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April 12, 2013 - Image 4

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4 - Friday, April 12, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4- Friday, April 12, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.

420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com
MELANIE KRUVELIS
and ADRIENNE ROBERTS MATT SLOVIN
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR

OTA E QUOTABLE
Then the next thing that will occur is your kids will
come home (from school) and say, 'I think this is a
good thing and I think I want to
be one' (homosexual).'
- Michigan-based Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema defends his Facebook posts on the radio
program, Washington Watch.
ointless polling

ANDREW WEINER
EDITOR IN CHIEF

6

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.
FROM THE DAIL
Consistency with contraception
States should be more committed to reproductive rights
013 marks the forty-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade, in which
the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalizing abortions in the
United States. Flash forward 40 years from that historic date,
and the U.S. District Court Judge Edward Korman recently ruled that
age restrictions on the emergency contraception "Plan B One-Step,"
as well as its generic versions, were "arbitrary, capricious and unrea-
sonable" - further advancing the movement for the full reproductive
rights of women. Before this decision, teens younger than 17 couldn't
purchase Plan B without a prescription, and it was only sold through
family-planning clinics or pharmacies. Now, Plan B will be sold on the
shelves of stores and pharmacies nationwide for persons of any age.
While it's great to see the federal government discussing women's
issues and making steps to granting women full reproductive rights,
many states are unfortunately not on the same page.

What's up with the recent
polling for the 2016
Presidential election?
It seems that
there's a poll
coming out
nearly every
day about the
2016 race.
From potential
candidates to
projections,
polling orga- PAUL
nizations and SHERMAN
media outlets
have decided
to devote some
time to this story. Representatives
of Gov. Rick Perry (R-Texas) have
even announced that they are going
to decide by this June about his
presidential bid. In all honesty, it
makes me sick to my stomach.
Ever since the end of the 2012
election cycle, media outlets such
as MSNBC and CNN have been
talking about who will run in 2016.
To me, it's ridiculous that we're
beginning to have these discus-
sions now. The election is more
than 1,306 days away! This type of
polling isn't constructive, as there
are more important problems that
we should be addressing.
While there have been some cases
in which the polls accurately picked
the candidates, most of them have
not done so. According to a Gallup
poll from July 2009, "72 percent of
Republicans and Republican-lean-
ing independents have a favorable
opinion of Palin, compared with 56
percent for Romney and 59 percent
for Huckabee." Obviously, neither
Palin nor Huckabee ended up mak-
ing it past the primaries. For the
2004 election, polls projected the top
three Democratic candidates to be
Hillary Clinton, former Vice Presi-

dent Al Gore and Sen. Joe Lieberman
(I-Conn.), yet John Kerry won the
Democratic nomination. These polls
may tell us how voters feel about the
two political parties now. However, a
lot can happen in four years to make
voters change their minds.
Part of the problem is statistical
bias. Polls won't be accurate if they
don't find a representative sample
of the population. This is difficult
since it would be expensive to find
a large enough sample that can be
representative of the entire Ameri-
can population. However, if this
condition isn't met, the amount
of bias increases and the accuracy
decreases. Polls can also suffer
from what's called response bias.
This occurs when pollsters attempt
to predict what would have been
the response from participants
who don't respond to the questions.
As an article in The Economist
describes, when pollsters have to
call people who don't have land-
lines or don't pick up their phones,
for example, "they are left guessing
about how to weight their views,"
which can create bias and "lead to
lots of mistaken predictions."
However, there's a place for these
early polls. For lesser-known candi-
dates, such as Cory Booker, mayor
of Newark, New Jersey, it helps
them gauge their support and fig-
ure out the actions they need to take
to become more prominent in the
national dialogue. Not only that, it
can help us to understand American
opinions of the two political parties,
Congress, the presidency and so on.
In an article on Slate, John Dicker-
son said that talking about presi-
dential races can "excite ambition,
which causes politicians to take
risks, which can start conversations
about important ideas. Our day-to-
day political life is small, but in the

