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October 17, 2013 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-10-17

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4A - Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

he Michinan.3at*19

Ifyou've gotfeelings, flaunt them

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.
(Over)protecfimg student privacy
Reasonable access to student data is beneficial to education research
n October 2, Michigan's state legislature introduced a bill that prohib-
its public schools and school districts from collecting certain personal
information about its students during homework, tests or other cur-
ricular assignments. Personal information, such as a student's socioeconomic
status or place of birth, as well as physiological information, such as biometrics
and facial-recognition markers, would be banned from collection. While the
intention behind this bill to bolster students' rights to privacy is laudable, the
outright ban of collecting potentially useful information is short-sighted and
does a disservice to the schools and students.

grew up in northern Michigan,.
where men are the archetype
we imagine them to be. They
wear baseball
caps. and sun-
glasses when
they go two-
tracking in the
They drink E
whiskey, grow l
out their beards EMILY
and speak in
short, fact-driv- PITTINOS
en sentences
like, "It's a cold
one out there." In winter, they
crouch for hours on frozen lakes
with only a line through the ice
and their whole bodies, bundled in
down jackets except for their eyes,
steely with a fisherman's patience.
Of course, this all sounds like
a stereotype of what a man is sup-
posed to be. But this is how these
guys really act, and I think it's
because they know this strong-
silent-type persona is what our cul-
ture expects from them.
Feminists like myself often
lament the impossible demands
that society places on women. The
ominous "they" wants us to embody
perfection. "They" want us to navi-
gate the sinner-saint dichotomy
without so much as a whimper or a
lipstick smudge. We're supposed to
be' mothers and bimbos and virgins
and whores and wives. And yes,
these expectations are a big prob-
lem - they're reductive, dismissive
and the bane of feminine existence.
But I rarely hear my fellow femi-
nists talk about the ways in which
men also fall victim to societal pres-
sure, and how everyone can suffer
from the standards we set for them.
People have specific ideas about
what it means to be a man and,
unfortunately, a guy doesn't exem-
plify manliness simply by having a
penis. Instead, he must constantly
prove his masculinity and worth
as a man with prescribed behav-
iors - you know, doing dude stuff,
like hitting on chicks and strutting
around without a shirt on. Then, we
make all kinds of assumptions and
judgments about men based on how

they act.
We assume that dudes don't feel
deeplybecause theirbrains are busy
marinating in 30-racks of Busch
Light, football scores and whatev-
er their dicks want. We think that
men are incapable of communicat-
ing emotion and must use their fists
to settle arguments. We want every
man to emulate a sex idol - James
Dean at our house parties, the Rat
Pack at last call - and if they're not
suave and forward with women, we
call them pussies. We expect men to
calculate their every action, speak
eloquently if at all, puff up their
egos and have Teflon hearts. Basi-
cally, we expect guys to be stoic,
comfortable with violence and sex-
ually insatiable.
But by making these assump-
tions, we set a low standard for
male behav-
ior. We reduce
guys to aggres- W e a.
sive, unfeel-
ing caricatures perpett
of themselves. own g
These cartoon- w
ish projections inequ
then teach boys
that things like
tears and empa-
thy make men seem feminine,
which negates masculinity. Emo-
tion therefore becomes associated
with weakness and womanhood,
which demonizes the softest, most
human parts of a man, and leads to
a wider chasm between the genders
and encourages sexist behavior. For
example, a guy is much more likely
to put down women if he thinks
keeping them at a distance will
make him seem manlier in compar-
isgn. In short, we all help perpetu-
ate our own gender inequalities by
teaching boys and men that mas-
culinity is founded on withholding
their humanity.
However, I've loved men all of
my life, and the ones I've cared for
most have shown me their soft-
ness. My father's a big guy who will
"man up" to protect his family any
day, but he also sings love songs to
my mother and admits to weeping
every time he hears Joni Mitch-
ell's "For Free." At a time in middle


