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October 23, 2012 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-10-23

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4 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4 - uesay, ctoer 2, 212 Te Mchign Dily mihigadaiyco

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
The 52 percent
Candidates need new approach to women voters
f this year's presidential debates have proven anything, it's that
candidates will do or say anything it takes to sway voters. In the
second debate, issues pertaining specifically to women were dis-
cussed at length. Both candidates spoke about their concern for wom-
en's salaries, what they've done in the past to level the playing field
and future plans to continue their efforts. This discussion (and lack
thereof) demonstrated the need for a more progressive understanding
of women and women's issues in the political sphere, particularly that
political candidates need to change their approach when appealing to

Well, governer, we also have fewer
horses and bayonets."
- President Barack Obama retorted to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's
remark about the Navy having fewer ships than any time since 1916.

Dorm room drama

women voters.
In the second debate between President
Barack Obama and Republican presidential
nominee Mitt Romney, the candidates were
asked how gender and other inequalities would
be rectified. Obama spoke to the enactment of
the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act during his first
week in office, which offers equal pay to women
and men who perform the same jobs. He also
mentioned his belief that insurance companies
should provide coverage for contraceptives,
calling it an economic issue as well as a health
care concern.
Romney touted his decision to hire women
in his cabinet as governor of Massachusetts and
promised a stronger economy, which would
provide women with the opportunity for more
flexible scheduling. The former Massachusetts
governor also stated that employers shouldn't
be coerced into providing contraception cov-
erage, and that Planned Parenthood funding
should be cut.
The last debate showed the need to alter
the campaign's approach to female voters.
Women account for 52 percent of voters and
it really isn't enough to merely speak to wom-
en's issues -politicians must act to rectify
But the way the candidates are approaching
female voters makes it seem as though women
are not the core of the voters, but rather just

another small constituency or demographic
whose votes are needed to win the election.
.It's simply not enough to speak of past legis-
lation - there has to be a concerted effort to
make changes.
Both Obama and Romney's approaches
toward women cannot be superficial or offen-
sive. It's not just enough to wear pink brace-
lets like those that adorn Obama's wrists or
have "binders full of women" to hire during
Romney's term as governor. These issues
need to be addressed directly through leg-
islation. The candidates are only inclined to
speak to their past accomplishments rather
than bringing about actual legislative change
in terms of equal pay and job availability.
Each candidate must realize the need to
approach women's issues as topics that per-
tain to everyone, not a special interest group.
The gender pay gap does not just affect
underpaid women - it also affects their fam-
ilies and dependents. Issues such as contra-
ception availability and abortion also provide
broader implications for American society as
a whole. On Nov. 6, American voters - pre-
dominantly women - will choose the next
president, and that president should be one
who understands that women's issues don't
pertain solely to American women, but to
society as a whole.

As a second semester trans-
fer student, I had a tough
choice to make going into
my sophomore
year: would -I
continue living
in the dorms,
get a room in my =
fraternity house
or begin a long,
possibly futile
search for off-
campus housingPJAMES
Juggling BRENNAN
school, student
and pledging, I dropped the idea
of looking for a new place and nar-
rowed my options to University
housing and my fraternity. Looking
to avoid the constant distractions
of partying and living with 23 of my.
best friends, I chose the dorm over
my fraternity. I made a big mistake.
Don't get me wrong. Mosher-Jor-
dan Residence Hall is a great place to
live - good people around me and all
the amenities I need (not to mention
a place to get away from my social
life). The problem is all money.
Over the past year, my financial
situation has changed drastically.
With this change has come the
need to save money in every way
possible, especially when it comes
to big costs like housing and food.
Much to my dismay, the University
failed to subsidize my room and
board. Right now, the cost for my
residence hall, excluding food, is
nearly $1,000 per month.
Along with the price to share a
bedroom, bathroom and study areas,
I'm forced to shell out cash for a
meal plan too. I understand that I
have food prepared for me and I only
have to take a short walk to get it, but