presidential conversation, it's still
possible to imagine bigger things."
In the grand
scheme of things,
polls are simply a
distraction.
There are also other problems
in polling, such as the "likely voter
model" and the push poll. As Frank
Newport, editor-in-chief of Gal-
lup, explained in an article by Ezra
Klein in the Washington Post,
the likely voter model "takes into
account changes in the response to
questions about how closelythey're
following and how enthusiastic
they are," he said. "It's not just cap-
turing underlying movement - it's
representing changes in enthusi-
asm." In addition, the push poll has
been used, which is when a small
sample of about 300 to 1000 people
are used for solely measuring how
information can change public
opinion, according to Stu Rothen-
berg of Roll Call. Because of these
problems, it's hard to tell whether
or not polls accurately reflect the
views of the American public.
So, in the next year or so, stop
talking about 2016. America is facing
more pertinent issues right now. It's
difficult for Congress to even pass
fiscal proposals that will keep the
government open for business. In the
grand scheme of things, polls for the
2016 election are just another dis-
traction that America doesn't need.
- Paul Sherman can be reached
at pausherm@umich.edu.

eS

According to a study reported by health.
com, more than 30 percent of sexually active
adolescents believed emergency contracep-
tives induce abortion. This is simply not true.
Rather, Plan B is a pill with a high dosage of
hormones that prevents the release of a fertil-
izableeggandmustbetakenwithinthreedays
of unprotected sexual intercourse. Taking
Plan B when pregnant is ineffective, because
the fertilized egg has already attached itself
to the wall of the uterus. Plan B also makes
no difference if an egg has already been fer-
tilized. Schools should be educating students
to eliminate the misconceptions of Plan B so
that it can be utilized as a normal and safe
option of backup birth control, especially if
primary birth control fails. With effective
dissemination of information coupled with
this new ruling, unwanted pregnancies could
likely be reduced.
Under the previous law for Plan B, teens
younger than 17 had to find a health care pro-
vider to provide a prescription if they were in
need of the pill. The alternative was getting
and older person to buy it for them, which was
illegal. Since every hour counts, the recent rul-
ing allows women and teens to control their
own sexual health and purchase the medicine
if they need it, eliminating humiliating emer-

gency trips to the doctor for a prescription.
While this ruling is encouraging, it also
draws attention to areas of the country where
women's sexual health is being compromised.
For example, in Missouri on April 4, the state
senate passed a law allowing pharmacies to
refuse to stock certain prescription drugs
- notably emergency contraception and
birth control. The pharmacies believe that
they should be allowed to stock what they
choose and if they so desire not to sell emer-
gency contraception for personal beliefs,
they no longer have to. While pharmacies
are businesses, owners have a responsibility
to provide necessary medications and doing
otherwise impinges on the rights of women to
have access to crucial medical care.
With this ruling, the judiciary joins a
larger governmental trend of taking a posi-
tive stance on women's rights. Other recent
accomplishments include free birth control
under the Affordable Care Act, which is now
applicable to most women with health insur-
ance in 2013. While there are some limita-
tions to the free birth control, it has positively
affected many women who are on the pill.
Given these results and recent actions by the
federal government, it's time states follow
suit and expand on women's rights as well.

0I

ZEINAB KHALIL I
The 'Femen' critique

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, Eli Cahan, Eric Ferguson, Jesse Klein,
Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Patrick Maillet, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Jasmine McNenny, Harsha Nahata, Adrienne Roberts, Paul Sherman, Sarah Skaluba,
Michael Spaeth, Daniel Wang, Luchen Wang, Derek Wolfe
JESSE KLEIN'
Back to reality

