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Feminism, Duke style

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I would like to thank Mr. Crowther for his insightful, well written piece on the Duke lacrosse team players and student life at Duke ("Sympathy for the Devils?" June 28). Having read Mr. Crowther's piece, and the Rolling Stone article referred to therein, I also have to thank my lucky stars that I had the fortune to attend a woman's college free of the "fun" (i.e.: "curdled testosterone") that many female Duke students apparently tolerate on a daily basis.

While it may be true that Duke University draws some of the most gifted female students in this country and the world, one has to wonder: How does the exposure to such an environment as Duke on a daily basis affect their self-esteem and future life choices? Will such an environment produce the next generation of female presidents, CEOs and world leaders? Is it typical for such people to be concerned primarily about their appearance, before anything else? Or are self-esteem and confidence more common traits among such individuals?

One of the female students interviewed in the Rolling Stone article referred to by Mr. Crowther states: "Feminism, which most women saw as a throwback, a 'past social inequality,' as one girl phrased it, has very little relevance to their lives." Why Duke students might think this is anyone's guess--unless they enjoy earning 80 cents for each dollar their male counterparts make.

And fans of Warren Farrell should consider this fact: Women run fewer than 2 percent of Fortune 500 companies. In 2005, the number of female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies fell to seven from nine.

The Rolling Stone article states that in 2003, Duke performed a study to look at the social attitudes and concerns of women on campus, which apparently had "alarming" results.

The big question to me is: Why are administrators at Duke allowing this environment and these attitudes toward women to persist? Parents who want their daughters to learn in a supportive, encouraging environment would be wise to look elsewhere than Duke.

Susan Brown
Raleigh

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