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Peter Vang Dean

I agree with Peg's concerns about the self-righteous intolerance surprisingly exhibited under the banner of feminism in the cited column. As a fairly new father and primary caregiver in my 50s, I am pleasantly surprised that I have encountered very little negative judgment about my role. 20 or 30 years ago, I probably would have, or perhaps even now in a different part of the country or a different social milieu.

The issue of women devoting a great deal of time and money to furthering a feminine appearance raises a more general issue in my mind, that I think our society has largely lost sight of, partly in response to the feminist movement: We are intelligent animals, with emphasis on both those words. Our intelligence differentiates us from other animals, but does not elimininate our instinctive, evolutionarily derived, drives (if it did, we would likely die out as a species!). So men and women can choose to temper the degree to which they act on such impulses. In many cases it is clear that we need to restrain some of those impulses to have high-functioning societies, but my observations suggest that trying to completely throttle all such impulses, where not clearly destructive (e.g harmful to others), is not the route to a happier population. We all have to "live within our skins."

(I am not suggesting that women's preening and men's pre-occupation with sports, for example, are not socially evolved and reinforced behaviors, but I believe they are fundamentally rooted in evolution. And of course there is lots of variation resulting from how our biology, intelligence and environment interact and manifest for individuals.)

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