Thursday, March 27, 2014

Field of Dreams: Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance

By Samantha BorawSki
March 15 marked the 14th Annual Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance, which helps benefit members of the Saint Mary’s community. This year’s ben- eficiary was Jason Richter, who worked at Saint Mary’s University from 1998 to 2010 in Student Activities. He was among the group that originally created the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance in 2001.

Last summer, Richter was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which is a blood disease that is cancer of the plasma cells. Richter has undergone 10 radiation sessions and recent bone and stem cell transplants. Jason is now in remission but is still undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

Richter’s love for baseball was the inspiration behind the theme for this year, Field of Dreams.

“The dance went very well this year,” said Abbie Zuzek, the leader and head of the Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance Committee this year. “I was very blessed with such a hard working committee that made the planning process for both the dance and the auction go smoothly.” The other part of the dance, the annual silent auction also helped raise money for the Richter family.
Chair of the silent auction, Hannah Friedrich said, “The silent auc- tion was a success! We had so many great items and so many people from the community came to bid on the items.”

The dance and silent auction combined this year raised more than $14,000. All the proceeds will help the Richter family with medical and travel expenses that have amounted due to treatment. “Jason was very deserving of the love and support that was shown to him that weekend, and it makes me proud to be a part of such a strong community like SMU, when I can see that support in action,” said Zuzek. 

The Taylor Richmond Benefit Dance began in 2001 in honor of Tate Rich- mond, the son of SMU staff member Nikki Richmond, who passed away last October. 

Zuzek said, “It was amazing to see all of the support that came from all around. The support was for both Nikki and Tate, as well as for Jason. All three of them have made huge differences and are so loved among this com- munity at Saint Mary’s.”

High school science fair brings young minds to SMU for presentations

by PAul scHMitt

Full of an interest in science, 142 students from area middle and high schools participated in the Southeastern Minnesota, Western Wiscon- sin Regional Science and Engineering Fair held in Saint Mary’s Univer- sity’s Gostomski Fieldhouse on Friday, Feb. 28.
Boasting students from all age ranges and interests, the fair was judged by SMU science department students and faculty, as well as mem- bers of the local science and engineering contingent. Projects ranged from research of light pollution in area cities, to the most effective type of end- ing for a short story, to experimenting with the efficiency of geothermal heat pumps. Many of the projects had important real world consequence even for the local area, such as the research of Emerald Thompson-Jerec- zek, from Fountain City, WI, which was concerned with emissions from the Alma power plant in Wisconsin.

Awards were presented the same evening. Winning the fair and advancing to the International Science and Engineering Fair in San Fran- cisco, Calif., Winona Senior High School student Lucas Derbyshire’s proj- ect was titled “Optical Activity of Saccharides.” A variety of other awards from organizations such as the Air Force, the American Psychological As- sociation, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were also given, and some students will advance to the Junior Science and Hu- manities Symposium to present the papers they wrote on their research. “For me, the science fair goes beyond the display board on the table,” said Derbyshire earlier that day. “It’s about the dedication and hard work that goes into it.”

All of the students at the fair showed exactly that dedication just in being there for the entire day, bombarded by questions from judges and spectators. As a classic hallmark of secondary education, the science fair continues to live strong.

Watt’s Up with the Solar Panel Initiative?

by enA MOAts
Cardinal Staff

As of February 21st, Saint Mary’s University Student Senate Legislative Affairs Committee has been granted permission from administration to begin fun- draising for solar panels on the Saint Mary’s campus. If anyone hasn’t got- ten the emails, seen the fundraising prog- ress poster, or heard by word of mouth about this exciting initiative already, it’s time to be- come enlightened on the solar panel subject.

Working to re- duce the university’s carbon footprint to serve as an example for the surrounding community, save energy and money to devote to other important projects, and involve students in hands on experiences with the panels and their impact on the environment, committee members, Conner Ellinghuysen, Reikel Biechler, Katie O’Leary, and Peter Hegland have made a goal to raise $20,000 by the end of the semester so that the panels can be installed over the course of the summer.

