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July 16, 1983 - Image 6

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1983-07-16

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OPINION

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Page 6
The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCIII, No. 23-S
93 Years of Editorial Freedom
Managed and Edited by students of
The University of Michigan
Editorials represent a majority opinion of the
Daily Editorial Board
Kicked while down
A S IF THINGS weren't tough enough,
college students who depend on financial
aid got some more bad news from Washington
recently.
The Department of Education has proposed
changes in the financial aid rules that would
make it more difficult for students who pay
their own way through college.
Under the proposed changes, students would
be required to answer several more questions
in order to determine if they are financially in-
dependent.
Being declared financially independent
allows students to become eligible for substan-
tial amounts of federal aid-money they would
probably not qualify for without this status.
The stiffer regulations were proposed
because of an increase in the number of studen-
ts declaring themselves independent, which
Education Secretary Terrel Bell claims is proof'
students are abusing the system.
University financial aid officials, however,
say the proposed changes are unnecessary
because it isn't clear that students are abusing
the system. Furthermore, the fact that the
average age of college students has risen over
the past few years has been the major cause of
the rising number of financially independent
students.
Harvey Grotrian, the University's financial
aid director, said the proposed changes are "no
insurance that the money would be distributed
any better (or more equitably) than it is now."
We agree with his assessment.
Admittedly, there is a fair amount of students
who annually lie about their independent status
and cheat the government and taxpayers out of
money that ought to go to students who really
need it.
But we believe the best way to police the
cheaters and determine if students should be
considered financially independent, is through
University financial aid administrators-not
lengthy government forms.
Ni cGeRe
WIL51NlATep
POR, MR ReA A
"! m t eFOMPL
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The Michigan Daily

Saturday, July 16, 1983

Sinclair

s liR

NS PRETYCAMOW.
TsCO..To Co
F you DONT FRIGHTEN
- \ N
A new racis-m'in America

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By Alice Kahn
The ad in the Wall Street Jour-
nal shows an average-sized
woman standing on a scale in a
pair of shorts. A look of un-
fathomable horror crosses her
face as she reads the verdict. The
ad describes investment oppor-
tunities in a new chain of fran-
chised weight loss parlors. "This
woman will pay somebody to lose,
weight," read its caption.
I look at the picture and think:
"Boy, they've got her coming and
going." The fact is, I know her
problem all too well.
This is a painful confession, but
it comes after years of failed
diets, failed pills and failed at-
tempts at behavior modification.
Although exercise makes me feel
better, it has never had much ef-
fect on the numbers on my scale.
Recently I've lost some weight,
but more importsnt, I've learned
about new perspectives that
finally made me call for a truce
in the battle of the bulge.
One of these perspectives came
from Dr. Margaret MacKenzie of
the University of California, who
has compared attitudes toward
fat in the United States and
Samoa, and calls the American
view "the new racism." Holistic
health and "new age" groups are
among the most militant fat
phobes she says.
A growing number of
therapists, feminist writers,
obesity researchers and fat
people have begun to view the
weight problem from a position
so radical that, until recently, no
one dared suggest it. Their secret
message is: "Don't try to lose
weight."
One member of this body-
esteem avant garde is Kim Cher-
nin, author of "The Obsession:
Reflections on the Tyranny of

slenderness." She compares
slenderness to the practice of
foot-binding in parts of Asia. She
also finds analogies between the
20th century horror of female
food lust and earlier fears of
sexual appetites in women. The
problem, according to Chernin, is
best symbolized by the girl with
anorexia nervosa: She is literally
starving to death, yet feels fat.
It seems to me a better symbol
might be what doctors refer to as
the "bulimic" woman, who eats
in binges followed by self-induced
vomiting. Said one practitioner:
"You can eat all you want, throw
up the calories and still be thin."
Unfortunately, the practice
also can require enormous
amounts of money for food and
lead to gastrointestinal disease
and severe tooth decay. It is a
testament to the pressure to be
thin that one bulimic woman told
me she got the idea after reading
an article on the hazards of self-
induced vomiting.
Dr. William Bennet and health
writer Joel Gurin in their book,
"The Dieter's Dilemma," take a
painstaking look at the health ef-
fects of obesity and argue against
the common belief that it's
dangerous to be fat, or that sim-
ple willpower is all that's
required to "shape up." They
trace the roots of the word
."overweight" to the actuarial

tables of the Metropolitan Life
Insurance Company and debunk
their value as general predictors
of longevity - mainly by pointing
out that they apply only to life in-
surance buyers, who represent
just a tiny fraction of the
population.
These fathers of what I'll call
the "All New Feminist No-
Weight-Loss Diet" pointsto the
growing body of research suppor-
ting the "set-point theory," which
says each one of us is somehow
biochemically set for a certsin
weight or weight range. Although
it is possible to lose weight
through great effort, the theory
goes, we eventually drift back to
our set points.
To try to get away from my
food-related cultural conditioning
I took up a peculiar exercise,
leading me to that lurid den of
sugar and calories, the neigh-
borhood bakery. Unflinchingly I
order white bread, a bag of
cookies and a cake.
When I get home, I feel oddly
full and satisfied, even without
eating much of what I bought. My
husband is horrified that I've
spent $10 on junk food, butI point
out that in today's psychotherapy
market, a $10 insight is a bargain.
Kahn, a nurse practitioner in
'Berkeley, Calif., wrote this ar-
ticle for the Pacific News Ser-
vice.

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Unsigned editorials appearing on the left side
of this page represent a majority opinion of the
Daily's Editorial Board. Letters and columns
represent the opinions of the individual author(s)
and do not necessarily reflect the attitudes or
beliefs of the Daily.

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