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February 08, 1984 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-02-08

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Page 4


February 8, 1984

The Michigan Daily

Look-alike contest is just frivolous fun

By Gary Effman
There are baby seals being clubbed to
death in Canada, the desert snail darter
remains on the verge of extinction, and
Ronald Reagan will probably be elected
president for another term come
November. These are problems which
need quick, concerned action and
demand protest from responsible in-
Yet last week the Waukegee, Iowa
Junior Scouts held a Lassie the dog look
alike contest and a score of residents
and their bulldogs, hounddogs, and lap-
dogs marred the festivities with a
meaningless protest concerning
misrepresentation of the canine ideal.
Over break, a Jimmy Durante
lookalike contest was cancelled when a
crowd of men from the "Men are More
Than Sex Symbols Society" complained
that it was wrong to socialize men into
believing that "they must have large
noses and say hach cha cha."' And in
yet another ridculous social commen-
tary, inspired by last weekends all-in-
good-fun Marilyn Monroe look-alike
shindig, 20 men and women proved that
they could find no better way to im-
prove the world than to complain about
blonde hair and a dazzling smile.
IT HAS often been said that one can
never get enough of a good thing. And
though active protest is, in fact, a good
thing, there can simply be too much.
The purpose of any act of public.protest
is to cause others to think about an issue
and hopefully to have them accept the

message of that protest. Yet there is
only so much new thought that a person
can handle, especially in times like ours
when new issues like the disposal of
toxic wastes and the way to prevent
muclear annihilation have become so
The brain has a mechanism which
filters out only the sensations and
messages which are deemed pertinent.
If it were not for such a mechanism,
millions of impulses-such as the sound
of our breathing, the way a chair we sit
on feels, or the multitude of images our
eyes are constantly perceiving-would
short circuit our nervous system.
This is a biological function and yet it
has applications to social protest. If
protest becomes too frequent and its
content too menial, then the.truly wor-
thwhile, important messages will
become muddled in the masses. The
sad consequence of such action is the
breeding of the "not another stupid
rally" attitude which is slowly begin-
ning to characterize the beliefs of a
large proportion of society.
THE PROTEST at the Michigan Theater
was just another one of those stupid
rallies.- Marilyn Monroe was
unquestionably a dazzingly beautiful
woman. No, she is not the only
beautiful woman, nor is she the epitome
of the modern woman. But that was not
even suggested by the sponsors at the
Classic Film Theater or the 350 movie
enthusiasts who came to see Gentlemen
Prefer Blondes and The Seven Year it-

were going to be molded by the event.
The crowd was not predominantly
male, and those men who did attend
were not salivating uncontrollably with
lust in their eyes. The movies and the
contest were simply comedies in which
both males and females alike could find
Protest, at its best, is society's
greatest hope to remedy its problems,
Saturday night's protest did not serve
this purpose. It was only successful in
angering the enthusiastic crowd who
only wished to see some very funny
flicks and to avoid making a social
Equal rights and opportunities for
women are issues truly worthy of
protest. Saturday night's protest was
petty and merely insulted the in-
telligence of the attendees who ap-
peared to have clearly grasped the dif-
ference between reality and a celluloid
It would be better for everyone if
protesters would take a minute to
assess the magnitude of the issue being
protested and the value of their objec-
tions. Nuclear disarmament, military
research on campus, the plight of the
hungry... these are only -a few of the
issues which must currently be debated
and to which solutions must be found.
Marilyn Monroe's image does not rank
up there.
Effman is a Daily sports writer.

Daily Photo by DAN HABIB
Marilyn Monroe look-alike contest-except maybe a lack of

There wasn't much to protest at last Saturday night's
qualified contestants.

As for the look-alike contest, this too
made no claim to making Marilyn
Monroe the model of all womanhood.
The contestants were all mature adults,
and if one can still judge by a smile,
were all having a wonderful time. If

any group at the affair could be con-
sidered the victims of societal miscon-
ceptions about women, it would be the
contestants. But as one contestant
Marian Corbin stated, "I just like wat-
ching movies. . . I'm as much for

women's rights as anyone else."
This brings up the all-important
question, "Who were the protesters at-
tempting to reach?" This was not a
group of impressionable gradeschool
children whose ideas of the female ideal

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

~~pI ONIA-1/


Vol. XCIV-No. 107

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI48109



Editorials represent a majority opinion of the Daily's Editorial Board
Laughing at Marilyn

