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October 03, 1995 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-10-03

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, October 3, 1995

cuje iriguotn ?Ouilg

JEAN TWENGE

THE ERASABLE PEN

420 Maynard
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited andmanaged by
students at the -
University of Michigan

MICHAEL ROSENBERG
Editor in Chief
JULIE BECKER
JAMES M. NASH
Editorial Page Editors

Want to be Mivs Amenca?
Learn to builda sandcastle

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of a majority of the Daily's editorial board. All
other articles, letters, and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
Dollars and nonsense
Atale oft2 MSA budgets - no, make that 3

s budget battles go, this was supposed
to be Waterloo. The Michigan Student
Assembly's two dominant parties - one
stinging from the defection of a prominent
member - were set to square off last Tues-
day night over the student government's
annual budget, a document that reflects some
deep and intractable differences between the
parties. But this battle was not to be. As the
Michigan Party and the Students' Party pre-
pared to face off, a supposedly neutral execu-
tive stepped in with a "compromise" budget
-turning the budget meeting into a full
three-ring circus.
At the end of the night, the assembly
voted 21-12 in favor of the original budget
proposal drafted by the Michigan Party ex-
ecutives -- MSA President Flint Wainess
and Vice President Sam Goodstein - and
Budget Priorities Committee Chair Remco
Van Eeuwijk, a Students' Party member.
Assembly members left the proposal virtu-
ally untouched. Approval of the executive
budget followed some four hours of squab-
bling over two rival budget drafts, which
played to the political disharmony in MSA
more than to an intelligent debate over the
assembly's priorities.
In fact, that debate had already happened
among Wainess, Goodstein and Van Eeuwijk.
According to the MSA compiled code, the
president, vice president, treasurer and Bud-
get Priorities Committee chair are respon-
sible for writing an annual budget and pre-
senting it to the whole assembly for a vote. If
a majority of the assembly is unhappy with
the budget, it goes back to the drafters for
amendments. The two alternative budgets

made a mockery of this process.
The Students' Party budget did have its
merits, such as a reduction in MSA's oper-
ating expenses balanced by an increase in
funding for the Ann Arbor Tenants Union.
But the alternative seemed hastily written,
reflecting the ideals of a few Students'
Party members - such as a massive re-
duction in payroll and $13,500 for a vague
"student leader scholarship" - and not the
realities of the student government.
Van Eeuwijk presented his "compro-
mise budget" - incorporating ideas from
both party budgets - at the assembly's
Tuesday night meeting. While this was a
valiant attempt to bridge the differences
between the budget plans, it only added to
the confusion. Van Eeuwijk had already
signed off on the executive budget, so for
him to renounce his support and create an
entirely new budget could only destabilize
the budget process, not resolve differences
between the parties. Following the rejec-
tion of his compromise, Van Eeuwijk an-
nounced his resignation from the assem-
bly, expressing disgust with the politics of
the budget debate that he had helped fuel.
He later agreed to stay on an interim basis.
The ultimate misfortune of the budget
debacle is that by the time both alternative
budgets were voted down, few assembly
members were in the mood to debate the
executive budget - effectively squelch-
ing important and substantive debate. The
next Budget Priorities Committee chair
would serve the assembly better by work-
ing within the process instead of trying to
circumvent it.