school when skinny, blonde girls
were inviting me to their birthday
parties to make fun of my sparse
unibrow, boys were there to share
their earbuds on the bus as we
whipped past acres of farmland.
I've comforted two of my best male
friends, one under each of my arms,
as they cried through the end of
"50/50." The list goes on.
Essentially, I recognize men as
humans who are more than capable
of emotional complexity, and I love
it when dudes defy norms by flaunt-
ing their abilities to express them-
selves. I know that most men have it
in them to love and respect women,
and many do so regularly. In my
feminist circles I'm always defend-
ing guys when necessary, making
sure an individual isn't confused
with the entire patriarchy.
Dudes, I
believe whole-
11 help heartedly that
there's more to
iate our you than mus-
cles, a dick and
5 d r a great beer-
alities. pong shot.,I've
got your back,
but I need you
to get mine, too.
I need you to prove me right every
day. I need you to beat the system
by showing that you're not sexist,
uncaring jerks. .
Falling victim to societal norms
isn't an excuse for truly bad behav-
ior, like violence or sexual aggres-
sion. The perpetuating stereotype
isn't all society's fault - many men
do play into it. But our culture also
needs to alter its definition of man-
hood. We need it to encompass the
characteristics we'd like to see in the
guys who hang out with our friends,
sisters and daughters. We need to
allow for features like gentleness
and respect and tears. By exiling
such human traits frommasculinity,
we all have a hand in molding many
men into the robots we resent. We
need men to feel safe enough to rise
above our expectations and show
their true, complex selves.
- Emily Pittinos can be reached
at pittinos@umich.edu.