ArT 1 T

,"-,MEN r.--wr

The Michigan Theater's Marilyn
Monroe look-alike contest would at fir-
st mention seem to perpetuate some
negative stereotype for women in the
'8os. But, in reality, it gave evidence
that the sex roles prescribed for men
and women in American society have
definitely broadened. Comuplete sexual
equality and the freedom to pursue any
sex role, however, have hardly
The more than 20 protesters who
marched in front of the theater and
handed out leaflets brought up some
very legitimate concerns. But they
were a bit too hasty in their judgement
of the contest. They feared it would be
used to exhibit Marilyn Monroe as the.
feminine ideal - not a healthy idea,
especially to a women's movement
that has for many years been attem-
pting to dispel the notion of the woman
as a sex object.
However, the contest's announcer
specifically stated that the competition
was "A satire on movie stars and star-
dom" and "not on Marilyn Monroe the
person." He said, "If this were a
Marilyn Monroe be-alike contest we
could have a neglected child up here,
an exploited woman, a lost soul." In
addition, a young man sporting a pink
dress and blonde wig, won third place
in the contest beating 14 other con-
testants of mixed sex.
Almost every contestant either
mocked a typical Monroe screen
image such as her soft voice, her air-
headedness, and her often skimpy at-
tire, or said something to the effect
that she represents the oppression of
women and sexist values.

If there were any Monroe fans in the
audience taking her to be the ideal
woman, they would have easily seen
the foolishness and stupidity she
represented by observing the audien-
ce's reactions and the contestant's ob-
vious caricatures of her image.
Nevertheless, the protesters' charge
that such a contest could potentially
promote the Monroe image was
justified. None of the advertisements
for the contest hinted that it would
satirize Monroe's image. And women
do face many obstacles to achieving
equality with men. Women still make
less than men, hold fewer positions of
authority, and are not, taken as
seriously as men, even by other
women. But their protest was
misdirected. The protesters lost some
credibility by reacting so swiftly
without considering the actual reality
of the contest. There are many. more
blatantly sexist practices and norms
on this campus which should be protes-
ted. Efforts focused on these practices
would likely gain more supporters.
In the '50s and even the '60s a
woman's role in society was much less
just. A Marilyn Monroe represented
that society's view of women and her
films perhaps portrayed this. But the
Michigan Theater's Marilyn Monroe
look-alike contest is a celebration of
how far women have come. It is now
possible to laugh at the "days when
the Monroe image was the norm and
rejoice that in the '80s most American
women and men have a greater
freedom to choose the role in society
that best suits them.

; / 331
70 2'59 _



Washington visits Ann Arbor

To the Daily:
My, but isn't it beginning to
seem an awful lot like
Washington around here. One
begins to wonder who to believe
and who to trust.wFirst MSA
meets behind closed doors
because Mary Rowland doesn't
feel our elected representatives
can speak hcnestly before us.
Next the PSN is worried about
security leaks. Now one must
question the integrity of the
Daily's editorial staff.
In the editorial, "Cadets Take
One and Run," (Daily, February
3), the Daily says it is, "hear-
tening," to see students
misrepresent themselves by
taking two years of ROTC paid
tuition and then dropping out of
the program before they have to
commit themselves. While legal
(until recently), this behavior
must surely be condemned as
unethical. Yet the Daily excuses
this activity because, although it
is an abuse of the system, the
svstem in this case is the

question their integrity. I ask for
clarification gentlemen. When is
it appropriate to act unethically

and when is it not?
My, but isn't the behavior for
which we so quickly condemn

those in Washington becoming
- Scott T. Rickman
February 3

Look-alike Contest discriminates

To the Daily:
The members of the QuAC
(Queers Action Committee)
strongly object to the staging of
a Marilyn Monroe look-alike con-
test. We feel that this event per-
petuates a restrictive and
stereotypical view of women and
reinforces the oppressive view
that a woman's worth is equal to
her attractiveness to men.

Specifically, this event
measures women against a
white, blond, heterosexual "sex
symbol' and in so doing
downgrades women of color,
lesbians and gay men, and
ultimately any of us who wish to
free ourselves from stereotypical
gender roles and behavioral
As lesbians and gay men, we

feel it is necessary to take a stand
against this espousal of restric-
tive sex roles. Our liberty is at
- M. Adams
Naomi Braine
Greg Prokopowicz
Cathreen Godre
Diana DeVries
February 6


Letters and columns represent the opinions of
the individual author(s) and do not necessarily
reflect the attitudes or beliefs of the Daily.

Lb l



by Berke Breathed

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