the dining hall isn't worth the cost.
The standard 150-block meal plan
costs $1,915. Subtract Blue Bucks
and Dining Dollars, and the average
cost per meal comes down to around
$11.43 a swipe. At this rate, I could
eat at restaurants on South Univer-
sity Avenue every single day and
still have money left over. Freshmen
could hypothetically live at the new
luxury apartments at Landmark,
cook for themselves and still pay less
than they do for a cramped double on
North Campus.
It should be noted freshmen do
choose whether to live in the resi-
dence halls or not. Like me, their off-
campus options will be very limited,
as most of the decent off-campus
housing has already been scooped up
by the time high-school students are
admitted to the University.
More important than money or
location, however, is community.
Especially for students with very
few friends at the University, the
people you meet and get to know in
a freshman hall become your first
real group of friends in college. Even
if you're like me and came to-Michi-
gan with plenty of close friends,
the dorms are a beneficial way to
meet new people and make friends
outside of your comfort zone. Liv-
ing off-campus could make it a lot
harder for freshman to obtain the
friends and social skills that college
demands. Whether you love them
or hate them, dorms are extremely
important in the way our University
functions. Because of thisthe costof
University housing and meals abso-
lutely has to go down.
I'll be the first to admit thatI made
a boneheaded decision by choos-
ing to live in the dorms yet again. I
don't need the community building

that University housing provides
and it would save me a huge amount
of money to live somewhere else.
Even my newly restored, $5-million
fraternity house would be cheaper
than what I pay now, but my fail-
ure to do the math ahead of time
doesn't excuse the University for
ripping off freshman.
'U' housing costs
the same as
If the University is serious about
keepingthe school diverse and acces-
sible to people of all backgrounds,
then it needs to stop overcharg-
ing for things like room and board.
Tuition costs increased yet again
this year, making Michigan harder
and harder for low-income students
to afford. Diversity is not just racial,
but also socio-economic. If they
don't have the money, freshmen stu-
dents will eventually begin to live
off-campus, which is detrimental to
community building, or stop coming
to the University altogether, favoring
more affordable schools.
We may very well see the school
lose either its sense of community,
cherished diversity and plurality -
or all three. What's for sure is that
if major costs like tuition, room and
board continue to increase, we will
soon find outthe hard way.
- James Brennan can be reached
at jmbthree@umich.edu.


Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Eli Cahan, Nirbhay Jain, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis,
Patrick Maillet, Harsha Nahata, Timothy Rabb, Adrienne Roberts,
Vanessa Rychlinski, Sarah Skaluba, Michael Spaeth, Gus Turner
Health 1S wealth

Mommy dearest, all business


In college, many students are wary of the
unhealthy eating habits that often accompany
busy schedules and heavy course loads. The
"freshman 15" is a persistent fear. However,
there are also always a few who are deter-
mined to make those 15 pounds a loss instead
of a gain. Here at the University, many stu-
dents are especially concerned with their
health and establishing good habits.
But as with anything in life, too much of a
good thing can be a bad thing. Even though it
may be hard to believe, it's possible to be too
In an effort to avoid the temptation of fast
food and midnight cookie deliveries, some
students go in the opposite direction and
become obsessed with exercise and calorie-
counting. This kind of obsession with healthy
eating is called othorexia. Though it isn't con-
sidered a clinical disorder, it causes severe
mental problems and sharp physical chang-
es. People who suffer from othorexia often
pore over nutritional facts and generally end
up dismissing the majority of food available
after deeming it "unhealthy." They become
increasingly concerned about exercise and
end up working out several times a day. When
they stray from their diets, they punish them-
selves with more exercise or skimpier meals
to compensate for the extra calories.
In college, it's very easy to fall into this kind
of obsession. When students try to be health-
ier, they often end up making a series of reso-
lutions or goals. Reaching our goals makes us
feel empowered, but that power can go to our
heads. We start wanting to control everything
and start setting even more restrictions with
fewer allowances.
I've felt this way. Since I came to college
I've been trying to be healthier, so I've noticed
firsthand how setting goals and restrictions
can become addicting. I once tried to see
how long I could last on only pretzel sticks
and Slimfast. I exercise several times a week,
sometimes as my break from studying. Ilook
at my body in the mirror every day looking
for the improvements that I know are there. I

don't have orthorexia, but I can see how easy
it is to become obsessed.
We believe we're being healthy, but this
kind of deprivation taxes our minds more
than we realize. What seems to be healthy
thinking becomes an unhealthy obsession.
Following a strict and specific diet robs the
body of the nutrients it would receive from
eating a variety of food. Additionally, it's not
mentally healthy to severely restrict our-
selves because restrictions end up consum-
ing our thoughts. One of my family friends
works out five times a day and eats a spe-
cific brand of organic peanut butter in place
of other snacks and meals. I once saw a girl
at the dining hall counting out six pieces of
boiled chicken and two spoonfuls of broccoli
for her dinner. This behavior isn't healthy.
As anxiety sets in, food becomes more of an
obstacle than a pleasure. Exercise turns into
an obligation instead of an amusement. As
college students we deal with enough stress.
Being healthy should be an achievement, not
an obligation.
Othorexia is just as dangerous to one's
mental stability as anorexia or bulimia. All
college students and other young adults
should be aware of the dangers of falling into
this kind of obsession. Wanting to improve
your eating habits and exercise routines is a
very respectable goal.
There's nothing wrong with eating fruit
for dessert or running through the Diag every
day. But we need to understand that obsessing
over health is actually not healthy at all. Col-
lege has given us the freedom to change our-
selves, to be that person that we have always
wanted to be, to look how we have always
wanted to look. With this freedom, how-
ever, we need to be cautious when we make
big changes to our habits and routines. There
needs tobea balance. Two days ago I worked
out at the CCRB for an hour and then ate two
pieces of chocolate pudding pie for dessert.
Balance achieved!
Jasmine McNenny is an LSA freshman..

