Readers write: Conversations on womanhood, manhood, and peace

Letters to the editor for the April 4, 2022 weekly magazine. Readers question our timing, debate definitions of masculinity, and wonder about peace.  

A question of timing

March was Women’s History Month, and March 8 was International Women’s Day. So I found it odd that the March 7 cover story, “Why these men find the phrase ‘toxic masculinity’ to be toxic,” was about how men’s roles are changing. 

It doesn’t feel right to disregard the marginalization, suppression, and abuse women have endured by shifting the focus to men during a month when women are supposed to be celebrated. 

While I would agree that this is an important topic, the timing of the article was off. I imagine it would be very easy to find women who are doing amazing things both nationally and internationally and tell their stories. Reading an article about the empowerment of women and how they navigate changing gender roles would have been celebratory and welcome. You missed the mark on this issue.

Cynthia Ainsworth
Salinas, California

From the editor: Thank you for your letter. As you noted, March is International Women’s Month. The Monitor ran a major cover story on women’s rights and abortion rights in the Daily digital edition on March 7. That story was not ready for print deadlines in time for our March 7 Weekly, and ran instead in the March 21 Weekly issue.

Nontoxic masculinity 

I just read the March 7 cover story on masculinity. 

As an Indigenous/Chicana woman raised with three brothers in California, I was always keenly aware of the “differences” in how we were treated, as well as many attitudes in general about what defined masculinity and femininity. I did not always agree with what I saw. 

Humans are a tribal people, and I believe young men need a rite of passage that allows them to be masculine. It used to be military service that helped boys become men, but that too has its problems. Without support, some men turn to a “toxic” form of masculinity that is overly aggressive and sexist. This expression of masculinity serves no one. 

My husband and I have had each other’s backs for 48 years. We are both strong, independent, and willful. We don’t always agree, but we respect each other. Men can be masculine without the “toxicity.”

Marlene Cartter
Vacaville, California

Did we forget about peace?

Am I the only one perplexed that in all of this talk and discourse about the war between Ukraine and Russia – and this is not new news by any means – that few people seem to be asking how and when the peace talks failed? 

What has happened in peace talks since the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014? Why didn’t they work? And what is it going to take for these two nations to sit down and talk to each other?

In reading your articles and the articles of others, I wonder why the concept of war is stressed so much more than the concept of peace. If we were to reverse this, we might be surprised at the outcome!

June Middleton
Clearwater, Florida

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