To the editors:

I am writing to voice my objection to the publication of Paul Pekin’s “Woman in Custody” [June 19]. Clearly, the piece conveys an attitude that is dehumanizing to women; by printing it the Reader gives it a credibility it does not deserve.

While the story seems like so much fluff, its lack of substance makes it no less damaging. In fact, its very banality–of the ilk found in soft-core pornography–is precisely what makes it so insidious.

The objectification of the woman in the story was never questioned–overtly or otherwise–by the protagonist nor by the author, so it’s evident that the story was not meant to be an indictment of misogyny. And although Pekin’s depiction of the woman was so cliched it seemed almost a burlesque, the earnestness of the protagonist’s self-absorbed musings made it apparent that Pekin’s intention was not parody either.

I can’t hope to know Pekin’s intentions, but I can see the result. I’d like both Pekin and the Reader to know that I (and undoubtedly many other women) saw that result as base, destructive, and personally insulting.

Gwen McKenna


PS: The portrayal of a police officer displaying such a rank lack of professionalism was, I imagine, highly insulting to male police officers too.