Data about who students are and how stu- ceived overreaching scope of the standards that
dents learn is immensely valuable for edu- Republicans in many states incorrectly view as
cational purposes. Researching educational limiting local control of schools. Despite the fact
methods through such data has yielded ben- that the standards don't require data collection,
eficial results for decades, such as giving us there are those who fear students' rights may be
insight in cultural biases in testing, and figur- trampled with its adoption.
ing out what students are underperforming in Politics aside, the collection of students' per-
such tests. Therefore, it's counterproductive to sonal information must be balanced with pri-
the learning processes of both educators and vacy concerns. No student should be required
students to say that one area of information and to provide any information to their school or
its corresponding methods ofinformationgath- school district if they're uncomfortable doing so.
ering isn't worth exploring. In fact, previous often, this right to privacy isn't made explicit to
data collected from students have helped edu- students who may feel compelled to answer any
cators identify differentlearning styles and cre- question put before them. The introduction of
ate environments that are able to address the new policy is a success insofar as it brings this
diverse range of individuals in the public edu- topic of students' rightsatothe legislative agenda.
cation system. The rise of"flipped classrooms," Where H.B. 5044 fails, however, is pitting
activelearningenvironments and massive open useful situations against hypothetical prob-
online courses are evidence of research appli- lems. Due to the lack of real-world examples,
cations to improve the way students learn. those objecting to Common Core on the points
The introduction of the bill, H.B. 5044, may which H.B. 5044 tries to address have exag-
have more to do with debates over funding con- gerated and unfounded concerns, going so
tested Common Core State Standards for educa- far as to fear that students will be placed in
tion than with perceived privacy concerns. The MRI machines during tests. These specula-
bill was introduced by Rep. Tim Kelly (R-Sagi- tive concerns do little to help students while
naw), the chair of the subcommittee who spent the restriction against potential education
this summer debating the merits of and finally research also does active harm. In order to
working towards the implementation of the enhance the state's education, students and
Common Core in Michigan. Going against his educators should be given every available
party line, Kelly appears to be introducing this method, measure and process to help them
bill to alleviate some concerns about the per- learn from one another.
In defense of 'Blurred Lines'
"Feminists": Please stop with the cliche that some feel comfortable telling someone to quit
"'Blurred Lines' perpetuates+ rape culture." with their advances when they're unwanted,
Please stop telling me I'm just hearing it wrong. and find themselves surrounded with possible
Please stop telling me how to have sex. suitors by whom they're more than happy to be
The horse is beaten beyond recognition atthis playfully told, "You know you want it." Maybe
point, but almost every opinion written on what some- people like rough sex, having their "ass
was arguablythe most popular song of the sum- smacked" and "hair pulled." "I'll give you some-
mer says onething and one thing only: Itencour- thing big enough to tear your ass intwo?" Rumor
ages rape and if you interpret it differently you're has itsome people even engage in anal sex - and
disregarding victims, ignorantcto the prevalence sometimes they like that rough, too.
of sexual assault and just generally wrong. As someone who proudly identifies as a femi-
Can the lyrics to "Blurred Lines" be interpret- nist, I have to ask, because maybe I missed the
ed as offensive by some victims of sexual abuse? memo:Are womentobesexuallyempoweredand
Yes. When Thicke sings, "I know you want it," 'self-governing entities, butconly when it comes to
do you hear a sexual predator deflecting guilt? fending off sexual assault? Because I struggle to
Apparently. But do I? No. I hear the kind of con- call this feminism. Itcseems not only hypocritical,
fidence I like in a guy or girl I'm attracted to. but flat-outregressive. WhatI do in mybedroom,
To understand my perspective on this song so long as it's consensual, is none of your busi-
is to operate under the assumption that the ness and is my prerogative. Furthermore, when
behavior "perpetuated" in Thicke's song is con- discussing issues of pop culture, focusing rheto-
sensual; in understanding your perspective, I ric almost exclusively on assault and its victims
have to assumethat it's not. If we're both making (while disregarding the valid opinions of other
assumptions, who's to say what's right or wrong? sexually self-aware women) perpetuates the idea
I'mnot tryingto disregardthe experience and that females, first and foremost, are the passive
trauma of assault victims with whom "Blurred objects of men. By failing to have a balanced dis-
Lines" resonates negatively. By all means, main- cussion about female sexuality and what it means
tain your interpretation of the song - I'm not to consent, opportunities to showcase women as
goingto sayyou're wrongabouthowitmakesyou capable of making our own decisions about our
feel. In fact, the ability to summon raw, instinc- own bodies are repeatedly missed.
tive emotion is what I love about music, and how Even more hypocritical and offensive is equat-
it makes you feel isn't exactly something you can ing the rough sex depicted in "Blurred Lines"
change. I don't blame you for interpreting the with intimate partner violence. Having experi-
lyrics differentlythan I do. enced both nonconsensual and "rougher," but
I do blame you, however, for reassuring your- consensual, sex, I promise you the two are very
self and others that it's okay to tell me, "You different. Again, you're absolutely valid and jus-
might think you like what's being said here, but tified in interpreting the song in whatever way
you really don't. If only you knew," - as if I'm not strikes you, but please stop telling other women
self-aware enough to know what I do and don't that their interpretations, and thus, implicitly,
enjoy. As if, were I only able to empathize with some of their sexual preferences and desires, are
victims of assault, I'd surely see Thicke's words wrong and something to be ashamed of.
the way you do. As a victim of rape, as a female, as simply a
Here's the thing: I don't just empathize with cognizant being, it hurts me deeply when suffer-
victims of sexual assault; Itam a victim of sexual ers of assault are shamed or marginalized. But
assault. I was raped repeatedly atage 14. I wasn't here I can't help but feel shamed and marginal-
verbally told I "wanted it," but it was clear. ized myself.
Yet, there I stand on Friday nights, dancing to You "feminists" claiming that "Blurred
"Blurred Lines" at Rick's. Not every rape victim Lines" without a doubt perpetuates rape cul-
feels the same way I do, and, while I wish every- ture and that anyonewho plays it is consciously
one were able to enjoy this song, I'm not going or subconsciously doing the same, need to take a
to tell my opposition they're wrong for disliking step back and reflecteonthe goals of feminist ide-
it. And I'm definitely not about to disregard the ology. Are you fighting for the liberation, accep-
validity of their feelings. tance and respect as individuals of all women?
For all the progression and sexual libera- Or have you forgotten the liberties of some of us
tion that self-proclaimed "feminist" ideolo- along the way?
gists allege to encourage, for all the demands of The tendency in many feminist circles to
respect they put forth, for all the emphasis on polarize everything under the sun as "for us" or
"not letting society tell you how to feel" it seems "against us" - most often "against us" - dichot-
mighty hypocritical to tell me repeatedly - omizes our movement in ways we just can't
thank you, Salon, Jezebel, etcal. - how incorrect afford, specifically when it begins to alienate the
I am to see things the way I do. people it says it's trying to protect. Please, stop.
See, maybe some people like confidence.

Maybe some like to play a bit of a tease. Maybe Caitlyn Brennan is an LSA junior.



Kaan Avdan, Sharik Bashir, Barry Belmont, James Brennan, Eli Cahan, Eric Ferguson, Jordyn
Kay, Jesse Klein, Melanie Kruvelis, Maura Levine, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald, Adrienne
Roberts,Paul Sherman, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
aScalia and hi sdei




he man actually believes
in the Devil. Antonin Sta-
lia - U.S.

