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May 29, 1996 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1996-05-29

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Wednesday, May 29, 1996 - The Michigan Daily - 5


Qe truth about
vomen and men
The verdict is in: Janeane Garofalo doesn't look
I that bad. At least that's my opinion after watch-
g "The Truth About Cats and Dogs," a movie
at makes light of society's obsession with female
Of course, it wasn t the
a of the movie to make
ar falo seem pretty. The
Im was designed to critique
e image of feminine beauty
at men find attractive: slen-
r, curvaceous, pretty face
ce hair - things that Uma
urman was and Garofaloj
sensibly wasn't. Without
ving away the plot, I can say TONY
e movie made its point. GHECEA
Men do indeed evaluate
n based on what men consider beautiful.
n as the movie suggests, men often do value
hysical beauty over other forms of attractive-
ss, such as brains.
By focusing on a woman's looks, a man can
iss what's on the inside: intelligence, humor,
ndness, integrity - the things that foster rela-
onships as opposed to one-night stands. Men can
isily lose the best catch in the ocean if, instead of
king the time to reel in the big one, they focus on
oing for the prettiest fish in the sea.
Wa roundabout way, that's what "The Truth
bout Cats.. ." conveyed. What it didn't address,
ifortunately, was the other side of the issue.
There really isn't anything wrong with men
iluing good looks. It's only natural that men
iould like what attra..ts them, and only fair that
ey should ask women to make some effort to
pproach that image.
When society emphasizes an image of female
eauty that women can't live up to (or can only
atch by harming themselves), male expectations
i ave negative effects. Anorexia, bulimia and
rrrship of cosmetic surgery are likely prod-
cts of society's exaggerated focus on looks.
But looking good need not mean hurting one-
lf mentally or physically. Asking that women
ieasure up to a standard of beauty need not
quire forcing them to strive for perfect looks.
hat it does require is a reasonable effort on both
des. Men can't expect to receive perfection. But
omen can't expect to get by with no effort at all.
"The Truth About Cats. ..."didn't portray Garofalo
sturally unattractive or careless about her looks.
.ut it also didn't explain how she got to look the way
he did. It didn't show the scene where a heartbroken
arofalo goes home and downs a pint of Ben and
rry's. It didn't mention the evenings she spent at
rome in front of the tube, away from the gym.
The movie did show Garofalo's love interest -
dashing young photographer with decent looks,
British accent and adequate taste in clothes. No
lacker, Garofalo's would-be beau had looks and
ersonality to match his brains and heart. No won-
er Garofalo wasn't the only woman at his door.
t the movie largely ignores how Garofalo's
wve interest met her standards. Even before she
peaks with him in depth, she finds him attractive.
n the rush to analyze her insecurities, the movie
losses over the fact that Garofalo has sized him
p according to her own standards - based
ntirely on looks. God only knows what she would
ave done had her Romeo looked like a slob.
Men can complain about unrealistic standards
f beauty, too. But ultimately - witty, one-sided
Les aside - that isn't the point. It's only fair
men and women to ask the opposite sex to look
tractive. Smarts and wit don't always get the
illing they deserve. But you can't expect some-
ne to look inside unless you try to invite them in.
- Tony Ghecea can be reached over
e-mil atadghecea@umich.edu.

"If you ask students If 'in loco parentis' exists, they'll say,
'Hell no."'
-- University President James Duderstadt, in discussing the relationship between the
University and the Office of Greek Life
i ff


American consumers
should be concerned
with oil companies'
The American people are very angry at the
large increases in gasoline prices. As bad as is
price gouging by the large oil companies, itsis
far from their worst actions.
Shell and other oil companies support the
brutal dictatorship of Sani Abacha in Nigeria,
which executed playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa,
and many other activists. Shell has caused ter-
rible environmental devastation in the home-
land of the Ogoni people, sometimes running
pipelines right through peoples' yards.
Unocal and others support the brutal military

dictatorship in Burma.
Phillips, Texaco, Shell and many other oil
companies have long been involved in
Indonesia and support the regime of Suharto,
which slaughtered a million of its own people
in 1965, and in 1975 invaded East Timor,
killing 200,000 East Timorese and imprison-
ing thousands of others. It placed women and
children in concentration camps where they
often died of starvation. This atrocity is still
occurring and the oil companies are over there
exploring for oil in the Timor gap between
Australia and East Timor.
These are the real crimes of oil companies!
Price gouging of American consumers is of
small consequence in comparison.

A Midwestern
square comes home
I've been a fortunate liipup so far this sum-
mer This month I've spent time in the rolling
sands of the desert. I've been 9,000 feet off the
ground in the mountains of
California. And I've sat on a
deserted beach on the
Pacific Ocean at two in the
morning under a star-speck-
led sky and a dipping
orange moon. Then I came
home to Michigan to over-
cast drizzly unseasonably -
cold skies. It was cold.
Typical Midwestern sum-
mer. Beautiful. Absolutely
beautiful. DEAN
You can knock the BAKOPOULOS
weather here. You can
knock the people here. You can knock the small
town provinciality and stare-at-the-walls bore-
dom here. But I like it. I dig the Midwest and
I'm glad to be back.
I think I'll be a Midwesterner my whole life.
True, some of the places I've been see the sun
year-round. People there don't own down parkas
and snow boots, and they don't worry about
frozen fuel lines and pipes in the winter. But
they also don't have seasons.
There's something about the faint whisper of
autumn, in golds and oranges and reds, that
makes the midwest sparkle with as much won-
der as an ocean coastline. And the first snow-
fall, soft and hushed, is as breathtaking as a
mountain summit. And the deep red sunsets of
the first warm spring evenings are as pensive
and moody as a rolling expanse of desert sky.
The changing seasons reaffirm a world of order
and cycles and continuity, a world often lost in
the hectic chaos of everyday life; something
about the Midwest fills me with optimism.
There's a second reason why I feel I'll be a
Midwesterner all my life. I'm a square. And let's
face it, Midwesterners have the reputation of
being some of the squarest folks in the world. In
California, I saw sushi bars and surfboards and
sunbathers, and at night I heard nightclubs full of
thumping and bumping. It just didn't appeal to
me. Give me a polish sausage with sauerkraut
over sushi any day! Give me lily-white skin with
a wee bit of softness over buff and bronzed bod-
ies. Give me people who still get giddy over
things like the first robin of spring and Strawberry
Quik. Give me Bob Seger and John Mellencamp!
I don't know what it is about the Midwest, but
every time I leave it, I'm always glad to come
back. I think maybe it's because the Midwest is
still a place where tradition means something.
I'm not talking about neo-conservative nuthead
tradition, I'm talking about personal little rituals
that add a sense of stability to life. I'm thinking
of taking kids to the cider mill come autumn.
I'm thinking of bleacher seats that smell like
beer and hot dogs. I'm thinking of hardware
stores where old men sit in flannel shirts and
talk about home improvement projects they'll
never do. I'm thinking of snowmen and jumping
in piles of leaves and company softball games.
Maybe I am banging a Mom and Apple Pie
kind of drum, which is hard to believe because
election years usually fill me with cynicism and
contempt. Or maybe I'm becoming a nostalgic
old man at the ripe old age of 21. Whatever the
case may be, the Big Apples and Gay Parises
and Sunset Boulevards of the world are still lur-
ing places to visit, no doubt about that. But let
me come home to the Midwest, where the
weather shifts and squares are always welcome.
And make sure I get back in time for my
bowling night.
-Dean Bakopoulos can be reached
via email at deanc@umichedu.


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