According to Ellinghuysen, this $60,000 proj- ect is being backed and partly funded by a group called the Minnesota Student Energy Project to acquire a 16.4 kW system with 40 panels. Each of these 16, 400 watts costs $3.19 to install.

That’s where students, alumni, friends, fam- ily, the Winona Community, and businesses come in: as of right now, the committee has raised $751. Ellinghuysen encour- ages help “by giving online on our givemn website, or drop of cash or check gifts to the busi- ness office under the Solar Panel Student Initiative. They can also visit our facebook page, like it, and invite others...Each gift will be recognized on our solar panel education board that will be put up to talk about the panels, and to thank all of the supporters and donors.” Hegland added that students can especially help by spreading the word via Twitter and Facebook about the “Give a Watt?” campaign. The following are websites to promote donation: http://givemn.razoo. com/story/Solar-Panel-Student-Initiative?referral_

Global issues: Awareness for Gaza

By mary norick
Cardinal Staff

How much do you know about Gaza? Could you locate it on a map? Gaza is part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories on the Mediterranean Sea. It’s not very big, slightly more than twice the size of Washington D.C., but has been subject to a lot of violent attacks in recent years. Do you re- member hearing about the “8 Days of Horror” in the news in 2012? That was located in Gaza. Gaza citizens were living in constant fear of Israeli attack for 8 days. Almost half of the deaths that resulted were innocent civilians. Gaza underwent loss of citizens as well as substantial structural damage. Gaza is also under a lot of restrictions as to what can be let in and out of the area. They have had a lot of issues especially with getting medical supplies after the “8 Days of Horror.” Citizens have been having issues as a result because they are unable to receive proper medical treatment. It is important to raise awareness for this and other areas that are living under the occupation of Israel. If you would like to find out more about Gaza and other Palestinian issues, please attend the LCT 375 Awareness Campaign on March 31st. The class will be presenting on different Palestinian Issues throughout the day in St. Mary’s Hall in order to raise awareness. Students will also be raising money for Bethlehem University, which is a fellow Lasallian institution lo- cated in Bethlehem, Palestine. It is important to learn about what is going on in Palestine and to do our part to help our fellow brothers and sisters by raising awareness.

Pro-Life speaker visits SMU

by WilsOn KubWAyO
Cardinal Staff

Over 30 students showed up with much enthusiasm to hear the Students For Life guest speaker, Michael Ottman on Tuesday, March 11. Ottman is a sophomore and a coordinator of campus ministry at Benedic- tine College.

He was born in South Korea, and was adopted by a family from Andover, Minnesota when he was just three months old. Ottman never had a chance to see his biological father or mother. “I was conceived by rape and I thought that God made me by accident,” Ottman said. When Ottman found out that he was conceived by rape, he felt hopeless, but he also real- ized that his mother had chosen life, giving him a chance to live when she could have had an abortion.

While growing up, there was nothing else Ottman wanted to do more than search for his mother in South Korea. This became a dream for Ottman, not only to see his mom, but to see his birthplace. He begged his parents to take him there and the long journey of searching for his biologi- cal mother began. When they arrived in South Korea, a Korean woman said something to Ottman in the native language, which Ottman does not speak, and she seemed disappointed that he did not understand.

“She thought of me as a stranger,” says Ottman. “I began to ask myself, ‘God, who am I? I don’t even seem to fit in with my own peo- ple!.’” Later, they heard a rumor that his biological mother did not want to see him, because, as they soon found out, he was conceived by rape. Ottman was already in pain, but this rumor was devastating. “I was really down, it definitely made me feel worthless” Ottman 

They left South Korea without ever meeting with his biological mother, and “even now, I don’t really know whether my mom exists or not,” said Ottman. But Ottman continued on to explain that he has learned how to deal with all these struggles, and said “I feel a lot of peace now, with all the struggles I had before and all the emotions, and anger.” When asked the question of what he wanted to get across to his audience, Ott- man responded, saying, “I really encourage people to respect life, because when one person is spared from abortion and gets to feel like a human be- ing, the gift of life is so much more than we can ever imagine. Appreciate life for what it is; you never know what it can bring.”

