Robin Berg Manhattan

After reading Taormino's article I have to say that Taormino is also a tool. I consider myself extremely sex-positive and pro-choice. However, when a woman makes the choice to exploit herself (and all other women, for that matter) in an article such as this, there should be a disclaimer acknowledging that she is being toyed with by patriarchy, and also making society hostile toward women. While Kimberly Kane might enjoy submission, rape victims whose assailants probably learned their moves from Kane's co-stars are not consenting to such sexual subservience and power imbalances. My only praise for Taormino's article is that the manifest hypocrisy of Kimberly Kane's ideas on submission being empowering gives fuel to the anti-pornography movement.

Liz Funk
Founder Feminism: That's Hott
Voorheesville, New York

Partisan theatrics

The story "Alito and His Coaches" [January 10, villagevoice.com] by Jim Ridgeway and Michael Roston would be hilarious if it weren't so tragically revealing. To act indignant and point the finger at Graham, a Republican, because "he has already made up his mind" and had discussions with the candidate is the height of intellectual dishonesty. Are we to assume, based on Think Progress' righteous indignation, that the Democrats are all open-minded and plan to give Alito a fair hearing? Schumer, Kennedy, Reid, Biden, and the gang made up their minds as soon as the nominee was known. As for the "coaching" issue: What's worse, preparing a candidate for an ideological grilling or having your questions handed to you by MoveOn.org? Both parties behave in the same irresponsible manner when it comes to public parades like this.

William Martin
Bladenboro, North Carolina

I just read the piece about Senator Graham having "made up his mind" about Samuel Alito before the vote. Of course, Ridgeway and Roston are right, but do they think senators Kennedy, Biden, Leahy, Feinstein, and, in fact, every blooming one of them, have not? Get real. The hearings are nothing but theater with the senators playing to their various constituencies and placating their favorite interest groups. Unless proof is produced that Alito had sex with a mule in a men's room (which of course would make him more attractive to the Voice), he will be confirmed. The political math is there.

John Scott
Buckhannon, West Virginia

Kurdish liberation

In the article " 'They Burn Themselves' " [January 11–17], David Axe describes female oppression in the "conservative society" of Kurdistan. I could better accept this description if Axe reminded the readers that it was the "conservative" U.S. government that made a wave of liberalism and freedom possible in Iraq despite the obstruction by "progressive" forces that favored keeping Saddam Hussein and sons in power. Kurdistan is the "oldest continuously inhabited country in the world" and its association with Iraq makes Iraq the most pro-feminist, woman-friendly Islamic nation in the Middle East-—the article mentions female politicians, activists, media personalities, and even fitness instructors for the "fat" but apparently enslaved women of Kurdistan. In reality, it seems Kurdish women have jumped from the medieval 15th century to the postfeminist 21st century faster than you can say "bra burning."

Robert Mauro

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