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March 06, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-06

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 6, 2001
GYe3diw r~

daily letters@umich.edu

Atlas flexed, then covered up

SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editors

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the
Daily's editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily

it's no secret that men
care about their bod-
ies. One would only
have to visit a gym to dis-
cover this. But it seems to
be more acceptable of late
for men to not only work
out, but also diet and
obsess about their weight.
Take, for example, Brad
Pitt, who is on the high-protein Zone diet, hav-
ing each meal delivered to him at home or on
Males' concern over their bodies generally
starts now, in college, for a number of reasons:
They are participating in fewer sports, their
metabolism isn't what it used to be and, specif-
ic to college kids, they are ingesting more beer
and take-out. All of this is bound to catch up
toward the end of one's college career. As a
senior, I've noticed the same guys that once had
large pizzas delivered to their dorm rooms (on a
nightly basis) trying to trim down for spring
One group of boys put themselves on a one-
meal-a-day diet for the weeks preceding their
tropical departure. They would starve all day,
only to feast at four o'clock, and then later go to
bed hungry. Such experimental dieting reminds
me of high school. Most girls had to watch their
weight starting in high school, or even junior
high, when most boys were having twinkie-eat-
ing contests.
When my childhood best friend and I
noticed changes in our bodies, we went on a
pasta and strawberries diet-quite literally. We'd
even eat the two together, convincing ourselves

this meal was tasty. It worked; we lost weight.
But, as one would imagine, I was cranky and
weak and tired. So I went back to regular eating
after researching what foods to generally avoid.
Years after our first diets, a number of girls
seem to be more confidant in their bodies. I
spent spring break in Negril, Jamaica, and I
noticed that all types of normal, healthy-look-
ing (read: not skinny) girls were joining the wet
t-shirt and thong contests. I'm not necessarily
an advocate for such competitions, but it was
refreshing to see girls proud of their bodies. My
friends in high school would wrap towels
around themselves while going in and coming
out of a pool, ashamed of their natural, tiny
thighs that had developed.
One night in Negril, after a thong contest,
the announcer called for men to come up to the
stage for a hard body contest. No one went and
it was cancelled. Boys are now aware of their
changing bodies, and this type of self-conscious-
ness is probably why I spotted some Michigan
boys running on the beach in Jamaica. To be
fair, they could just really enjoy running. So
does my roommate, but in 85-degree weather
she thought it best to take a swim.
Men are becoming more aware of their
appearances in general. I know a guy who owns
far more bottles of lotion and other grooming
products than I do, and he is not teased by his
friends. Lynne Luciano, in her book "Looking
Good: Male Body Image in Modem America,"
writes that American men spent $3 billion on
grooming aids and fragrances in 1997 alone.
The book's reviewer Holly Brubach comments,
"Men in their 20s now have permission to be
vain in a way that previous generations did not.

Some are taking this vanity to the surgical
table, as Men's Health magazine has reported
From 1992 to 1997, liposuction tripled among
men and face lifts nearly doubled. The article
went on to say that men are still not talking
openly about having these surgeries like
women do.
So while being vain might be more accept-
able for males today, it still is not at the same
level as for females. And there are certain
things that boys still feel they have to do for the
sake of their manhood. My friend's brother, a
sophomore in college, drinks diet coke with the
family to cut on extra calories and regular coke
with his friends, claiming it to be embarrassing
to drink diet. Likewise, some boys have reser-
vations about ordering a girlish salad for dinner,
even if they like salad. But lately, boys I eat
with will order salad for the sake of their
expanding tummy.
That men are starting to feel comfortable
dieting and catering to their vanities does not
imply that they are becoming increasingly
effeminate. It suggests that what was once con-
sidered female behavior can now be looked at
as human behavior. One warning for first-time
male dieters: My high school best friend tried
many diets after the pasta and strawberries one
including bulimia. Men currently make up 1*
percent of bulimics. Now that dieting is not
restricted to females, neither is the ugly under-
side of it. For their sake, I hope college males'
newfound vanity does not extend that far.
Gina Hamadey 's column runs eve other
Tuesday. Give herfeeack at
www.miclngandaily.com/orum or via
e-mailat ghamadeyiiumich.edu.



