January 20, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 60  

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Come get us, ladies

Re: “Women need to end the chase,” Jan. 15, 2004

To the Editor:
I wish to respond to Julie Meehan’s letter that somehow encourages women not to seek out men, while at the same time not to wait for men like bait in a “mousetrap.” Her mixed messages aside, I wish to express my support for those relationships characterized by “a wily attempt on the part of the female to catch a man.”

Not all men are hunters — in fact, I would argue that a small minority actually engage in the so-called hunting activity. I think the misconception that all guys are aggressive chick-getting machines is widespread and false. In fact, most guys are shy and that image only serves to further impinge on their ability to meet and “pick up” girls.

Because there exists this expectation of men to be the initiator, for those guys (myself included) who prefer the passive approach to meeting girls, our chances are greatly reduced. Thanks in large part to attitudes like that of Julie Meehan, the women who are actually comfortable with approaching a guy who catches their attention are criticized for not playing into society’s role expectations.

In the modern, 21st century world where the genders are supposed to be striving for equality, why can’t some women be aggressive? It only makes sense when there are guys like me, waiting like bait in a trap.

Rob Hepburn
Political Science II

Who ya gonna call?

To the Editor:
While I don’t have a problem with the relocation of the social science Copy Centre, my issues mainly revolve around the fact that these lovely copy machines (still located in the bowels of the Social Science Centre’s lower level) are not break-proof. There is a sign on the wall that gives the phone number a student can call with their complaints, but where are the phones located?

Someone should have installed a Direct-Line phone to the maintenance guys so that a broken machine can be reported as quickly as possible without a student losing their place in line.

Val Cee
Arts/Social Science IV


To the Editor:
There is rarely any graffiti to be found on tables and desks in the Central Public Library, while these surfaces in the D.B. Weldon Library are festooned with a hideous mess of scribbles. Do the graffiti-scribblers know that the cleaning staff spends days cleaning off this mess, only to see it quickly reappear? Graffiti scrawled with felt-tip ink markers can now be found and this ink is difficult and expensive to remove. Weldon is thus taking on a sleazy appearance.

C.H. Addington
Western Alumnus

Review irks Switchfoot fans

Re: Switchfoot CD review, Jan. 14, 2004

To the Editor:
I feel that the reputation of a decent band has been tarnished because nobody was willing to dig on a deeper level and figure out the real meaning behind Switchfoot’s music. Why is it that only music focusing on sex, self-glorification, drugs, love and death are the only acceptable topics in today’s music industry? Why is a message of hope and the understanding of a greater purpose in life so intimidating? Why does the idea of God scare people?

I respect your opinion about the band and perhaps they are not your style of music, but since when have cleaner lyrics and deeper messages been an indication of bad music or self-righteousness? I really respect Switchfoot and the direction they have taken with their music. They approach their music with humility, a trait not commonly found in musicians today. We were meant to live for so much more…

Julie Rains
French II

To the Editor:
Does anybody in the A&E department at The Gazette actually like music anymore? It seems to me that they have a cut-and-dried policy when it comes to reviewing rock CDs: if the band’s name begins with “The,” they look like they’ve worn the same clothes for the past four years, and they are either British or try to sound British, then they automatically get three stars or higher and a glowing review.

But if a band doesn’t conform to those standards, they’re labelled (ironically) as unoriginal and subjected to two-and-a-half stars or less, not to mention the lambasting they get if anybody proceeds to read the review.

Case in point: The review of “The Beautiful Letdown” by Switchfoot in the Jan. 14 edition of The Gazette. Now I haven’t really bought many pop-rock CDs since about 1997 when every other song on the radio was by Collective Soul or Our Lady Peace and Oasis’ North American popularity was at its pinnacle. But this CD is a flat-out masterpiece. I’ll admit, the first time I heard it, I thought every song past the second track was a little on the bland side, but whatever happened to the theory that good music requires more than one good listen?

From the outset, the reviewer doesn’t hide her distaste for pop-rock, and I’m OK with that. The real question is, if you don’t like a particular sub-genre of music, why are you listening to it, much less reviewing it?

Mike Morton
Computer Science II

USC not very charitable

Re: “Underaged students won’t get Charity for annual Ball,” Jan. 13, 2004

To the Editor:
More underage students are on campus than ever before due to the double cohort. People seem to forget that 18-year-olds aren’t the only underage students; there are 17, 16 and even 15-year-olds as well. With so many underage, the 19+ regulation is discriminatory against many more students than it would’ve been in years past.

The “[students in first year now] have got four years” argument doesn’t justify the banning of underage students. The 15-year-olds, for example, won’t even be 19 by the time they graduate.

