I object to Lynnette Burrows presuming to know what all women think: I have a feeling that she would object were I to conclude on the basis of her presumptuousness that all women have delusions of omnipotence.
When confronted with the assertion "women think and feel differently from men" I want to know which women? Individual people think and feel. So far in my life, the people I have had most in common with have been male — not because they are men, but because our intellects and imaginations meet. Mental processes have no gender.
In pursuing my interests, however, I have been much wearied by endless comments along the lines of "you're an attractive girl, why are you interested in philosophy?", and I am certain that in the face of such discouragement many women just give up and submit to the stereotype.
Contra Ms Burrows, I for one would not prefer being a housewife to being an exploited male worker, because I could live with a man I loved as an equal, and that would preclude being his servant. Men are equally trapped by stereotyping; but the exploited male worker has the economic independence to decide in which prison he will live.
And if there is a tradition of love and trust between the sexes why do men, including the Catholic hierarchy, band together and keep women out of positions of authority and influence?
Ten times as many women as men receive treatment for depression, which is essentially a profound alienation of the spirit. Women are prevented from being who they are by men, and by Uncle Toms like Lynette Burrows who seek to make others glory in their weakness.
Jacqueline Castles London W2
LYNETTE Burrows is right to reaffirm (November 3) that women are not, as the "die-hard egalitarians" insist, fundamentally the same as men, with a few different physical characteristics and various forms of social programming. Given that there are differences, we might reasonably conclude that some forms of work are mole suitable for one sex rather than the other.
Nevertheless, Burrows fails to address satisfactorily the question of women and work. While it is true that men have laboured in terrible conditions in the past, it is also absurd to suggest that women have had the "slightly easier option" because they were not liable for military service and could remain "at home".
Women's "option" (?) has in fact often been difficult because they are more easily exploited than men. Men have indeed had to go out to work in miserable circumstances, for a pittance; but, taking the nineteenth century example (as Burrows does), there were also countless women and children who worked for unscrupulous millowners, favoured as employees because they could be paid even less and worked harder than adult males.
In addition they were mothers and housewives.
Alice Rist Cambridge