Milwaukee S.O.U.L Trip Helps Homeless Population

by enA MOAts
Cardinal Staff

As a part of the SOUL trip series over Saint Mary’s University’s spring break, a group of students traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to do what the organization name stands for-- Serving Others United in Love-- specifically serving the homeless population of the city. Krystal Souhrada, student leader of the Milwaukee trip, reported that the group spent three of their days working to prepare greenhouses for spring at an urban farm called Growing Power which focuses on sustain- ability and healthy living. The next two days, according to Souhrada, in- cluded cleaning, sorting clothes, and engaging with the homeless popu- lation at a center called Repairers of the Breach which works to serve the homeless’ needs. Evenings were spent at St. Benedict the Moor church with “the guests,” who consist of anyone in need of hot food, at a commu- nity meal that the church offers six days a week from Sunday to Friday. The church has seventy-five different sponsors that prepare the food and serve it each night.

Kiya Virgin, a sophomore at SMU, says this sharing of the meals every night was her favorite part of the trip. “It was really eye opening to see the large amount of diversity of the homeless population. I definitely didn’t anticipate meeting so many different people with so many differ- ent experiences. It was crazy to meet one of the guests on Monday, and
then have them remember my name on Friday even if I couldn’t remem- ber theirs.”

Souhrada summed up the SOUL trip and the moving feelings that went along with it by saying, “our group came up with the intention to see the truth in people and in their hearts, and I feel like this truly hap- pened for me and a lot of the other trip participants.”

Spring break in New Mexico: S.O.U.L trip

By Ena moatS
Cardinal Staff

The SOUL experience in New Mexico was different from the rest of the trips to various regions around the US in that the type of service was not as typical as it usually is. Considered more of a “justice pilgrimage,” the students along with Office of Campus Ministry Director, Chris McClead, traveled to the border of New Mexico for eight days to encounter firsthand the issues of immigration through a series of programs included in the itinerary that was set by the center in which participants stayed each night.

“The center we stayed at was really cool. It was called The Wom- en’s Intercultural Center, and it offered classes and programs to basically provide the minority community (mostly females but males as well) with services like GED acquirement and business and marketing skills. It also provided us with down time to get to know the culture,” said Ashley An- derson, a freshman who traveled to New Mexico.

According to McClead, the group was able to go on an exclusive tour with the US Border Patrol, hear about current concerns and events in a presentation given by the Undersecretariat of Foreign Relations of Mexi- co, and spend a night with host families along the US/Mexican border. This itinerary was set to provide many different perspectives and aspects of the issue of immigration from Mexico and Central America into the United States. From these perspectives came many different insights that reshaped group members views on immigration and brought new awareness to the issue.

McClead stated, “The most surprising experience I had was the compelling viewpoints provided by the US Border Patrol and corruption in Mexico. I entered the Border Patrol tour with a chip on my shoulder from previously held notions about the agency. After the tour, I was grate- ful for the commitment those men and women have to ensuring the safety of the border and societies who live near to the border. Many presenta- tions spoke about the need to eradicate corruption from the government of Mexico. I was not aware the Mexican government is seen has having close relations to powerful and dangerous cartels.”

Reflection: Montana S.O.U.L trip

by luKe Kubic
Cardinal Contributor

Over Spring Break, I went on the S.O.U.L. trip to Browning, Montana to work at the De La Salle School on the Blackfeet Indian reservation. At the school, our group worked with kids in grades 4-8, providing them with additional help in subjects that they were struggling with. At first, the kids were hesitant to open up to people that they had never met before, but they really opened up after the first day. It was a joy to get to know the kids, but it made it that much harder to say goodbye when it was time for us to leave.