On Monday, the New York Times
published an article by Stephanie
Coontz titled "The Myth of Male
Decline." It addresses the perva-
siveness of women in the workplace
since the beginning of the feminist
movement and discusses whether
anything has truly changed. Coontz
contends that the "patriarchal divi-
dend" socio-economic privileging
of men hasn't disappeared from
the business world. While employ-
ment trends for women have curved
upward in recent years, they haven't
evened out, nor will they.
Women started at such a disad-
vantage that trending doesn't define
positioning. Coontz also observes
the phenomenon ofwomen at the top
gradually sacrificing their feminin-
ity for the more pertinent attributes
of a man. In this context, social val-
ues are defining the roles of women
in our society.
At Cornell, researchers submitted
fake resumes in response to job post-
ings. All factors were constant in the
resumes but one: parental status.
They found that mothers received
far fewer callbacks and, when hired,
their salaries were worth $11,000
less than non-parents without room
for promotion. Additionally, mothers
with children received half as many
callbacks as those without children.
What does this say about the val-
ues of the workplace? On one hand,
it's a matter of naive' assumption
- the misconception that working
mothers will inevitably prioritize
family over the work. On the other
hand, there's the assertion that
mothers ought to spend more time
withtheir kids than at work and thus
aren't ideal for the ruthless business

world. The problem with the latter is
that it doesn't give them the option -
who is a recruiter to make that deci-
sion for a grown woman?
The interesting part about all
of this is the gender bias of certain
jobs - four of every five teachers
and social workers are women. This
points to the stereotype that the
talents of women lie in nurturing,
development and support. These
talents are often given no credence
in the cutthroat environment of the
However, I'd argue the other
way. According to the classical
"window-mirror" allegory of lead-
ership, true leaders "look out the
window" when giving' credit and
"look in the mirror" when delegat-
ing responsibility. That is to say,
while they're accountable for the
errors of the organization, they
should be careful not to take credit
for its successes, which should go to
those within the company. Sounds
like a mother's role to me. If you've
ever been on a plane you know what
I'm talking about. The baby who
cries the entire flight is the product
of poor parenting and lack of atten-
tion. The baby who plays in the
rows and smiles when she travels
is a charming example of maturity
and precociousness.
The point of all of this lies in
"femininity" itself. Coontz says the
issue pertainsto mothers identifying
too openly with the existential idea
of "woman," rather than as unique
individual women who also mother.
Motherhood does have applications
in the workplace - I would per-
sonally love it if every time I called
HR or customer service, my mom

answered the phone. I'd also love it
if my boss cared for her subordinates
even remotely as much as a mother
loves her kids.
The issue boils down to the stigma
of stereotypical "male vs. female"
qualities. Women who don't make it
home for dinner are frowned upon.
Men who get home early from work
to make that dinner are disgraced.
In true Darwinian biologi-
cal terms, Dad <em>should<em/>
weather the storm of the outside
world to bring home the goods,
while Mom <em>should<em/> sit in
the nest with the kids and keep them
Well, what if Mom could nest
somewhere else, say, in the office?
And what if she could retain the
qualities that make her "Mom" and
not the ones that make her "Boss"?
Perhaps if everyone in the work-
place warmed up to one another,
they might cooperate, set aside
their differences and operate as a
family unit. Think about that - the
office family. Certainly in <em>The
Office<em/> there's not a speck of
family anywhere; good thing too,
otherwise we might not have a TV
show worth watching. But the aver-
age workplace shouldn't resemble a
TV show.
We need to embrace the qualities
of women that make them women
and the qualities of mothers that
make them mothers. It's not appro-
priate for every manager to resem-
ble Steve McQueen or Christopher
Reeve. It might, in fact, do us well
to consider more Meryl Streeps or
Helen Mirrens forthe helm.
EliCahan is a Business sophomore.

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