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Your Views: Young women need role models with self-reliance
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A new era at Riverside

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A controversy erupted in 1992 when Mattel's "Teen-Talk Barbie" was discovered to have been programmed with phrases such as "Will we ever have enough clothes?", "I love shopping!" and "Math class is tough!" While these doll were recalled, it signifies a trend in our culture which deprives young women of a proper role model.

As the frigid sense of the "housewife" archetype of the baby-boom generation began to thaw in the heat of the feminist movement, one could hope that the aims of young women would evolve beyond those of matrimony and wealth. However, the heroines of the 21st century, while evolving beyond exclaiming "I can't turn book pages; I might break a nail," seem to still lack a sense of independence.

Television and movie characters, while some maintaining a sense of independence with some sort of career, almost always are conquered by an rowdy man and the movie ends in true love. This sort of image is that regardless of who you are or how independent-minded you have become, if your story doesn't end with marriage, something is wrong with you. The unmarried, career-oriented woman persona has been reduced to sexually frigid. If one is not Hannah Montana, she is cursed to be Murphy Brown.

This might be a factor in why girls and young women feel the need to sleep in tanning beds until they look like Oompa Loompas, walk everywhere in high-heels even when it isn't appropriate and dye their hair until they are bald. If their feathers can't catch them a mate, then life is a hollow shell, with only a career to comfort them.

The late Bea Arthur (we miss you already) was famous for her roles as fiercely witty and self-reliant women, a persona that is sadly disappearing from the world. In modern day, if we cannot present a role model who is pretty, sings well and overcomes adversity to settle down, we have failed.

I am not proposing radical reformation. God knows there would be outcry if Disney tried to pilot "Life With Emma Goldman" in their fall lineup. But it remains nonetheless an upsetting principle that the toys and heroines of our daughters, sisters, granddaughters and nieces do not say as Gloria Steinem put it, "I have met brave women who are exploring the outer edge of human possibility, with no history to guide them, and with a courage to make themselves vulnerable that I find moving beyond words."

Rather we give them a teen doll who mutters nonsense like, "Don't ask me, I'm just a girl." Thus, we leave girls with a goal that there is nothing better to do in life than to be vacant-minded and artificially pretty, go to the mall with a bunch of equally vacant-minded and artificially pretty friends and talk about how great it must be to shop, eat pizza and be prom queen.

Though I cannot speak for her, I doubt that if Gertrude Stein or Eleanor Roosevelt were still living, the only thing that they would have to say is "Will we ever have enough clothes?"

Kyle Shook
Gainesville

Banning guns is not the way to stop senseless killings
"How do we stop the senseless killing?" That glaring headline of an article was evidently reprinted from the Philadelphia Enquirer in The Times (Other Views, Opinion page) on April 14. This seems to be just another outlet for liberal propaganda and they don't seem to have a clue!

They want to blame all the killings on the availability of guns. Any fool knows that guns don't kill people; people kill people, and if all the guns were banned there would still be killings because the killers and thieves would still have guns. A ban would only drive up the price and make law-abiding citizens defenseless. Some killers would just change their type of weapon.

The problem is not the availability of guns. The problem is the desensitizing of the population by television and video games. The average child has witnessed a hundred or more murders and maiming by the time they are 10 years old. A large number of children have TVs in their rooms and the parents have no idea what they are watching. Some video games are so violent they aren't supposed to be sold to anyone under 17 but that doesn't deter certain merchants.

Children then become desensitized, and after awhile, it doesn't seem so bad to kill someone. It might even provide a thrill, and through this process life becomes worthless.

Abortion and assisted suicide are also a major factor in the desensitization process. At first, many people were reviled by the legalization of these abominations, but the desensitization process took over and now it is not a major consideration in the selection of our leaders. However, the land is stained with spilled innocent blood.

So how do we stop the senseless killing? The best advice I can offer is found in the Bible, Jeremiah 6:16: "Thus saith the Lord, stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths where is the good way, and walk therein and ye shall find rest for your souls."

This is good advice for us today but we, like the children of Israel, have said, "We will not walk therein."

Bethel Midgett
Gainesville

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