Supreme Court
Justice Antonin
Scalia, a man
with a lifelong
appointment to
the highest court
in America, the
one that decides
the ultimate fate
of laws and jus-
tice in this coun-


try - believes in
the Devil. The literal figure from the
Bible. Satan himself. Antonin Scalia,
the man, believes in Beelzebub, the
character. Keep repeating this to
yourself as you go through this arti-
cle, otherwise you're liable to think
such a claim too dubious - the man
actually believes in the Devil.
In an in-depth interview with
Jennifer Senior of New York Mag-
azine, the justice went on record
to discuss many things, from his
staunch opposition to certain rights
for homosexuals to his favorite
television shows. Perhaps the most
surprising thing during the con-
versation was his genuinely stated
belief that the Devil of the Bible
is "a real person." Scalia cited his
Catholic faith as his reason for
believing, claiming that it was
what "every Catholic believes" and
is necessary "if you are faithful to
Catholic dogma."
When pressed for evidence of
the Devil's existence, Scalia admit-
ted that the Wicked One isn't mak-
ing pigs run off cliffs or possessing
people much these days (something
the Prince of Darkness was appar-
ently fond of during the time of the
Gospels) because He's gotten "wili-
er" over time. Scalia claims that the
Devil spends most of His time these
days convincing people He doesn't
exist (along with that god he sup-
posedly opposes), and that this is a
"more successful" strategy.
On Scalia's scoreboard it's Key-
ser Soze from the "The Usual Sus-
pects": 1, Regan MacNeil from the
"The Exorcist": 0.
Let's reflect for a moment on how

terrifying it is for the longest-serv-
ing justice currently on the Court to
take this absence of evidence as an
indication of a nefarious existence.
Far scarier than any demon is this
man with the Scales of Justice in
his hands feeling the weight of thin
air. The man actually believes in the
Scalia then draws the conclusion
that this shift in diabolic strategy
from an active to a passive role is
"why there's not demonic posses-
sion all over the place." Nowhere
in the interview is there any hint
that Scalia has considered the null
hypothesis: there are no devils. No
angels have fallen from Heaven nor
serpents risen from Hell; people
have been people and the world
has been as it is far longer than
many traditional religious accounts
would insinuate. This, however, is
not how Justice Antonin Scalia sees
it all, a fact he has repeated time
again as he declares his Catholicism
the guiding philosophy behind the
justice he delivers.
This is the
same Catholi-
cism responsible As a chili
for witch hunts,
the Crusades the Del
and the Inquisi-
tion. This is the man,
philosophy of
a Church that only
believes the
introduction of
condoms in developing countries
is far worse than spread of HIV,
ordains that consenting adults
can only love each other in certain
ways, and has bred the one of larg-
est pedophilic scandals in human
existence. This philosophy convinc-
es grown men to believe in fairy-
tale monsters and excludes grown
women from its priestly class. It
should, therefore, come as no sur-
prise when Scalia was "offended"
by the interviewer's question, "Isn't
it terribly frightening to believe in
the Devil?" Given his philosophy,
it's the Devil who should be afraid.
As should we all.
That religious beliefs, ceremo-
nies and ideologies should have

no place in the governance of citi-
zens of this country is self-evident.
That a judge, let alone one of nine
responsible for shaping the rights
of hundreds of millions of people,
shouldn't accept conclusions with-
out evidence,isn't an unfair request,
indeed it is foundation upon which
all justice must be based. That this
conversation is even necessary
speaks to how far our civilization
still has before it.
To say that belief in devils and
demons, ghosts and spirits belong to
the childhood of our species is to be
too charitable with our condemna-
tion. We must and we should hold
such beliefs in contempt. No con-
temporary society benefits from its
populace's fear of its devils nor from
the charity of its gods. It's people
alone that determine what world we
have before us. It's a world that Scalia
would rather have perched over the
heat of Hell's fires than have homo-
sexual couples feel the warmth of
loving hands in emergency rooms.
The millions of people that believe
as he does stand
as a testament to
1, I feared the quiet tragedy
of ancient roots
il. As ap poisoning our
. As modern land-
Sfear scape.
Growing up
men. Catholic myself,
as a child, I
feared the Devil.
As a man, I fear only men. I fear
those who would treat this world as
but the antechamber for the next, I
fear those who would rule over oth-
ers with divine instructions, and
I fear those who see devils where
there are only men. But I'm hope-
ful. Our species' capacity for com-
passion and understanding and love
far surpasses that mandated by the
archaic texts of antiquated deities.
One day we will grow beyond our
childhood fears.
Though I can only be so hopeful.
After all, there's at least one man
that actually believes in the Devil.
- Barry Belmont can be reached
at belmont@umich.edu.



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