With an 'informed
student body; Code
may be changed
Kudos to the Daily on its phenomenal
"Unmasking the Code" analysis and "A call
to action" editorial in yesterday's edition.
As I would gather, from the large amount of
space dedicated to the issue, the editors
understand that the formerly-titled Code of
Student Conduct (now called Statement of
Student Rights and Responsibilities) affects
each and every University student every day
- on campus or off; in the lecture hall just
off the Diag or on spring break in Acapulco.
A decade ago, as the Daily's editorial
pointed out, the Code was a hot topic on
campus. Now, most students don't know
what it is - let alone how it affects their
The Student Rights Commission of the
Michigan Student Assembly has worked
since the enactment of the original Code of
Student Conduct to amend the document,
reform the procedures and educate the stu-
dent body.
It is critical that all students understand
that there may be consequences for their
actions and how to work within the estab-
lished processes to adequately represent
themselves. We do believe that there are
serious problems with the Statement -
many of which the Daily highlighted.
While we have and will continue to lead
the fight to reform the current state of
affairs, we can use all the help we can get
from any and all segments of the University
community. The Michigan Student Assem-
bly will soon, again, draw up more proposed





_ . "


changes and amendments to the Code for
University President Lee Bollinger to UNMASKING THE
review. We hope to draw upon the experi-
ences of those who have gone through the
Resolution process in order to shape our
course of action. We encourage all whoOD
would like to be a part of the body that will
propose said changes to e-mail Do You FEEL You WERE
src2001@umich.edu with suggestions. UNVAIRLY TREATED BY THE
We hold that the Code, as it stands, is
unfair and deprives students of due process. THE UNIVERSITYS
It is our hope that with the help of an DISCIPLINE POLICY -
informed student body, we can change the FORMALLY KNIWN AS THE
situation. CODE OF STUDENT
We commend the Daily for shining the
spotlight on this critical issue and urge CONDUCT? KEEP.THE
everyone to learn as much as they can about E COMING AND UELP
and to fight this unjust policy.
The letter writer is the co-chairmanda code 71mich edu
of the Michigan Student Assembly
Student Rights Commission.

Securing the 'American Dream'

can't pretend to know,
in a clearly defined
sense, where my
obsession stems from. I
know that I have been
affected, at least indirectly,
by poverty. My family was
poor and my parents both
escaped extremely desper-
ate economic situations
and realized the American Dream. Though I
was born after economic stability had been
achieved, I have seen the lingering effects of
poverty on both my parents and on my extend-
ed family.
My mother is hesitant to throw away old
pots, even after the handles have fallen off and
the non-stick has long since peeled away. We
have the same set of plates that I remember
eating off of as a child - even unlucky spoons
that find their way into the garbage disposal get
cleaned off and reused, twisted metal and dan-
gerously sharp filings included. The basement
remains as it was when my friends and I
played dodge ball years ago, the wooden pan-
eling loose and ready to fall off. Virtually all of
the new clothes in my parents closets were
gifts from my sister and me - my father was
convinced until fairly recently that his 1970s
ties were still the latest thing.
They are not poor, nor are they cheap. They

There is little doubt that inequality between
countries has grown. "The North," a generic
term for the United States, Canada and much
of Europe, has become absolutely wealthier
than "the South," a generic term for everyone
else. But inequality within countries is far more
Within nations, the stratification of wealth
and status is a fascinating, albeit shocking,
The common conservative complaint is that
people in poverty simply lack the work ethic
needed to escape. "This is the land of opportu-
nity!" they claim, often forgetting (or failing
entirely) to take into consideration the long-
lasting impacts of poverty. When a child is
raised in a society where he is constantly inun-
dated with messages of failure and defeat, it is
inevitable that those values will become an
integral part of his personality.
The effects of poverty are lingering, a fact
which I have witnessed my entire life. Certain-
ly the lack of new silverware in my home
doesn't compare to the inability to find a good
job. But the underlying theme is the same -
growing up poor leaves a lasting mark.
But then, the question for society at large is
this: What do we do about the poor ?
Unfortunately, the presence of a stratified
society, the "haves" and the "have nots," is a
symptom of capitalism, which is, for better or

Unfortunately, the programs that claim t
"level the playing field" in this nation, such as
welfare and affirmative action, serve to placate
the masses while at the same time cementing
the status quo. Welfare gives people a basic
means of subsistence - one that is in fact atro-
cious in a society as rich as ours. But people
will not be willing to risk their lives to secure
their rights unless they have nothing to lose,
and welfare programs ensure that people have
a very basic standard of living that they will
not be willing to lose. On the other side of the
spectrum, affirmative action secures a spot
jobs and academia for minorities, and we ar
all spoon-fed the belief that racial diversity is
somehow solving the upward mobility dilem-
ma in this nation. Unfortunately, all it does is
guarantee that already well-off minorities get a
leg up, at the expense of the poor, who contin-
ue to stagnate in abject poverty.
In the end, it is (and should be) hard work
that is the arbiter of success. My parents are an
example of this - their work ethic is astound
ing, and the drive that they had to escape the
lifestyle secured them a better social position.
Thanks to their success, I don't have to work
nearly as hard as they did,in order to get
places. In a sense, this is the very basic prob-
lem with the system as it is today.
Is it fair that I, thanks to the random cosmic
chance of being born upper middle-class, don't

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