When we were not working at the school, we were learning about the history of the Blackfeet or touring the city. We also got the opportu- nity to climb the Buffalo Jumps and snow-shoe through Glacier National Park. Along our three mile hike through the 31 inches of snow, our tour guides would stop periodically to teach us about the park and the animals that lived there.

Working at the school and hiking through Glacier National Park were both great experiences, but this trip would not have been the same if it hadn’t been for the group I was with. I hardly knew anyone on this trip beforehand, but now I consider everyone in our group to be a friend. Before this trip, I was skeptical about giving up my Spring Break. But after this experience, I’m 100% sure that I made the right decision! To anyone who is considering going on a S.O.U.L. trip: Do it! You won’t regret it!

Reflection: St. Louis S.O.U.L trip

by nicKy becHer
Cardinal Contributor

This past spring break I was fortunate to take part in a SOUL trip to St. Louis with an outstanding group of people. We got to know each other very well on the trip, thanks in part to the fact that our living quarters contained one bathroom for 19 people, and we shared many fun and exciting experiences.

Throughout the week we worked on one house in North St. Louis that was part of a program called the Solomon Project. The idea of this project is to renovate abandon houses and turn them into safe homes. Everyone enjoyed working on the house and seeing the progress we were making, but a highlight of the trip for many of us was the time we spent with a woman named Toni. Toni and her family currently live in a Solomon Project house and were generous enough to visit and share their story of difficulties and triumphs. Each of us took away different things from their story, but I think I can safely say that Toni and her family made an impression on all of us.

On another evening, after working on the house, we visited Christian Brothers College High School. We met some faculty and students who showed us around their beautiful school. It was nice to spend time with other students who are dedicated to fol- lowing La Salle’s mission.

Urinetown:The Musical

by enA MOAts
Cardinal Staff

This year’s student production of Greg Kotis’ Urinetown: The Musical recently opened on the Page Theater stage on Thursday, March 20 and ran through Sunday, March 23rd, bringing in a full audience each night. The show came to life on the stage through the work of director Gary Diomandes, Judy Myers as musical director, and choreographer Christine Martin, along with over 35 students in both the cast and behind the scenes.

Since the beginning of semester, the Page Theater stage has been slowly transformed into the Gotham-like, futuristic city of Urinetown by the cast and crew of this musical comedy that satirically comments on themes of capitalism, the legal system, bureaucracy, environmental sus- tainability, greed, and of course, love. The sets, constructed by Tamara L. Honesty plus assistants, lights designed by John Goblirsch, and sound run by Charlotte Deranek all contribute to the destitute setting of the city where a water-shortage has devastated the citizens who also have to survive the monopolizing company called “Urine Good Company” that controls the water supply and enforces an oppressive tax upon the only public toilets available in the town.

From this oppression rises the hero Bobby Strong played by Gabriel Verges who leads the troubled citizens to freedom from the company and its leader Caldwell B. Cladwell who was played by SMU freshman Zach Hillman. Along the way to freedom, Bobby meets and falls in love with Cladwell’s daughter, Hope Cladwell (Katie Sapper).

Actors in the show say they really worked on character development especially in this particular show where interactions with each other were essential both on stage and off, while Goblirsch played with over 200 light cues, and set crews built an entire city out of styrofoam. The students spent four hours a day for six days a week since the beginning of second semester in rehearsals, working to create Urinetown.

Because of the characters, sharp satire, musical spoofs, and memorable music in its own right, the show was one that Diomandes and Myers had “been wanting to tackle for some time now.” Surely the laughs and applause from the audience for this production were worth the wait.

ArtsAlive! LLC broadens freshman experience

by JAKOb JeHn
Cardinal Staff

Located in St. Edward’s Hall, four Living Learning Communities (LLC’s) coexist. The goal of these communities is to bring together people of similar interests and allow them to live in a space where their inter- ests in art, sports, being well in body and mind, and global religion can flourish and be influenced by the Lasallian tradition. These interests are fulfilled by activities coordinated by the Hall Director and the Resident Assistants in charge of a certain LLC.

