I just had to write in to give props to both parties involved in your story “Footloose and Fancy Tree” (2/7). While the issue may seem to be one “womyns” group against testosterone-injected frolicking, the truth really is that the very idea behind the tree puts women and old shoes in the same category of value.

College is, after all, supposed to be a time when you build your character as well as your mind, a rare time when you actually form your own set of values and ideals concerning yourself and the world around you. So what kind of message does a tree like that send to a young woman just out of high school? Unfortunately not, as the young men in question seem to assume, a message of “look how akin our neighborhood is to the Bronx.” Instead, each young woman who is fighting for her strength and self-assurance in a world already riddled with mass-media sabotage has to walk by that tree and equate herself (through the eyes of her peers, those young men) with filthy old shoes that have been discarded when their usefulness has passed. This perpetuates a permissiveness in the young men that, while it my not be “PC,” such an attitude toward their fellow students is acceptable (even desirable in a fraternity situation). This is not the kind of message I would want my mother, daughter, or sister to be subjected to on any kind of basis, daily or otherwise. Perhaps those young men ought to think of their mothers/sisters.

So I give a props to the WIN sisters for standing up for the basic right of all women to be respected. It’s important to challenge what you feel is not right, and to go about it in a healthy way, and college is the perfect place for such issues to challenge the souls of D.C.’s young people because it provides opportunities for growth within both parties.

But I also have to give some praise and caution to the young men of the DTD house. The fundraiser they threw for House of Ruth before said conflict shows that they are a group of young men struggling for a conscience in a world where old “male” values are being rapidly overhauled. But my warning: Fundraisers are easy, gentlemen, and altruism will always pump up the ego of the giver. The real challenge to your character lies in how you allow yourselves to view the world around you, your sisters/mothers, and someday daughters, included.

Falls Church, Va.

More from WCP