T he vote last month was carefully
watched. Television news highlighted
the decision, straw polls predicted the re-
sults, and commentators debated about its
impact. In the end, there was no need for
concern: The Miss America swimsuit com-
petition was safe, supported by an over-
whelming viewer vote of 4 to 1.
Now 75 years old, the Miss America
pageant has become an unshakable icon of
pop culture, an event watched with emotions
ranging from dreamy fantasizing to morbid
fascination to feminist outrage. The emo-
tions are not unusual, for the pageant itself
suffers from an identity crisis, not sure what
it really represents.
As a young girl, I caught the pageant bug
from my mother, who would watch Miss
America, Miss USA, Miss Universe and the
other competitions with a bowl of popcorn
on her lap. I was fascinated by the beautiful
ladies in their ball gowns, interested in where
they came from, wowed by the dance rou-
tines. When I was 6 and slightly scarred my
knee in a quite spectacular fall from a bike,
I remember my mother saying, "Well, that
just means you'll never be Miss America."
She was probably joking, but I remember
feeling more than a little disappointed. Later,
after I learned the word "objectification," I
wasn't disappointed anymore, but the feel-
ing of my own inadequacy stayed with me.
Eighteen years later, beauty pageants
now walk the line between old-fashioned
debutante values and the world of new op-
portunities for women. Many pageants bill
themselves as "scholarship competitions,"
giving away money for education along with

the obligatory car, crown and fur coat. Sug-
gesting an end to the swimsuit competition
followed this recent line of modernization;
without it, supposedly, the competition
would emphasize character, community ser-
vice and wholesome good looks instead of
the strip-show of women in swimwear.
Yeah, right. The truth is that Miss
America, like all of the other "competi-
tions," is a beauty pageant: not a scholarship
competition, not a judgment of character
and not a political election. It sells a care-
fully packaged version of young American
womanhood, a version with exacting re-
quirements.
Becoming a Beauty Queen, a book writ-
ten by a former Miss USA and a former Miss
Minnesota, provides a unique look into this
paradoxical world. First, they run down the
rules for participating in any local, state or
national beauty pageant: A woman must not
be married or divorced, she must not have
any children, and (I found this especially
intriguing) she must never have had an abor-
tion. (Fortunately, they stop short of sug-
gesting outright that she must be a virgin.)
Miss USA 1957, for example, was decrowned
after the pageant judges discovered she had
been married twice and had two children.
Dating is not even allowed during the
pageant period, and the authors advise con-
testants to "avoid having photographs taken
with anyone's arm around you (it could be
misconstrued as a public display of affec-
tion). Finally, never be photographed kiss-
ing anyone, even on the cheek." Vanessa
Williams, Miss America 1984, obviously
ignored this rule; she was forced to resign

her crown after nude pictures of her ap-
peared in Penthouse magazine. The pag-
eants sell an intriguing paradox: beautiful
women judged on their sex appeal who must
nevertheless be innocent of their own sexu-
ality. The marriage requirement is espe-
cially telling: More than anything else, the
contestants must be seen as available.
Most distressing are the so-called "teen
pageants" where contestants get their start.
Pageant promoters are careful to make these
competitions "wholesome" despite their
obvious emphasis on girls' bodies. The Miss
Teen USA competition broadcast, say the
authors ofBecoming a Beauty Queen, shows
contestants "involved in various youthful
activities, such as building sandcastles."
Miss America and her companion beauty
pageants may seek to portray a wholesome
vision of young womanhood, but the truth is
that this vision is driven by sexuality -
whether they acknowledge it or not. Miss
America is all about being desirable: beauti-
ful, thin, intelligent (but not too intelligent),
available and nubile. The vote in favor of the
swimsuit competition is no surprise: How
can you judge beauty without getting a look
at the goods?
In the end, I'm glad I gave up my fasci-
nation with beauty pageants and pursued
other means of paying for my college educa-
tion. Besides, it's not just a slight scar that
disqualifies me anymore: By next year, at
25, I'll be too old to compete in any of the
major beauty pageants.
- Jean Twenge can be reached over e-
mail atjeant@umich.edu.