Sydney Rudquist, a graphic design major, stated, “I really enjoy my experience, and my favorite thing was when we made Halloween cos- tumes. I liked everyone being there, and I felt like every member was at that activity.”

Michelle Cullen, the Hall Director of St. Edward’s Hall, coordi- nates all the activities. However, just because she makes and approves the activities, that doesn’t mean she does not attend them. “I really liked the ceramics day,” Michelle commented. “It was a good opportunity to utilize the ceramics room in basement of Joe’s] that they have never been in be- fore. It was a unique, out-of-class experience.”

Theatre major Jake Muzzarelli commented, “My experience has been very positive. It has allowed me to meet others who have similar in- terests, and I have really enjoyed seeing other art forms that I didn’t know much about.” Jake also explained how attending the improv group Second City earlier this year was his favorite activity because it gave him a “career goal.”

Darvell Jones had a similar response, and said “I’m really enjoying it. I really like how [the LLC’s] are mixed together and living together.” Darvell’s favorite activity that he attended was the Caravan du Nord’s con- cert series featuring the bands Southwire, Night Moves, and local mu- sician Mike Munson. “It was different, not what I expected, but a good experience as a whole.”

Book Review: “Two Boys Kissing”

by JAKOb JeHn

Told from the perspective of thousands of souls stuck in limbo that are forced to dwell amongst the living, unseen, unheard, and unfelt, this chapter-less book narrates the events of four different stories going on at the same time in the perspective of a third person omniscient narrator. Ex’s Craig and Harry are attempting to break the world record for lon- gest kiss. There’s nothing between them anymore, but this kiss ruffles the settled emotions they have about each other. 

Ryan and Avery both have colorful hair, and they also have just started seeing each other. However, a secret of Avery’s, a secret out of his control, could possibly ruin this blossoming relationship. 

Peter and Neil are a couple and have been for a little bit now. Peter’s family accepts their relationship wholeheartedly, however, Neil’s family doesn’t know what to make of it. 

Cooper is a boy who is barely holding on. He stopped feeling a while ago. This book is absolutely phenomenal and is written beautifully. What struck me as most compelling about the novel was that the narrator, or should I say narrators, refer to themselves as “We:” a collectivistic group of thousands of souls telling you a story. Their experience with death gives them wisdom beyond the comprehension of the living body, each para- graph they read is a life lesson, a plead for you to live not with fear, but love.
Levithan’s quick read is definitely a good read.

Men’s baseball season preview

By: ricHArd PAlerMO
Cardinal Staff

The Cardinals have been in game day mindset ever since returning from the spring break trip to Arizona. The trip did not turn out as hoped. Tough competition and long innings contributed to a 3-7 result. “The Ari- zona trip is a good learning experience for our team, both on the field and off,” head coach Nick Winecke said, now entering his sixth season. “From playing tough competition, we learn our strong points and our breaking points.”

A new rule change now applies for all conference doubleheader games this season. Game one will remain a seven inning game while game two will be nine innings. “I like this rule, it changes the dynamic of play both offensively and defensively” Winecke said.

Impressing the doubters was freshman outfielder from Roseville, MN, Ben Buerkle or ‘Berkdale’ as known by the team. Hitting .407 on the trip, Buerkle leads the team in runs batted in with nine. “Even though we didn’t play that well, it was a great opportunity to bond with my team- mates.” Buerkle said. “We learned what we need to improve before confer- ence starts.”

Speaking of conference, the Cardinals finished 10-10 (19-15 over- all) in the MIAC last season. This was good for fourth in the MIAC and the Cardinals earned their second consecutive playoff berth. Weather permit- ting; the Cardinals will begin MIAC play against St. Thomas at home on March 29th.

