell an uptight student to go out and get laid and have a good time before coming back to the temple.

While I doubt Buddha would condone having sex with underage prostitutes, please do not lump all religions together as repressive of sex because they are not.

-- Cressida Lennox

Your piece mentions sex-craved clerics of several persuasions, including a nod to ribald rabbis. Looked like an opportunity to point out that mainstream Judaism has never had an anti-sex component. Rabbis should have a healthy sex life. Here's some evidence: It's a particularly blessed act to have sex on the Sabbath; couples are encouraged to kiss and touch everywhere because sex is for pleasure not just procreation; the patriarchs all had lots of sex and there's not a whisper of a suggestion that they were less holy for it. The sexuality of women was neither denied nor repressed: Among a husband's legal obligations to his wife in Talmudic times were regular lovemaking sessions. All of which just adds to the conclusion that there really isn't any "Judeo-Christian" morality. The two religions are very different.

-- Jerry Beilinson

It's rather unfair for Hank Hyena to take such pleasure in reporting the sexual foibles of Buddhist monks. Although these monks have presumably broken their rule of chastity, it's not as if they were pretending to be superior to everybody else.

People devote themselves to the religious life, not because they're above temptation, but because they want to avoid temptation. They're just as imperfect as anybody else, and, like everybody else, they sometimes give in to temptation when they shouldn't. They have set themselves a very high ideal, which most of us wouldn't even dare to aspire to. Their failure in some cases to meet that ideal shouldn't be an occasion for glee.

-- Jim Crutchfield

Asian eyes

Growing up as the only "monolid" child in a Chinese-American family, I always admired my mom's and my aunt's beautiful and expressive big eyes. Now that I am older, I love my own eyes for their wonderful almond shape and probably will not undergo double-lid surgery. I do, however, respect the choice some Asians and Asian-Americans make when they opt to undergo plastic surgery on their eyelids. I do not believe that they want double lids because they (subconsciously or not) desire the Caucasian look. I think their reason is rather simple -- most eyes with single lids appear puffy and tired, whereas obtaining double lids might help reduce that appearance. I really do not see any problem with that, and I dare anyone objecting to the double-lid procedure because they think Asians are trying to look like Caucasians to choose the puffy look over the more polished, alert one.

Just for now, pass me the eye shadow. And for you gals annoyed by your downward-pointing eyelashes but do not want surgery, grab an eyelash curler!

-- Zhen "Jen" Zhu

Valhouli points out that Asians who have undergone or are considering the surgery wouldn't tell you that it has anything to do with wanting to look Caucasian. It's only recently that anything that can be labeled as a part of the "Western" culture has had a notable presence in Taiwan. American TV shows were first introduced just prior to the '90s, and eyelids were a mainstream issue way before that. Actually, it's far trendier to mimic Japanese pop stars than anyone Caucasian.

Having grown up experiencing the "issues" of the "Asian eyelids" myself, I'd like to bring these facts to your attention:

1) The creased eyelids are actually more common than the smooth ones, for Taiwanese. As for Koreans, I don't believe I've ever seen anyone with naturally creased eyelids.

2) It's a long-standing female beauty standard to have the so-called double eyelids. The great majority of females in show biz have them.

Though I've heard plenty from my parents ("That's the only thing amiss about you!") and even from their friends, it's never even crossed my mind to change it. People like me for my entire person, strangers find me attractive because of the whole package, and the eyelids won't make any difference.

-- Ting Liao

"Beauty" pageant


Forget Jim Carrey, the real story is that the Academy has again snubbed Gonzo. He was absolutely spellbinding in "Muppets From Space." Being made of cloth and ping pong balls is no excuse for not being nominated. Shame on the Academy.

-- Art Haouser

By Letters to the Editor

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John Mccain R-ariz.