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October 25, 1989 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-10-25

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OPINION
Wednesday, October 25, 1989

Page 4

The Michigan Day,

r

Edited and managed by students at The University of Michigan

The reality

of bulimia

Vol. C, No. 36

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Unsigned editorials represent a majority of the Daily's Editorial Board. All other
cartoons, signed articles, and letters do not necessarily represent the opinion
of the Daily.
Condemned to repeat

S IX YEARS ago today, 4200 U.S.
Marines crashed ashore on the beaches
,of Grenada, an island whose entire
population could fit inside U. of M.
stadium. The press, for the first time in
U.S. history, was barred from the is-
land during the invasion and its imme-
diate aftermath. Instead, the networks
gave us President Reagan assuring us
that "America was standing tall again."
In truth, however, Reagan's greatest
hour stands as yet another example of
Washington's historic penchant for
violating the sovereignty of small
nations, especially those in that
"American Lake" known by most of
the world as the Caribbean Sea, that
have the audacity to speak with a voice
and mind of their own.
Six years later, ostensibly offering
another example of how the U.S. pro-
motes democracy in the Caribbean, the
Bush Administration is offering
Washington's longest-held colony,
Puerto Rico, a referendum on its fu-
ture. By designating it a referendum
:rather than a plebiscite, the United
.States sidesteps its refusal to comply
with United Nations Resolution 1514
(XV). This resolution requires the re-
moval of all foreign troops prior to a
':plebicite and Congress' transfer of
,sovereign power to the people of
;Puerto Rico. Ignoring these require-
ments, Bush pretends interest in the
Puerto Rican people's opinion, without
allowing them any power of decision.
The Reagan Administration justified
:the Grenadan invasion with the tradi-
tional appeal to "national security,"
.pointing to an airstrip that the
.Grenadans were building as a potential
"launching pad" for the Soviet Union.
But Grenada had been planning this
airstrip for twenty-five years. It was
,underwritten by the World Bank and
.Great Britain, not, as Reagan claimed,
;the Eastern Bloc. It was designed to
:boost Grenada's tourism- and mili-
tary experts assessed it as far too small
to live up to Reagan's hype about So-
viet bogeys. But Reagan's hype was
,enough to unleash an invasion that
fired 20 millimeter rounds from AC-
130 gunships and "accidentally"
:bombed a mental hospital, killing
eighteen.
The Reagan Administration launched
the Grenadan invasion from Puerto Ri-
.can military bases. The United States
.claims its sixteen bases on the island
'are necessary because withdrawing
troops would mean abandoning the
Caribbean to the Soviets and Cubans.
But Puerto Rico's real military advan-
tage to the U.S. is as a location from
which to invade other Caribbean coun-
tries, like Grenada, and as a source of
soldiers to serve in the Washington's
wars. The U.S. made the Puerto Rican
people U.S. citizens in 1917, just in

time to draft Puerto Rican men to fight
in World War I. Since then, a dispro-
portionate number of Puerto Ricans,
like members of all communities of
color, have been casualties in U.S.
wars.
The U.S. military advantage in the
Caribbean complements and reinforces
a comparable economic advantage
there. The real threat posed by Grenada
was the success of its socialist econ-
omy and the contrast between that suc-
cess and Reagan's failing Caribbean
Basin Initiative (CBI). Maurice
Bishop's new Jewel Movement re-
duced unemployment from fifty to
twelve percent, reduced illiteracy to
under two percent, doubled the number
of homes with potable water, and in-
troduced free health care and a heavily
subsidized housing program for work-
ers. Meanwhile, unemployment in the
jewel of Reagan's CBI, Jamaica, was
climbing to thirty percent and workers
in another CBI "beneficiary," the Do-
minican Republic, were making
twenty-five dollars a week for U.S.
multinationals. Approximately one
third of the Puerto Rican population
live below poverty level. This is in part
due to failed economic policies, like
Operation Bootstrap, which destroyed
the islands agrarian economy and left
thousands of workers unemployed.
Petroleum industries, whicheprovided
few employment opportunities, caused
extensive damage to the island's envi-
ronment and the health of its inhabi-
tants. United States' experimentation
with policies of population control
made more than one third of Puerto Ri-
can women of childbearing age sterile.
Despite the U.S. government attempts
to control the economy and the popula-
tion, more than half of Puerto Rico's
population requires federal economic
aid. Maybe this is because U.S. multi-
nationals' profits in Puerto Rico are
seven times larger than all federal sub-
sidies to the island combined.
Puerto Rico and Grenada both
demonstrate how this drive for profits
fuels Washington's historic willingness
to violate the integrity of nations in its
self-styled "backyard." Forty percent
of U.S. corporate profits in all of Latin
America come from Puerto Rico;
Grenada's "threat of a good example"
offered an alternative to this exploita-
tion which might have compromised
those profits and the system upon
which they were premised. If
Washington is condemned to repetition
in the Caribbean - a region it has
invaded scores of times from 1898 to
the present - it is less because of any
historical amnesia concerning the past
and its lessons than as a consequence
of a very consistent - and consciously
repeated - brutal economic logic.