Looking at the pitchers, not one of the 14 pitchers, starter or reliev- er, is a senior. Full of potential and fearlessness can describe this pitching staff. “We have an unorthodox group,” assistant coach Pat Jacobson said of his staff. “This season brings a lot of opportunities for guys to step up and this group has the character to understand their role.” Receiving the grief and complaints from the pitchers are the catchers. After the loss of senior catcher Kyle Service, a battle began between Tommy Merkelis, Jon Schlemmer, and Tyler Lursen. Senior catcher Schlemmer, playing with 2 more years of eligibility, started the majority of the games in AZ. Senior tommy Merkelis, who is a great leader and does not include quitting in his vocabulary, will see some action behind the plate this year, and Sophomore Tyler ‘Whitey’ Lursen looks to show his defensive strengths.

Moving up to the infield one will quickly see where the core of the leadership derives. The infield hosts a senior at each position with a strong emphasis on defense. Kevin Gannon, Zach Wolfe, Taylor Thelemann, and Paul LaNasa make up the senior infielders. “The senior guys are a good group, we have been together a while and I will miss them dearly.” LaNasa said. “I will even miss having to listen to Tommy’s NASCAR rants.” The outfield is a mix of the lot. With players from all grades bringing an impact, this group has the potential for an amazing hitting performance.

Stephen Scatassa, ace of the pitching staff and middle infielder, commented on the season ahead: “We have a lot of guys who know how to get the job done, but we also have a lot of young guys. This year will be about learning from experience and putting ourselves in a position to win every game.”

Column: The climate of Division 1 student athletes

By: kEotta houSE
Sports Editor

Just as the seasons are changing from winter to spring, the cli- mates of the NCAA are changing before our very eyes and could be changed forever in the next few months.

Since the 1950s the NCAA has coined the term student athletes. Originally the term was created to prevent student athletes from receiv- ing workmen’s compensation for injuries they receive while playing or performing that sport.

In recent years many of these players have come under extreme scrutiny for taking free clothes, free tattoos, free cars, selling their au- tograph, and selling their pictures and jerseys. Players are not allowed to make a profit off of their names or their likeness because if they do receive any kind of compensation they are no longer student athletes.

This notion of student athletes, specifically Division 1 football players, not being employees is not sitting well with many people.
Kaine Colter of the Northwestern University Wildcats football program has taken his university to court along with the College Athletes Union to get this union recognized by the university. Colter, along with the union, argues that the football players basically puts in thousands of hours in the football program for traveling, playing games, studying film, and even training camp over the summer. 

According to Sports Illustrated Magazine, Colter told the court room, training camp in the summer the athletes usually work between 50 and 60 hours a week. He also told the court that the team is not allowed to take summer classes because they conflict with the camp.
“There’s just no way around football, in fact we were only ad- mitted into Northwestern University to play football and we probably wouldn’t be here otherwise” said Colter to the courtroom, according to Sports Illustrated Magazine.

This argument about the status of the role of Division 1 athletes at colleges picks up more and more steam each year. Ed O’Bannon, who is a former UCLA basketball star, filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Division 1 football and men’s basketball players. This lawsuit challenges the NCAA’s usage of current and former student athletes’ likeness and names to make a profit. O’Bannon claimed he as well as several athletes are featured in EA Sports NCAA video games while in school and long after leaving their universities. Many pundits believe O’Bannon will win his lawsuit which is a step in the right direction for cases like Colter’s.

Not everyone is for the idea of compensating players for their work on the field. Many argue that these athletes receive a “free educa- tion” and others argue these athletes receive free exposure. Some argue that both sports are male sports and because of title IX, you have to pay women athletes as well. The problem is that while a football team could make $40 million dollars, a women’s soccer team might make a couple thousand dollars. Also some critics fear that many college teams could start suing the schools to get paid and this long, winding, and slippery slope will be unleashed on the NCAA.

One thing is for sure: no matter how hard the NCAA closes their eyes and hopes these lawsuits and these talks of player compensation go away, the truth of the matter is simple--they won’t. These debates are go- ing to be here until the organization takes off their blinders and start finding a solution.

What do you think of these lawsuits and talks of compensating Division 1 football and men’s basketball players? Like us on Facebook and tell us what you think and your comments could make the next issue of The Cardinal.

