Edited and managed by Students at the
University of Michigan
Saturday, May 8, 1974
News Phone: 764-0552
Too pretty to work?
IHINK ABOUT IT for a minute. How would you feel if
you were a young woman who had worked steadily
and hard in an automobile factory and were fired be-
cause you were "too pretty"?
With today's consciousness of women's liberation
such an occurrence would seem hard to believe, however
it did happen.
Peggy Hughes, a 28-year-old woman, worked for a
month packing heavy machinery at$5.11 an hour for
International Harvester in Rock Island, Ill She was fired
on March 15 because, in the words of Henry Woods, an
investigator for Illinois Fair Employment Practices Com-
mission, "male workers found her so attractive they were
distracted from their normal duties."
Woods contends that the firing violates sex dis-
crimination laws, and that is an understatement!
According to Hughes, "The personnel manager told
me that I would be reinstated when a new job opened
up." However, later she said that the general foreman
told an official of Local 1390 of the United Auto Workers
that she received "too much male attention."
Harvester has no comment on the issue and the Illi-
nois Fair Employment Practices Commission is handling
ONE HAS CAUSE TO wonder if the hierarchy at Inter-
national Harvester have their heads in the sand.
How could they realistically fire a woman on the grounds
of her apoearanee or how much she distracted the men
around when she was a good hard worker?
Apparently Harvester likes its woman, if they must
hire women, in the offices as secretaries or a similar posi-
tion where she won't get her hands dirty or flaunt her
femininity in "the wrong places."
Hughes conceded that sometimes her male coworkers
would ask her how the job was going and lift something
"They wouldn't even-ask," she said, "they would just
do it. I would say, 'You better get back to your own job."'
Some of the men even aske her out, yet each time
she refused. Think about it. Hughes did nothing but her
job, and she was fired because she was attractive to
men. The men were distracted from their jobs, she was
not distracted from hers.
SUCH AN ACTION causes us to ponder why Harvester
did not fire the men who left to help Hughes who did
not want their help. It would seem like a far better way
to run a business, to fire the people who were not doing
their jobs than to fire one that was.
Wake up, International Harvester! You may have
been able to get away with those kind of antics before,
but you won't get away with it much longer.
solit ary voice in
e Intro eate
By JAMES WECHSLER
MOST OF THE unsigned mail that crosses any
journalist's desk can be hastily scanned and
discarded. Anyone who broods shoal hate mes-
sages from those who valorously neglect to sign
their names should throw away his typewriter
and head for the hills. But occasionally t h e r e
arrives a very different brand of anonymous let-
ter, a kind of lonely cry in the night that is a
reminder of the inhumane isolation inflicted on
the defenseless by bully-boys who proclaim them-
selves "normal" and "healthy."
Amid the current local stormover Intro ?, the
New York City Council measure that would
formally ban discrimination against homosex-
uals in housing, public accommodation and em-
ployment, a handwritten communication came
in the other dayl. It deserves contemplation by
those engaged in the crusade to save New York
from tse alleged menace of the proposed bill. It
was iri a sense an open letter to such strident
voices, and to politicians who are nervously
evading the issue. It read:
"I am 17 years of age, and a senior at one of
the city's most reputable high schools. I am a
homosexual. It is really difficult to relate how I
discovered this phenomenon, but I. will assure
you it was not due to any teacher I ever had,
nor any fireman I saw with limp wrists.
"I AM ON the football team, and I date ,irls,
and therefore I have created a pretty normal
facade. I am normal. I know that many of the
guys on the team would never accept this, nor
would my parents. I feel very alone not know-
ing also any public figures I can use to model
my life after (in a homosexual sense).
"Thanks to people like you firemen, people who
feel that they're gay from ages 9 to 14 will never
be able to lead a respectable life. Thank you,
uncles, aunts, mothers and fathers. All the gay
'idols' are in the past - Michesangelo, daVinci,
Proust. If Intro 2 is not passed, all I can say
is that would represent a monumental failure for
New York - the civilized place. What are you
The letter was signed: "Unfortunately Anony-
A FEW HIGH SCHOOL principals and football
coaches may mindlessly view tne setter as cause
for more intensive screening of their rosters this
autumn. One hopes more rational responses will
be evoked in most places..
In fact this plaintive message illustrates again
both the sadness and absurdity of the attempt to
"cure" homosexuality by denying its existeece
or driving it underground.
I have no way of knowing whether the letter's
author is a big left tackle or a fleet halfback,
football players find themselves frequently lock-
ed in embrace or rolling on the turf with their
adversaries. Will youths who exhibit a special zeal
for tackling be suspected of unmanly oassion?
