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November 12, 1980 - Image 4

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-11-12

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OPINION

III: "OF I

Page 4
Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

Wednesday, November 12, 1980

The Michigan Daily

Higgins

4

Vol. XCI, No.0

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, M1 48109

19 OTNEDAII-Y
v i ' NoR1NWE5TERN
J

.10 Al-
/00

Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board

Abortions in
miHE HEALTH AND Social
5 Services Committee of the
Michigan State Senate would normally
:be responsible for formulating any bill
;related to abortion. That's the way it
normally works in the Michigan
legislature and in other states, most of
which have generally similar
procedures.
A But in Michigan's case, the Health
Committee has a fundamental flaw, at
least from the perspective of certain
"pro-life" senators. Most of its mem-
bers, including Chairman Ed Pierce
(D-Ann Arbor), believe that abortion is
a woman's right, even if she doesn't
have the money to pay for it.
So in October, when SB 124, an
unrelated bill, came before the Senate,
some of the anti-choice senators had a
brainstorm; they amended the eight-
page bill so radically that it no longer
had anything to do with its original
purpose (home heating assistance). It*
had become instead a one-paragraph
ban on state-funded abortions.
The " Pro-lifers" were persistent, as
well as devious. When Lt. Governor
James Brickley, who presides over the
Senate, ruled that the amendment
violated the state constitution (any

trouble again
change that redirects the basic intent
of a bill is proscribed), his judgement
was overruled by a two-thirds majority
of the body.
Some of the more moderate senators
next attempted to tack on some amen-
dments that would allow state funding
for abortions necessitated by rape or
incest, at least, even if the vast
majority of Medicaid funding was to be
eliminated. Those sensible proposals
failed as well.
The transformed bill now must go
before the Michigan House of
Representatives, and if passed (which
the pro-choice lobby predicts it will
be), it will go to Governor Milliken.
Milliken has long supported
Medicaid-funded abortions in the past,
and he -probably will veto the current
- bill. But. this time; the more conser-
vativeclimateat the state capitol
could lead to an override of his veto.
In the past, we have pressed for state
abortion funding strictly on ideological
and practical grounds. Senate Bill 124,
in its current form, is assailable for
constitutional reasons as well. We ex-
pect and hope that the bill-and its at-
tendant spectre of a return to the back
alley-will fall by the wayside, even if
it takes a court ruling to put it there.

Iran uses Soviet-made tanks and U.S.-made ammunition-News Item
'What a sexy voice ': A tale
of .sex harassment at work

A victory for consumers

T'S A VICTORY for free trade, free
enterprise, and mostly, American
ponsumers.
Monday's vote of the U.S. Inter-
hational Trade Commission to reject
import quotas and higher tariffs for
foreign automobiles offers hope that
American- automakers will not be
permitted to find a scapegoat for their
problems.
Ford Motor Co. and the United Auto
Workers had asked the commission to
impose trade restrictions on imported
cars because they claim foreign
:automakers-especially the
Japanese-have caused financial
lpsses and unemployment in the United
dates.
Translated into less diplomatic ter-
iis, the American auto companies are
stuck with big cars when Americans
wart small ones, and they want to
blame the Japanese-who produce
economical, efficient, quality
automobiles Americans want-for
their own lack of foresight.
Import quotas and high tariffs run
counter to free market prin-
ciples-they establish artificial
'_,

barriers behind which American com-
panies can hide from competition.
The result is almost always shoddy
workmanship. And in the case of the
U.S. auto companies, their products
are already perceived as lacking
quality. To have denied American con-
sumers the freedom to choose quality,
efficient cars over inferior, inefficient
autos would have been a backward
move indeed.
Certainly the auto firms are in a
sorry state right now, as they scramble
to produce fuel-efficient cars. The
retooling of plants and the recession
have necessitated massive auto
worker layoffs.
But it is their own fault-they failed
to respond to changing consumer
preferences. And it is the fault of the
government, which controlled the
domestic price of oil at artificially low
levels, encouraging Americans to
waste fuel in gas-guzzling cars.
It's a difficult time right now for the
economy and the auto companies. But
we must suffer through it, and let the
free market system compel the
automakers to build better, smaller
cars.

Strident feminists who work themselves in-
to a frenzy over the issue of the word "chair-
person" where "chairman" will work fine are
trivial. I have no objections to ridding- this
less-than-perfect world of sexism. But the
furor of women who live in liberal Ann Arbor
and rant about sexism in language is sterile,
because it ignores the real issues. I should
know. I transplanted myself into the real
world of white-out carbon paper this summer,
as a secretary for an engineering firm.
To a political science major, engineers
make very dull company. Having spent two
previous summers in the company of math-
and-physics types who couldn't discuss Yeats,
let along John Stuart Mill, I did not relish the
idea of spending the next 16 weeks with these
people. Still, the job paid well, and I didn't
think it very likely that I would find another.
MY EMPLOYERS -OPERATED a small
firm of about 30 engineers, most of whom
were quite young. Not surprisingly, they were
all men.
For the first two weeks, before I got to
know people, the job seemed to be routine.
But for the next month, my fellow employers
behaved in a way that lent new meaning to the
word "sexist." Finally, after several weeks, I
began to realize that I held a distorted percep-
tion of reality. Although I'd been confronted
with sexism and sexual harassment before, I
had always assumed that people who really
knew me couldn't possibly consider me a
mere decorative piece.
This wds a new breed of sexism. Although I
didn't know as much physics as the people I
worked with, it was generally acknowledged
that I could not only write better than any of
them, but that I was, generally speaking, not
unintelligent. So it was a real insult to find at
the end of the summer that my gender would