By Christina Fong
Every day in University residence halls
gallons of vomit are found in trashcans on
some women's halls. Although eating
disorders receive remarkably little attention
in the mainstream media and social
science, they are a serious problem for
women on college campuses.
Approximately ten to thirty percent of
college age women suffer from an eating
disorder. Meanwhile, only 1 in 390 men
between the ages of 13 and 30 have eating
disorders. Anorexia and bulimia have no
known medical causes. Rather, many be-
lieve they occur as a result of intense pres-
sure on women to be unreasonably thin.
For some reason women don't like their
bodies - the lucky ones are never satis-
fied with the way they look but still feel
reasonably confident. Others starve them-
selves because they feel that before all else
- before being happy, before learning and
living, before thinking for themselves -
they must live up to certain physical ex-
pectations placed on them by society.
Women are assessed primarily on the
basis of how they look. Many of them be-
lieve that the only way to gain acceptance,
love, or success is to be unrealistically
thin. All women are affected by the unreal-
istic standards of beauty dictated to them
by advertisements and Hollywood. Even
professional women get the message that
their success hinges upon a lean angular
appearance. Anorexia and bulimia are re-
sults of this overemphasis on the external
appearances of women.
Bulimia, described as a disease of isola-
tion, is generally accompanied by low
self-esteem and self-hate. Bulimia is char-
acterized by repeated episodes of eating

large quantities of easily digestible food
(binging) followed by intense guilt and
self-deprecation, then self-induced vomit-
ing (purging). Many victims also use
strong laxatives and diuretics in efforts to
lose weight. They frequently experience
large weight fluctuations. Women who
suffer from bulimia are typically aware of
their eating irregularities. They try to
make their binging as inconspicuous as
possible.
Anorexia is characterized by an intense
fear of being fat that continues as the vic-
tim loses weight. Victims often lose more
than 25 percent of their body weight. They
have such distorted body images that even
when they are emaciated they believe they
are fat. They tend to deny that they have
irregular, dangerous eating habits.
The thinner she is, the more beautiful
she is, the better she is. And, of course,

shots have to be touched up before they go
out. Many models have underweight, arti-
ficially constructed bodies. The women 4n
the magazines do not exist. They are a fan-
tasy. Real life women cannot possibly
look like that, at least not for more tharna
few moments here and there when the
wind in blowing right.
4
The victims of anorexia and bulimia are
considered patients with an emotional dis-
order - a disease. The blame and burden
of solving the problem is placed on themn.
Our society has done nothing to correct
the source of the problem. The fashion and
fitness world have made small shifts tcaa
stronger female image, but the ideal ,-
male beauty is still thin and weak. Thre
has been no move to deemphasize the ip-
portance of a woman's physical appea-
ance.

'The fashion and fitness world have made small shifts to a
stronger female image, but the ideal female beauty is still'

thin and weak.'

I

o 'PW I

the more likely she is to marry a "good"
man. Is it surprising that a person would
be reluctant to depend on herself when her
entire sense of self-worth is based on her
looks? If she's intelligent, strong or inde-
pendent as well, that's a bonus, but such
qualities are rarely, if ever, seen as the
most valuable traits in a woman.
Harmful female stereotypes put pressure
on women to change their bodies, cover
their faces, alter their height, even change
their mannerisms in vain efforts to be like
the fashion models. The women in
magazines, however, are fictional people.
Hundreds of photos are taken to get a few
shots worthy of printing. Even the best

The pervasiveness and severity of eatilg
disorders in women should trigger
widescale concern about the social posi-
tion of women in our society. Yet, few
social problems of this magnitude receive
so little attention. With enough education
and public pressure our society could free
women from weak role models. Let us All
encourage women to rely on their on
competence, intelligence, confidence 4d
assertiveness to gain respect and power.
Only then will the collective self-esteem
of women rise to a point where women
can accept the bodies they were born with.
Christina Fong is a resident advisor.