So, that'll be the only time I'll ever get to
see two fraternity brothers peck each other
on the lips - soberly at least. The Kansas
game was a game every fan dreams of - a
come-from-behind victory with a buzzer-
beatingshot sendingthe teams into overtime.
You watched it, you celebrated it, but did you
get to see two heterosexual fraternity broth-
ers - both with girlfriends - kiss through
tears of joy? And then, just a week later, the
tears were no longer those of joy, but of frus-
tration and loss over agreat seasonthat ended
just shy of a fairytale.
The emotion of the NCAA men's basketball
tournament is raw and real. The history of the
fatal Fab Five timeout, the freshman starters,
the most-likely final season for Trey Burke
and Tim Hardaway Jr. and the rebooting of
the once-great Michigan basketball program
all combined to make this loss a hard punch
to the gut.
My friend, who goes to a small liberal arts
college in Vermont where the biggest sport is
Quidditch, sent me this text: "Your boys put
on a fight, but it was not quite good enough."
What she didn't understand was how the
campus deflated after that. Melanie Kruvelis
wrote a column describing how the scene late
Monday night would have been a little differ-
ent if we had won or lost. While I agree the
actions might have been similar - people get-
ting drunk, fights and burning couches - the
atmosphere couldn't have been more different.
We wanted to win not for ourselves, but for
them. So that Spike could have his best game
be the game that we won the national cham-
pionship. So Trey and Tim could leave behind
not only a legacy, buta national championship
banner. So Mitch McGary's breakout stardom
would be complete. So the Fab Five would
finally not be the yardstick that measures

Michigan basketball.
The Shapiro Undergraduate Library, where
I went after the game to study for an organic
chemistry test, had a stillness about it. But
unlike after the Kansas game or the Final
Four, it wasn't because students had said,
"Fuck school, this is a once ina lifetime expe-
rience." Instead, no one could focus. No one
wanted to even try. We wanted to hold on to
the last few hours where we could talk about
the game because it was the most important
thing on campus.
And then Tuesday came.
While the East Coast and even Ohio expe-
rienced a warm front, Tuesday morning gave
Ann Arbor an overcast day with on-and-off
rain - mimicking the tears of Nik Stauskas as
he tried to complete his post-game interview.
The game was no longer the only thing on
everyone's mind. We had to deal with all the
work we had put off. The referees' bad calls
didn't consume every conversation. It was
back to the real world, one that looked slight-
ly gloomier and slightly harsher than the one
we had left behind on March 29.
It's a world where frat boys don't kiss and
grown men don't cry. One where I don't blow
off studying the day before an organic chem-
istry test and students don't drive 11 hours
without a plan or a ticket. This world is a little
less spontaneous, and sometimes I think that
maybe that other world had its priorities a lit-
tle bit straighter. Should I spend hours on end
in a cinder block building to study or should I
go outside and enjoy the world, do something
impulsive and unplanned that might be bad
for my GPA? I guess it's true, but I must ask
myself, "Why do I need five talented guys to
make living my life to the fullest acceptable?"
Jesse Klein is an LSA sophomore.

Femen, a Ukraine-based self-
identified "sextremist" women's
movement, labeled April 4 as "Inter-
national Topless Jihad Day." Global
demonstrations insupportof ayoung
Tunisian woman sparked many reac-
tions because images of her naked
body were marked with politically
charged messages. Years ago, when
the veil-ban was ahot topic in France,
Femen staged protests where they
dressed in burgas before collectively
stripping. More recently, the group
demonstrated in Stockholm in front
of the Egyptian embassy with their
bare bodies displaying phrases like
"Sharia is not a constitution," "Free-
dom for women!" and "No Islamism,
yes secularism!"
Before hearing anything about
this event, April 4 was a big day for
me, too. After months of rehearsing,
it was the night I would perform
in the campus production of The
Hijabi Monologues. I was excited
for this rare platform to share the
stories of Muslim women's diverse,
complex experiences; honest and
humanizing narratives that discuss
our celebrations and challenges.
To Femen, however, this sort of
initiative would be cast as irrel-
evant, even pitiful, because as it
turns out, I, along with millions of
Muslim women around the globe,
am suffering from a case of "false-
consciousness." To Femen, the
very idea behind hijab, and, more
generally, religion (read: Islam) is
intrinsically, solely and perpetually
harmful to women. This is where
Femen comes in to save us and help
us realize a self-affirmation that
we otherwise would never experi-
ence. Thanks to the efforts of those
who staged topless actions in front
of mosques and embassies across
Europe with makeshift beards,
towels on their heads, painted cres-
cents on their breasts and signs
that read, "Muslim women, let's get
naked!" I should now feel support-
ed, affirmed and liberated.
Shockingly, I don't.
My aversion to Femen has little
to do with their sensationalist tac-
tics and everythingto do with their
exclusivist approach to feminism,