1 ~

MATT WIMSATT

MOOKIE'S DILEMMA

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NOTABLE QUOTABLE
'Larry Deitch is
lying. He is one of
the major
problems on the
board, as people
will see become
evident as more
information comes
out.'
- John Truscott, spokes-
man for Gov. John .Engler,
on the Democratic regent's~
alleged involvement in
University President James
J. Duderstadt's resignation

. SL

Segregation, 1995-style
Busing for diversity still has a place n schools

A s American race relations weather
an affirmative action backlash and con-
flicting visions of a multicultural society,
conservative politicians across the country
are proposing to abolish federal orders to
integrate the nation's schools. America can-
not afford to return to a state of de facto
segregation. The societal value of learning to
work together at a young age and the educa-
tional benefits children receive from study-
ing among a diverse student body cannot be
sacrificed at a time when race relations and
educational standards are deteriorating faster
every day.
In the last year, controversies over man-
datory busing to balance the proportion of
minorities in public schools have sprung up
in cities across the country. In Pennsylvania,
two state representatives, with the support of
Pittsburgh Mayor Thomas Murphy, have in-
troduced a bill to the state legislature that
would end required busing to achieve deseg-
regation. In Arizona, conservative Gov. Fife
Symington is working to release state school
districts from federal court busing orders.
The old debate over the wisdom of busing
has been renewed in part because of the
recent conservative sweep to power and be-
cause of a series of Supreme Court decisions
that have made it easier for districts to evade
responsibility for integrating their schools.
Those who favor eliminating busing pro-
grams maintain that the programs have little
grassroots support and that even many mi-
norities are unsure whether busing is in their
best interest.
There is some truth to this point: It is both
expensive and inconvenient to bus students
How TO CONTACT THEM

across the city to go to school. One can also
make an argument that separate is not "inher-
ently unequal" as was stated by the Supreme
Court in Brown vs. Board of Education. Ad-
vocates of this position claim that if the
districts were funded equally and good teach-
ers were hired, there is no reason an all-black
school could not be as successful as an all-
white school. Supreme Court Justice Clarence
Thomas has even claimed that it might be
advantageous to blacks to study in segre-
gated schools.
This position is misguided. While well-
funded, well-staffed all-black schools could
certainly function as well as all-white ones, it
is difficult to overstate the educational and
societal value of maintaining a diverse stu-
dent body for both whites and minorities. For
a student trying to understand the world,
whether it be a history, English or govern-
ment class, perspective is a necessary educa-
tional tool. To truly comprehend the prac-
tices, literature and idiosyncrasies of one
culture, a student must be familiar with those
of another. There is no better way for a child'
to learn about other cultures than by interact-
ing with children from diverse backgrounds.
Finally, and most important, even if there
were no educational advantage to integrated
schools, America's children growing up in a
multiracial and multiethnic country need to
learn to be more accepting of difference. The
benefits of integration, such as increased
tolerance, only materialize after many years.
It is the responsibility of elected representa-
tives not to be shortsighted when deciding
the fate of important legislation. It is not yet
time to give up on mandatory busing.

LETTERS

Women are a
true majority
To the Daily:
I completely agree with Judith
Kafka and her sentiments about
women's issues in her column
("Women's issues aren't one-di-
mensional," 9/26/95). When one
labels a column a "women's is-
sues" column, one is dismissing
the importance of what the col-
umnist is saying and is implying
that issues that affect women are
not important to society as a
whole. When a woman does
something sensational and an-
other woman writes about it, that
column is labeled a "women' s
issues" column. However, if a
man did the same thing and some-
one wrote about it, it would be
business as usual.
Judith also raised the issue of
Congress labeling women a "spe-
cial interest group." Don't they
see the irony in labeling a group
that consists of more than half the
population a special interest?
What we are is the majority. The
Republicans in Congress experi-
ence glee in referring to them-
selves as "The Majority"; if the
minority of Democrats in Con-
gress labeled the Republicans a
special interest, perhaps then they
would see the absurdity of label-
ing women as such. There is a
need to rid our minds of the ex-
treme dichotomy of "men" and
"women" and reach a middle
ground as "people"; specifically,
people who care about the greater
good of others and don't try to
take rights (i.e. reproductive
rights) away from others. Per-
haps that's idealistic, but I don't
think we should settle for any-

that job. When she fell, literally
and figuratively, it was interpreted
as the inability of women in gen-
eral, not the fall of one woman
who perhaps was just not ready to
take on such a task.
I completely support Judith
Kafka in writing about "women's
issues." Judith, keep on writing
about the things you feel are im-
portant to you and other women.
Not everyone is going to say so,
but I'm sure that more people
than you know will appreciate it.

