Perspectives on a woman's place

I object to the full page placement of an opinion article so simplistic and conservative it could only add to the angst women feel ("A woman's place," March 24).

The arguments were neither new nor unconsidered by my feminism-influenced generation. In fact, we rehearse the issues over and over ad nauseum. The fact is that these heartbreaking decisions usually aren't "choices" so much as the cumulative effect of interwoven circumstances.

None of us vote against love. We vote for our lives: development, accomplishment, respect, and survival. And we find ourselves in debates that no man has ever had to wage within himself.

I don't know what particular planet author Danielle Crittenden lives on, but her academic musings are moot points for many women.

Dawn Arnold Chicago, Ill.

I have no problem with Ms. Crittenden's endorsement of full-time motherhood. My wife, for one, would love to be a full-time mom. Maintaining a middle-class lifestyle in America in 1999, however, virtually demands two incomes. We would not own a house, for instance, were it not for our two paychecks.

She doesn't say it, but Crittenden might also question the dubious effects of feminism on the economy over the past 30 years. I truly suspect that women's entrance, en masse, into the job market has resulted in an unexpected rise in housing, automobile, and food prices. I know my own parents could afford a mortgage on one income in the 1960s. And that was with my father out of college just two years. Today? It would never happen.

Barth Keck Branford, Conn.

Tsk tsk, Danielle Crittenden. Why not have a family first and career later? I'll tell you. We are all different. Some of us are not ready or fit to have children when we are 20. For mothers who need or want to work, fathers can make important contributions to family responsibilities to ease the burden on their spouses. Children benefit from the care and financial contribution of both mothers and fathers. Then if divorce occurs, women and their dependent children are less likely to become impoverished.

A woman's place is where she needs to be. So is a man's.

Lisa Hill Reno, Nev.

I believe part of the article was unfair toward men. Crittenden claims it's "very tough, in the aftermath of the sexual revolution, to find men willing to marry and take on the responsibilities of family when there's a big supply of single women out there willing to sleep with them without demanding commitment in return."

Does this represent the average man? Is it really "very tough" to find a man willing to have family ties? To claim that men are happiest without commitments to spouse, home, and family, is to deny an aspect of their nature, just as claiming that women are happiest without any career is denying an aspect of their nature. The degree of desire for home life versus career might be different in the sexes, but both desires are present in both sexes.

Jenny Lobl Roslindale, Mass.

For the record

Your coverage of the Bertrand Piccard/Brian Jones balloon achievement ("Three weeks, 29,000 miles, no stops," March 22) failed to note that Jeannette Piccard, Bertrand's grandmother, was the first woman to pilot a hydrogen balloon into the stratosphere. She accompanied her husband.

Alison Palmer Wellfleet, Mass.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to

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