Women’s basketball: Scores NCAA tourney

By kEotta houSE
Sports Editor

From the start of the 2013-2014 season until the end, the SMU Women’s Basketball team captivated the entire SMU community as they made their journey all the way to the con- ference championship and beyond.

The lady Cardinals finished the season with a record tying 24-4 season, and a berth in the NCAA Division III national tournament. To a packed gym the Cardinals defeated Bethel University to get the to the conference champi- onship game against the St. Thomas Tommies.

“Unfortunately, we lost the Champion- ship game but never once lost hope,” said junior forward Octavia Brown. “We continued to hope and pray that we would get a bid into the national tournament and fortunately because we had such an outstanding regular season, we were able to get a bid into the tournament which was incredible,” she added.

The ladies dropped the game against the Tommies, however they made it to the big tournament where the ultimately loss to the UW-Oshkosh Titans with a score of 71-61.

The Cardinals may not have won a na- tional championship, but they were able to win the admiration and support of many students, faculty, staff, and the Winona community.

“Watching these women play their hearts out night after night has inspired me to do better in my own personal life,” said junior
Andrew Lee. “I am extremely hopeful for next season and that we will continue to raise the bar,” said Brown.

However, the team is not only just losing seniors, they are also losing 2 of the team’s lead- ers in the reigning Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Court- ney Euerle, and go-to 3-point shooter Darcey Rice.

“I am sad that we will lose of the best people on the planet but I know without a doubt that you will go far in life in whatever you pur- sue, we love you both,” said Brown

Column: The Media Needs a Makeover

by AllisOn cHristensen
Cardinal Staff

Eating disorders are on the rise and although studies have shown that they are mental illnesses, not a lifestyle choice, external factors can still have an effect on people who have or are more likely to develop an eating disorder.

We construct our body image, our image of how we perceive ourselves or how we believe others perceive us, based on what we see around us. We compare our body types to the body type that is currently considered “at- tractive” or “ideal” by the media. Today, that body type is tall, skinny, and only naturally possessed by 5% of American women. Pressured to be lean and muscular, male body image dissatisfaction has risen to 43%.

The media can’t be blamed for directly causing eating disorders—there isn’t enough research to support that claim. But we can’t deny that it has an effect on people, especially young people who may not know about the misleading magic of Photoshop.
This photo was put on Target’s website to advertise a Junior’s swimsuit. Besides the fact that her left arm is grossly elongated and her left hip is ac- tually missing a chunk, even her crotch has been practically removed. This is not naturally occurring in anyone. So why tell girls in their early teens that this is how they should look in their swimsuits?

This age group is particularly affected by the media. According to An- orexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape. After a sparking controversy, the image was taken off Target’s site.

Maybe the photo editor responsible for this dangerously misleading advertisement was just trying to create the body type that is so popular today, unaware of the potential negative effects on the body image and self esteem of young girls.

So what’s Lady Gaga’s excuse? During her performance at SXSW, Gaga arranged for Millie Brown, a vomit painter, to force herself to throw up on her on stage. The pop singer has had a history of struggle with bulimia and anorexia since the age of 15. Now recovered, she, of all people, should understand how triggering it can be for someone struggling with an eating disorder to see that glamorized in the media.

A “trigger” is something that could cause a person to engage in un- healthy behavior, such as cutting, restricting calories, or throwing up.

Although undeniably part of the problem, media has the potential to be part of the solution. We are exposed to hundreds of media messages every day. Everywhere you look or listen, there is advertising: TV, radio, the In- ternet, newspapers, magazines, billboards, taxis, buses. If you can print on it or buy ad space on it—someone’s advertising on it.

If we replaced even half of the negative body image messages out there with positive ones, I believe that would make a tremendous difference on people’s body images. If we could compare ourselves to some average-sized people in the media, we wouldn’t have to construct our sense of beauty around a highly-Photoshopped, underweight model. And what a relief that would be!

We are beautiful without the media’s latest diet fads, retouching soft- ware, and cosmetic surgery. Let’s give the media a makeover for once—we don’t need them!