Letter: Women behaving badly

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The Independent Online
MARJORIE WILLIAMS purports to reveal some ugly truths about feminism ("How Bill Clinton neutered the feminist movement", 4 April) but chooses the wrong target. Whatever may be the truth about President Clinton's sexual conduct, it is a question of compliance with his importunity - something that it was in his accusers' power to withhold if they chose to.

If their accusations are true, the President - like many of his predecessors in office - took advantage of his power and position in a caddish way, while the women concerned gave in to equally instinctive impulses in complying - both morally reprehensible and both easy to understand given our animal natures. If women are morally and intellectually equal to men, though in some respects physically weaker, they are equally responsible for whatever transactions pass between them.

For a woman to use sexual attractiveness to get on in the world is no better nor worse than for a man to use his position to exact sexual favours. Women cannot have it all ways; and in so far as they attempt to do so, they are likely to be subject to the very kind of male attitudes which they complain about. The equivalent to manly chivalry is womanly decorum.

JOHN A DAVIS

Cambridge

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