Or will players he required to sign oaths of sex-
Presumably some sectors of learned psychia-
tric opinion will contend that the letter-writer
cotd have been "saved" if his condition lad been
acknowledged in childhood. Whether society has
a right to judge what sexual mores constitute
salvation is a matter of deepening dispute, espec-
ially since the Kinsey report shattered many
popular conceptions of "normalcy."
BUT WHAT is utterly clear from this letter-
as from an abundance of literature on the sub-
ject - is that the youth who wrote it has felt
compelled to hide his sexual identity rather than
take what he sees as the intolerable risks of dis-
closure at home and in school. By his own ac-
count, he has even been moved to protect his
secret by dating girls and presumably simulating
physical interest in them. His furtive life seems
a poor triumph for the guardians of public moral-
City Council enactment of Intro 2 will not
suddenly liberate all those who have been lead-
ing counterfeit lives; neither will it lead to wild
. rampages. Firemen who have private off-duty
homosexual relationships will not begin wooing
members of their company on the way to a
blaze, and male teachers will not construe the
law as a signal to chase little boys down hall-
ITS PASSAGE will have a primarily psycholo-
gical effect on the social climate. It will be
seen as one more step toward an acceptance of
declared homosexuals as human beings rather
than as dreaded members of a leper colony.
It will reduce some of the dreary hypocrisy that
envelops the whole subject of so-called "aber-
rant" sexual behavior. It may ultimately rescue
some other youths from the poignant, bitter soli-
tude and elaborate deceptions described in the
letter published here today. It may gradually
help make such crude, cruel epithets as "faggot"
and "queer" as intolerable to sensitive citizens as
The furious incivility of the campaign being
waged against Intro 2 and its sponsors is ap-
parently undiminished. For some leaders of the
attack, the recurrent debate often seems a
desperate way of establishing their own sexual
credentials. Politicians who crumble under the
assault are dubious embodiments of either virtue
Jaies Wechsler is Editorial Page Editor of the
and no exhaustive examination system is likely to New York Post. Copyright 1974-The New York
unveil his identity. After all, the most aggressive Post Corporation.
YOU ARE THERE
The von Hindenberg rides again
-E JO- MftASGHLN ES(ORCt-r
By DICK WEST
WASHINGTON (UPI) -This
has been a good week for vis-
There was a groip of iu:.iris-
tic scientists at Princetn dis-
cussing plans for space colonies
that eventually would :-onse
most of the world's oh sitaros.
The earth would then -e used
primarily as "a be-!,i-iIt sIce
to visit for a vacati'mu' 'ie of
And we had Sen. :r:y Gold-
water, a far-out Arizona ssepub-
lican, telling a group of ia-
tin writers that the anssver to
American's transportati an prob-
lem is the dirigible.
He said dirigibles could lift
heavy loads, reduce ioltiiion,
lower noise levels, stay ataFt :or
extended periods and ->)p ,.te
where no airports or sinways
ns-n0 lMsA..ss cusony~., p
ly, struck me as being a hit
An aerial transit systein that
operates quietly without da-nag-
ing the environment is some-
thing right out of "Star Trek."
So I decided to check it out
with the Future Is Yester-y
Foundation, a privately enlov-
ed "think tank" and rescarch
'enter whose motto is "Prsgress
"Is the Senator letting his
imagination run away from hoss
or is his idea actually within the
realm of possibility?" I asked
Sam Harkenback, the foinda-
tion's advanced projects direct-
"Definitely the latter;" 1'r-
He beckoned me to follow- 'in
to an airstrip behind the imin
laboratory. There he potinod to
a large cigar-shaped :be .t su-
spended from a tall tower.
"So that's a dirigible," i -aid
wonderingly. "How does it
"The principle involved here
is to take a big bag and fill it
up with some type of ;as tat
is lighter than air. The og will
then float aloft. Add a prapel-
ler to give it forward thrust
and a rudder to control dtrec-
lion and yoi're got a convey-
ance for passengers or carlo."
I said, "It still has an other-
Vorldish ring to me. Why . the
dirigible shaped like a c'gar
rather than, say, a Tiparilta?'
Harkenback explained that
extensive tests were cond-icred
at the foundation's praing
grounds. By tossing 'both into
the air, researchers estaalished
that a cigar is 37 per cent more
buoyant than a Tiparillo.
It would appear then, lia! I
owe Goldwater an apology. He
may have his feet in the clouds
but he's still got his head on the
THE SPACE colony concept
sounded plausible enough. Put "THAT," he said, "is nour
Goldwater's presentation, frank- basic dirigible."