imperialist rhetoric of salvation
and simplistic assumptions on lib-
eration, all of which are far from
what the group's message sets out
to be: radical and progressive.
The group's exclusivist approach
reminds me of the first and second
waves of feminism in the United
States, where the mainstream
women's movement marginal-
ized women who didn't agree with
its approach and instead sought
to define its own concerns and
struggles as the most pressing and
as "universal." As a result, Third
World feminists during this era
were pressured to choose between
adopting the struggle for women's
liberation or ethnic liberation.
They defied this restricting binary
framework and instead called for a
more interconnected approach that
simultaneously addresses multiple
structures of oppression. There
are valuable lessons to be learned
from this phase of the women's
movement, but Femen isn't paying
attention. The group insists on a
selective approach that highlights
oppression, prioritizing gender and
leaving all other markers of identity
- race, religion, sexuality and class
- unnoticed on the backburner.
Even more unsettling, Femen's
calls for "Muslim women, unveil!"
summon images of colonized Alge-
ria, where French women regularly
staged public "unveiling ceremo-
nies" for Algerian women under the
cry of "Vive L'Algerie Francaise!"
Local norms, especially around
women's sartorial choices, were
used by colonists to justify subju-
gation. In order to progress and
"civilize" the indigenous,-Algerian
women were made to unveil so that
they could become "free" under
French occupation. Femen adopts a
similar tone where Muslim women
can only realize liberation through
the imposed aid of their white
European counterparts.
I'm tired of the trite Eurocentric
assumption that one's feminist cre-
dentials are reflected and validated
through choices of dress. Time
and again, mainstream Western
feminism has sought to dictate and

prescribe the concerns and needs
of other women without including
them in the conversation. By decid-
ing that the biggest challenges to
liberation are rooted in "culture,"
Femen dismisses the multiple ele-
phants in the room that stand in the
way of liberation.
Guess what, Femen? Challeng-
ing society's patriarchal norms is
on my daily agenda, but I'm just
as equally enraged with the rac-
ist, corporatist, global imperialist
structures that perpetuate patriar-
chy and wreck women's lives over
and over again - especially women
who look like me whom you claim
to be liberating. In fact, your efforts
don't support my sisters, but dis-
tract from the fearless organizing
they do every single day, even if you
actively choose to overlook it.
The feminism that I know isn't
one that denies the agency of
women or feeds off of explicitly rac-
ist tropes that infantilize women.
While I find Femen's approach
off-putting and regressive, I won't
allow this to have me second-guess
my commitment to various feminist
causes. Feminism, like most other
movements and ideologies, has
been used overtime to justify mili-
tarism, war, neoliberalism and col-
onization. Despite this, I'll continue
to advocate my own understanding
of feminism - one rooted in equali-
ty, humility and self-determination.
To my well-meaning saviors,
please understand that the misogy-
nistic, racist ordeals I experience
regularly aren't oppressions that
I can disentangle from one anoth-
er. In this sense, your bigoted,
exclusivist movement becomes an
additional battle and a burden to
Muslim women activists instead of
a source of empowerment. Under-
stand that you can't save or support
women whom you see as lackingthe
ability to make critical decisions of
their own. So either take a moment
to listen to the voices of the Muslim
women you drown out and accept
that their experiences are legiti-
mate, or get out of our way.
Zeinab Khalil is an LSA junior.

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