By Julie Selbst
still be flung at me right up until my last day
there.
SFXISM IS ALIVE and well in the United
States, outside of college towns and big cities.
My discovery of this fact of the marketplace
came early in my employment. I was typing a
set of specifications for a conveyor belt the
firm was designing. Actually, that is not at all
unusual; it was what I did for four months.
They designed conveyor belt specifications; I
typed'em.
Anyway, the day after they hired me, I had
a question because I couldn't read the han-
dwriting of the materials handling consultan-
t" (no kidding, "materials handling con-
sultant"). I brought the original document
with me to ask him what he meant. He was, at
the time, consulting with two other consultan-
ts. As I asked, he stepped in closer, ostensibly
to decipher his own writing, and put his arm
around me. Addressing the two other
engineers, he said, "She's ours now; we can
molest her." Verbatim, that's what he said.
AFTER MAKING IT abundantly clear that
I did not appreciate that sort of treatment,
that particular individual refrained from
handling me for the rest of the summer. Goal
achieved-but only partially. One individual
changed his behavior. He and the rest of the
office staff (unfortunately I was one of only
two females), thereafter regarded me as
some kind of slogan-chanting, effigy-burning
radical college student. I was taken as an ac-
cident of nature-a slightly hysterical female
who did not want to be touched-and not an
individual with as. much .privacy as anyone
else.
A close friend suggested that they were
harassing me mostly because they knew it

annoyed me. I had to infer that my friend's
assessment was mistaken, because the other
secretary received identical treatment, and'
she loved it. Admittedly, her responsiveness
didn't help my situation any. But it was ob-
vious to me that they felt they had some sort
of right to treat both of us that way because
we are female.
. Initially, my gruff reaction intimidated a
few people. Once they were past the novelty of
my actually being offended by their behavior,
however, the comments and gestures
resumed. Once when I paged one man on the
intercom for a telephone call, he yelled back,
not "OK," or "Thank you," or even "Who is
it?" but "God, you have a sexy voice." He
said this loudly enough for five or six other
people in the area to hear. I
AND ONCE AS I was typing, I was handed a
letter to type from behind. Suddenly a pair of
hands was massaging my shoulders. At one
point, I was jokingly informed that if I didn't
stop dressing as I did-mostly in skirts-I'd
have the entire company "chasing me around
the office."
That was perhaps the most stunning blow.
Who were they to dictate my attire, as long as
it was presentable? Coming from my
sheltered upbringing to intellectually elite
Ann Arbor, it never occurred to me that the
concept of equality for women wasn't widely
acknowledged as necessary and inevitable.
Most Ann Arborites fail to recognize that
much of the rest of the world doesn't even see
sexism as a problem. Sexist language is a
trifle; we still have far to go in attacking the
roots of sexual prejudice and mistreatment.
And that is where the effort should be focused.
The real issue is changing behavior and
changing attitudes, not giving the language a'
facial.

4

I

I

Julie Selbst is a Daily staff writer.

Ipl ht *-. - ,

I I ll31
1 'I
d' \

LETTERS TO THE DAILY:
Fraternities ignorant of CIA issue

To the Daily:
On November 6 we participated
in a rally at The University of
Michigan Law School which
protested the CIA's recruitment
of law students. It is our belief
that for the University to allow an
organization like the CIA to
recruit on campus is to endorse
the many illegal and immoral ac-
tivities the Agency has per-
petrated over the past 20 years.
The purpose of the rally was to
protest the use of the University
as a site for the selection and
recruitment of potential CIA em-
ployees. We believe that many of
the CIA's activities directly con-

flict with the ideals the Univer-
sity attempts to uphold as an
American institution of higher
education. In allowing the CIA to
recruit University students, these
ideals are compromised.
During the course of the rally,
the nearby fraternities attempted
to disrupt the speakers by
playing "The Star Spangled Ban-
ner" at an excessive volume. We
are not denying the fraternities
the right to express their opinion;
however, the manner of their
protest clearly demonstrated
their ignorance of the issues. By
playing "The Star Spangled Ban-
ner" one fraternity implied that

we were unpatriotic. Yet the
basic motivation for dur protest
was a desire to express our con-
cern for preserving what
freedom exists today in this coun-
try. It is our strong belief that the
CIA infringes on people's basic
rights, and therefore must be
opposed.
The behavior of the fraternities
during the rally epitomizes the

general ignorance of students to
critical issues that affect them.
Their continued blind faith in the
United States government will
have the effect of allowing the
CIA and other clandestine
.organizations to continue their
undemocratic operations.
-Jeanne Greenblatt
Dawn McMartin
November 10

Volunteers thanked

It's not histoplasmosis

To the Daily:.
Chore Day, sponsored by
Neighborhood Senior Services on
November 1, was a great success
due to the overwhelming respon-
se. Neighborhood Senior Services
has found that help with seasonal
chores (raking leaves, washing
windows, and other chores

Pi Beta Phi, Sigma Chi, Sigma
Phi, Theta Xi, Triangle, and Zeta
Beta Tau.
Some of the other individuals
who donated their time and
"elbow grease" were Lucinda
Stevens, Rick Goff, Leslie
Koorhan, Eugene Thomas,
RPnh~rt Thadrinr. ris MiaimMarkp

To the Daily:

common in the Ohio and

U ,

E

.1

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