If the prevalence of violence in America (with guns or otherwise) upsets you, best to avoid the movies. Consider the ratings for the five films chosen for review in this paper last week (the most significant films, one must assume). All of them are R-rated, and their ratings descriptions include the following: “for bloody violence and language throughout,” “for language, sexual content, nudity and a disturbing assault,” “for strong violence, torture, sexual content, language and graphic nudity.” Not a fan of “strong violence” and “torture”? Not to worry; the last two are cream puffs, identified only as containing more language, drug use, sexual content, nudity and another “disturbing assault.” Something for the whole family, perhaps. So in pondering all the violence around and in us, consider the possibility that we like violence. We even find it entertaining. We’ll pay good money to witness it. The Roman Colosseum has nothing on us.
Daniel Taylor, St. Paul
FASHION AND SEXUALIZATION
McDormand is a model for how to present oneself with dignity
Frances McDormand’s effect when she promoted the inclusion of women at the Academy Awards was heightened by her dress. She did not make herself a sex queen. Women who wear clothes that call attention to their breasts, butts and legs cooperate with the male-dominant theme that women are sexual objects — whatever their accomplishments, their primary role is titillating men.
This subverts our demand for equality. Women in the entertainment industry have the greatest opportunity and therefore carry the heaviest responsibility to subvert our male-dominant society instead.
Wouldn’t it be exciting if more women followed McDormand’s example? If the fashion industry followed women’s demands instead of women following fashion’s dictates? If women could buy swimsuits that didn’t require shaving sensitive parts?
We’ll know women have achieved equality when we see them modestly breast-feeding in public and when cleavages in public are rare to nonexistent. Then we’ll all realize that the primary role of breasts is to feed babies, not to lure men as their playthings.
Jeanette Blonigen Clancy, Avon, Minn.
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OK. I fully support both the MeToo and Time’s Up movements and have supported the concepts behind them since long before they were born. At one point earlier in my career in the 1970s, I had a brand group at General Mills consisting of five women and me; I was product manager. In order to establish my credibility on this topic to readers, I’ll mention that my ladies took me to lunch one day and made me an “honorary woman.” Don’t believe me? Ask my wife of 50 years. But despite my strong support for these movements, I have a problem with what too often becomes the public face of women — dressing in a provocative way, as exemplified by Sunday night’s Oscars show.
As a normal heterosexual male, I can tell you that when a beautiful woman dresses in a way that exposes part of her breasts, her backside and/or her crotch tightly attired, there isn’t a male out there who isn’t thinking sex. Sorry, ladies. That’s the real world. I’m afraid you can’t have it both ways. If you present yourself as a sex object, you are likely to be treated like a sex object and invite bad behavior. I in no way endorse bad behavior, whatever the provocation, but it is what it is.
I completely agree that men need to take responsibility for their actions, but so do women. Our culture encourages women to use their sexuality as a lure and men to be the fish, but can’t we work together to put an end to that? I believe we can, but it will need the commitment of both genders.
John F. Hetterick, Plymouth
GUNS AND BUSINESSES
‘Public shaming’? Yes, because it’s about the only tool available.
I’m responding to the March 6 commentary by Megan McArdle of the Washington Post (“Shaming of NRA members isn’t good for business or the country”).
I don’t care if shaming NRA members is bad for business. Gun violence is bad for everyone. And when the current administration does nothing to control guns, private citizens feel helpless and vote with their dollar. Because that’s really all we can do. Money talks and companies are listening.
Yes, I’ll boycott FedEx because it supports the NRA, just like I no longer shop at Mills Fleet Farm because it sells semiautomatic rifles.
If you want my business, you have to work for it. I will not give one dime to anyone who perpetuates this gun industry.
Danielle Downey, Minneapolis
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House Speaker Paul Ryan and other Republicans repeatedly say you cannot have “knee-jerk” reactions to mass shootings. However, it only took Georgia state Republicans five days to take away a $50 million sales tax exemption from Delta Air Lines after Delta said it would no longer give a promotional discount to NRA members.
Twenty-six killed at Sandy Hook Elementary. Fifty-nine killed in Las Vegas. Seventeen killed at Parkland High School. Republicans did nothing. But take away an airline perk for NRA members? Just watch those Republicans spring into action to address the dire injustice perpetrated upon the poor members of the NRA.
Gary Maher, Minneapolis
A ‘shrug for most homeowners’? That analysis is deceptive.
John Collopy’s March 5 Business Forum article, “Tax law is a shrug for most homeowners,” was very misleading. He says the new tax law is not going to have an effect on the majority of Minnesotans. He neglects to mention some very important points. The itemized deduction for state and local taxes will be limited to $10,000, and home equity loan interest will not be deductible. Because of this, many Minnesotans will not find it beneficial to itemize (since the standard deduction is raised to $24,000 for married filers, $12,000 for single and $18,000 for heads of households).
A much more balanced article was written by Ross Levin on Feb. 11, “Buying or selling a house? Get ready for a soft market.” He says “the government has made a decision to reduce its support for homeownership by limiting the tax breaks. … Understand how the tax laws impact your real cost of homeownership. … [T]he only benefits are those that are above the standard deduction.”
Margaret Muehlberg, Excelsior
The writer is a certified public accountant.