The contrast could not be more stark. Having just finished reading Geov Parrish's telling commentary on "guys" who abuse women and the perpetuation of this behavior by all the decent men who fail to express outrage and horror (Impolitics, "A Guy thing," 2/11), I flip the page to an article on a "guy" building a cyberempire based on 24-hour-a-day porn ("Porn Geek"). Note: This "guy" beat on his former girlfriend. Where's the sense of outrage?
I just finished reading "A Guy Thing" by Geov Parrish (Impolitics, 2/11). It has been a long time since I have read such sexist drivel. Mr Parrish's assertions that only men are violent and only women are victims are not only off base, but harmful to both men and women. His opinions are harmful to men for obvious reasons, but also harmful to women. How? When you take a position that women are never violent (and all scientific studies show women as least as violent as men), you ensure that women that are violent can never get help.
There is plenty of outrage against men's violence against women. It is codified into federal law and most state laws. Misandrists like Mr. Parrish spew this stuff daily. Where there is no outrage, however, is against women's violence against men. Until both sides of the coin are addressed, the problem will never get solved.
A man's voice
I'm sure you've received lots of letters about Geov Parrish's 2/11 column, "A Guy Thing." I just wanted to be sure you knew what an incredible asset you have in him. I was very moved and impressed by his clear, genuine sense of outrage over the series of attacks that have been rocking this area. I've been working in the field of domestic violence for several years—first as a shelter advocate, then as a legal and court advocate, and now on a research study—and so am constantly reminded of how much work there is yet to be done. Sometimes it seems, however, that only in our little social-service bubble are people really aware of the staggering costs, both emotional and financial, of abuse. It is refreshing and inspiring to hear a man's voice so strongly articulate why we all need to work on stopping violence against women.
And battered men?
As a "guy" who has been slapped, kicked, clawed, hit with a bat, assaulted with a car, and attacked with 357 magnum (in unprovoked attacks) as well as had his child killed by the mother (I guess that's OK because it's "her choice"), I am a bit concerned that Geov Parrish may be speaking of things he knows little to nothing about (Impolitics, "A Guy Thing," 2/11).
While I would not expect this "guy" to be able to perceive reality, I am surprised that any publication calling itself a weekly would even consider publishing this kind of drivel. Perhaps the author and this "weekly" will publish some of the research it is likely to receive in response to this irresponsible and demeaning fiction.
In the men's room
Thank you for Geov Parrish's "A Guy Thing"! I would like to post it at every urinal in the country.
President, Washington State National Organization for Women
Not all sugar and spice
In response to Geov Parrish's misguided and completely uninsightful soap box of an article on violence against women (Impolitics, "A Guy Thing," 2/11), I must say that I, too, am embarrassed, but for a different reason. I am embarrassed that Geov can't see far enough past the currently popular rhetoric about domestic violence to enlighten himself about the truth of the matter: Violence is not a men's issue, it is a people issue. Violence should not be accepted by anyone, regardless of their gender.
If Geov had taken the time to even look at the most current Bureau of Justice Statistics study, he would have found that women are not only just as capable of violence as men are, but they also act on these compulsions, often against men. In fact, violence against women declined almost 25 percent from 1993 to 1996, while violence against men remained just about static. I hate to shatter the saintly female stereotype (I am one of them, after all), but women aren't really all sugar and spice and everything nice.
The point is, violence is simply wrong, no matter who happens to be the one left standing with the gun (which, interestingly, is frequently the woman since they are more likely to wield a weapon), and pointing the finger only at men is going to do nothing to solve a very serious problem. Until we realize that this is everyone's problem and begin to work on it together (a good start might be offering help for men who are experiencing domestic violence. There aren't too many battered-men's shelters around), the problem will not go away.
A men's issue
Thank you, Geov, for smartly pointing out that rape and domestic violence are men's issues ("A Guy Thing," 2/11). And that men need to start doing something about this. As a volunteer advocate on a crisis line, I speak to countless women who are raped and terrorized by men. Most of these acts are never reported. I mourn daily for these women (and men). But I've come to understand that it doesn't matter how hard I fight, we need men to change. Until men do precisely what you suggest—create a "male-centered social movement that treats violent men with a sense of horror, outrage, betrayal, and failure"—women will continue to be terrorized. Thank you for your column. The next step—hold your gender to the task.
Seattle, cultural armpit
I don't see for one minute how the fall-out in LA will affect Seattle, the cultural armpit of the world ("Uneven Flow," 2/4). Seattle reminds me of something out of the Boston area in 1978: punk and rock, only the rock is now called classic rock. Give it a break. Seattle has a long way to go if it wants to contend with the Big Four: London, New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. What a pandering job to think Seattle is in that league.
I beg to differ with University of Washington Graduate School of Public Policy professor Robert Plotnick over the efficacy of the state's WorkFirst program in reducing state welfare rolls.
Mark D. Fefer's 2/4 article, "HypeFirst," suggests that "it is our booming economy rather than brilliant public policy" that has produced the "unprecedented" decline in welfare rolls statewide and nationally. So why is Washington's experience so different from Oregon's? Both states have experienced economic expansions for most of the 1990s, yet their patterns of caseload declines have been quite different.
According to a Washington Research Council (WRC) "Special Report: Catching Up on Welfare Reform," Oregon's welfare caseload declined 51 percent from January 1993 to September 1997. Washington's caseload declined only 14 percent while national figures declined 29 percent during the same period.
The reason? Mike Lowry, whom the May 8, 1998 WRC report identified as "the major impediment to welfare reform." Lowry ignored the fact that "the rapid decline in welfare caseloads nationally after 1994 [was] due in large part to the success of the states [like Oregon] that emphasized workforce attachment." Before leaving office, lame-duck Lowry submitted a federal waiver request to preserve the state's existing AFDC program with its promise of nearly open-ended support. With Lowry gone and with his successor Gary Locke's approval, the Legislature passed Republican Rep. Suzette Cooke's WorkFirst reforms in less than four months.
Policy, not just the economy, has triggered the "unprecedented" decline in welfare-roll numbers. The key features of WorkFirst, immediate job placement and time-limited support, are benefitting both recipients and taxpayers.
Will Lehr Lake Forest Park
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