Karl Tervo
LSA sophomore
Code is only
symptom

a

To the Daily:
The "code" is only a smidgen
of the University's problems.
The non-academic code of
conduct, sired by the regents sev-
eral years ago, is under revision
due to heavy criticism. However,
the "code" betokens a greater
problem at this University: the
undervaluation of students (un-
dergraduates especially). Why do
the regents and the administra-
tion feel the need to control the
conduct of fully capable adults?
Why are we, the students, viewed
as incapable of maintaining be-
havior within the jurisdiction of
everyday law? The answer is
simple.
It's all a matter of "image."
The University wants to maintain
a pristine portrait of itself and to
do that it has to make sure that
there are no unruly students run-
ning around. The construction
sites around campus are testa-
ment to this. The armlifts, cranes

example. Why do you think there
is such an emphasis on research
insteadofteaching? Research gets
the grants.
Unfortunately, enriching stu-
dents' minds doesn't. It's pathetic
that the University has devoted
itself singlemindedly to the
former. "Yes! more money, so
that we could have a 1:1 faculty-
administration ratio!" exclaims a
gleeful administrator.
Universities are institutions of
higher learning but here, it is an
institution of higher earning.
Given that this place is so re-
search-oriented and dedicated to
the "truth" (epistemological ar-
guments aside), why does it feel
the need to fabricate such a shal-
low image of itself?
Sometimes, this stuff is an
outright lie. I once picked up a
copy of "The University Record"
with a headline that said some-
thing to the effect of"The Shapiro
Library is indicative of the U's
dedication to undergraduates."
The last time I checked, the
library's benefits extend to ev-
eryone, not just to undergradu-
ates. Obviously, it was another
attempt from the administration
to show itself as "undergraduate
oriented," which by numerous
examples, it is not.
There are more instances, such
as the University's attempts to
stop Hash Bash and Duderstadt's
expulsion of Jake Baker. Never-
theless, the point is clear. We as
students are among the bottom
rung in the totem pole of impor-
tance within our community. In
order for the University to hold
the honorary title as an educa-
tional institution, our status in
this community must change. A
large number of reforms is due

help break yet another barrier of
sexism. However, it seemed that
she was more intent on creating
publicity, than anything produc-
tive. At the risk of being sexist, I
just have to say that Shannon
Faulkner is a fat pig. Look at her.
She's overweight, and totally de-
void of any muscle. Apparently
the only thing she did during that
legal battle was eat her daily regi-
men of a box of Twinkies. Does
anyone in the world realistically
believe that Shannon Faulkner
dropped out because of the emo-
tional stress that had been placed
on her? I don't think so, and I
hope no one else does either.
Jimmy Wan
LSA junior
Daily ignores
N. Campus
To the Daily:
Your article today noted con-
struction in Angell Hall. ("Angell
Hall construction disturbs stu-
dents, faculty," 9/25/95). Now I
want to hear you guys give equal
time to the crap going on on North
Campus. News flash for Daily
editors: North Campus is where
Engineering, Art, Architecture
and Music students study. You
have to take a BUS to get there!
You think Angell Hall is bad?
Try waiting a half-hour in the
cold for a bus, walking to class
through muddy fields, or going
through two or three different
buildings before you can find an
open computer or a place to study.
Construction is months behind
schedule, the staff parking lots
are half-empty and the visitor lots
and commuter lots are overflow-

Sen. Carl Levin (D)

Sen. Spencer Abraham (R)

I

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