Change the recogniti(

by Brian Taylor
Linda Kurtz, in her column of October
17, "Don't fund discrimination," is right;
the crux of the Cornerstone Christian Fel-
lowship recognition issue does not rest di-
rectly on CCF's right to a belief, but on
its right to qualify membership upon
agreement with their beliefs. She is also
correct in her interpretation of MSA code;
CCF's membership policy is clearly in
violation of the MSA discrimination
clause, which prohibits even the mainte-
nance of a membership policy discrimina-
tory of creed. The flaw in her case against
Cornerstone, however, is in the clause it-
self, which needlessly jeopardizes the in-
tegrity of every ideological group recog-
nized by MSA.
The purpose of MSA, as the governing
body over student organizations, is to
promote an open forum accessible to all
students. The forum is facilitated by access
to University meeting space, access to the
diag for rallies, and minor financial sup-
port. These facilities are available to
groups of students who unite fo: a particu-
lar activity or cause. MSA di-i not want to
let just anyone into the fcrum, though,
and so it created the recogrii)I, process.
Among the qualificatior.s fer recogni-
tion is the discrimination clause. The
clause was intended to prohibit groups
from the forum who would exclude vari-
ous people's groups. After all, the purpose
of the forum was to encourage student par-
ticipation. To allow a group into the fo-
rum which was going to exclude people
based on their color, or sex, or religious
belief ran counter, it seemed, to the fo-
rum's purpose.

Tne clause achieves or.e wortlj aim.
People of all natures should be ae to par-
ticipate in any facet of the forumr.. There is
no restriction in the abstract on how a
Black or a white, a man or a woman, an
Asian or a. African can believe or act.
The clause achieves nothing, however,
when it proaibits membership discrimina-
tion in ideological groups on the basis of
ideology. A violation of this segment of
the clause can only take on- form:
someone applies for membership in an
ideological group, though he or sire firmly
disagrees with their creed. Yet suich a case
does not further promote access to the
forum. If he or she wants to participate in
the forum, he or she can do so through an
ideological group he or she agrees with.
He or she has no need to gain membership
in a group he or she stands in clear oppo-
sition to.
Ideological groups are a boon to the
open forum, for they serve individuals in
the forum. And, as unions of individuals,
they are themselves more sophisticated
members of the forum able to contribute
more to it. They are a unique product of
open forums, evolving out of growing
parties of individuals united to study and
promote a common cause; this becomes
their creed.
Yet when the clause forces such groups
to grant membership to individuals antag-
onistic to their creed, they destroy their
reason for being. The clause forces them
to cease as a party of individuals united for
a cause and to become merely miniature
open forums interested in debating a cer-
tain focus of issues. Such mini forums are
valuable, but MSA needs not destroy the
union of ideological groups to create

)n clause
them. Rather, it needs to protect the union
of such groups who's health is now beiug
jeopardized by the clause. Such groups
have a necessary right to qualify membr-
shi1 upon agreement with their cause. j
The one virtue of the clause as it per-
tains to ideological groups is that it has
never had to be used; no one has ever
forcefully t:ied tc gain membership in .n
ideological organization they firmly dip-
agreed with. We have thus had little reasn
to remove the monster inherent in the
clause, for it sleeps. There has been no
case to stir him, no case, that is, until
I.aGROC blew the hypothetical whist e
on CCF.
Now the beast has awakened and
threatens not only CCF, but any
ideological group that someone takes :a
fancy to prosecuting. And even if tie
group can escape campus with their li *
they will be forever exiled from the foru$.
If MSA does not kill the beast they
sacrifice everyone's safety.
MSA may not have sympathy far
CCF's fate, but in failing to protect the ,
they fail to protect the necessary right Of
all ideological groups. And for their co#-
science's sake, in killing the beast, they
will not damage the rights of individuals.
The death of the beast can only serve to
enrich the open forum. Kill the beaz.&
Change the Clause. Give ideological
groups the necessary right to qualify
membership on acceptance and practice pf
their creed.
Bryan Taylor is an LSA junior
and a member of InterVarsity Christidn
Fellowship and the opinion staff of toe
Daily.

toe4 V
414

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Memorial
for battered
women
To the Daily:
While 58,000 U.S. soldiers
were killed during the 17 years
of U.S. intervention in Viet-
nam (1959-1975), 51,000 U.S.
women, of all races and
classes, were killed by the men
who "loved" them.
On October 21, in honor of
BrotherPeace, an international
day for men to break the si-

learn violence through compet-
itive sports, images of violent
men in the media (John
Wayne, Rarbo, Conan, Clint
Eastwood), glorification of
war, and all too often, their fa-
thers. The recent acquittal in
Florida of a man accused of
rape, simply because the sur-
vivor was wearing "seductive
clothing" and should have
known that a man "can't con-
trol his sexual urges" illus-
trates that men's violence is
still condoned by society.
Violence against women is
our cultural norm. In the

all sexual assaults are perpetu-
ated by men). The men who
commit these violent acts are
not deranged psychopaths liv-
ing in underclass neighbor-
hoods. These are men who live

away with

it." Now, more than

ever, men must learn non-via-
lence.
In Ann Arbor, there are :a
number of ways for men to gpt
involved in ending men's vi-
lence. For men who want as-
sistance stopping their violence
within a relationship, Catholic
Social Services provides cou$-
seling through their progran
Alternatives to Domestic A-
gression (662-4534). For men
interested in discussing arid
learning about these issues 4r
participating in activities sup-
porting men's non-violence ande

i

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