“[Making] it a dry event wouldn’t make it fair... ”? What happened to supporting charities? Many underage students helped charities during O-Week and throughout the year, without needing alcoholic incentive. If people wanted to drink, they could find better ways for $35 and without the hassle of Charity Ball. Making the Ball a wet event is also unjust to many students.

Students using fake IDs won’t prevent underage drinking. The London Convention Centre will still be liable, so this regulation doesn’t protect the LCC at all. A system to identify underage students would facilitate the prevention of underage drinking more than restricting admission to those over the age of 19.

The Ball is University Students’ Council-sponsored, and shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against any group of students. Underage students paid student fees like everyone else, so why should our money go towards something we can’t attend? If a club or organization refused people based on ethnicity or religion, it wouldn’t be allowed and the club would lose USC support. Ageism, however, is permitted? If the Charity Ball isn’t open to all students, they shouldn’t receive funding from the USC, whose motto is to improve the lives of all undergraduate students.

Each year, more underage students will come to Western. What will future planners do when the LCC says no?

Rebecca Waldie
Visual Arts I

The 8 a.m. quiet riot

To the Editor:
I arrive at 8 a.m. at the University Community Centre, and stay there for an hour before my day starts. It is very quiet, sitting at the windows on those comfy (but rather old and stained) couches. People are either sleeping, studying or staring out the window; either way enjoying their quiet time before a busy day.

Now to my point. Breaking this silence are the people working [Williams] (the work of capitalism over the summer). They fail to realize the quietness and relaxing area just outside their door with their loud voices and banging of random things.

Please have some respect for those trying to relax with some quiet time. I know there is no sign like the libraries, but a little politeness can go a long way.

A.D. Colgan
Biochemistry/Chemistry II

Re: “French say ‘au revoir’ to hijabs,” Jan. 19, 2004

On the hijab

To the Editor:
I read Raghad Ebied’s letter about the hijab with interest, since, like many, France’s new law banning religious symbols in schools strikes me as being aimed primarily at Muslims. However, his defense of the hijab raised more questions than it answered. He writes that “the hijab is an essential part of Muslim faith and is an honour bestowed on Muslim women by God” and that it is “as a mechanism of female empowerment.”

But there are Moslems and Moslem scholars who point out that there is nothing in the Koran which requires the hijab, or burqua or chador. Rather they point out these types of clothing are an Arab tradition which existed before the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. If this is correct, then the hijab was not bestowed by God but by human custom. Many have argued that it is therefore not essential to Islam, and many Moslem women do not wear the hijab. Are they therefore unempowered? Or are they empowered, and demonstrate this by being able to distinguish between custom and religious devotion?

I’m sure Ebied also realizes that the legal enforcement of the hijab by several states (Iran or Saudi Arabia) make what he sees as a symbol of empowerment ambiguous. It may be intended as an symbol of one’s devotion, but since it is forced on women, it cannot be symbolic of empowerment in Iran or Saudi Arabia, though it might well be so here in Canada.

Similarly, the enforcement of religious dress in those states makes it impossible for one to distinguish between devotion and subjection. Is it possible then that an empowered and devout Moslem woman in Iran would reject the hijab, where an empowered and devout Moslem woman in Canada would wear it? In both cases, that woman would be taking action against the main trend of the society in which she lived.

Andy Patton
Visual Arts

Wanted: a USC prez

To the Editor:
Posters around campus indicate that the University Students’ Council’s presidential elections are coming soon. I want to vote for a morally solid candidate who is, among other things: pro-life, pro-faith, pro-environmentalism, pro-volunteerism, anti-peer-to-peer-file-sharing, anti-pornography, anti-contraception and an orthodox leader who will support a smoke-free campus.

Other qualities I seek in an ideal leader include being willing to encourage individual student class projects to improve this campus, support the Multi-Faith Council which the Western administration has taken on, commit to getting more international students involved in extracurricular activities and start reforming the USC by making it more inclusive and more open to students’ needs, both inside and outside of USC meetings.

If you meet these criteria and have the courage required, I strongly encourage you to run for USC president.

Myron Belej
Geography IV
USC Presidential Candidate 2003

[Ed. note: The Gazette will support the candidate with the exact opposite of these criteria].

Height is not intimidating, guys

Re: “Confessions of an Amazon,” Jan. 9, 2004

To the Editor:
Who knew there were girls over 5’6” attending Western? When picking a soph name, I was given no choice: at 6’1” your nickname is always Amazon. Not that I mind. However, it is pure coincidence I’m an equalist, enjoy beating boys and have issues with my breasts.

Lori Mastronardi was right about most things: not all of us play basketball and not all of us model. Stilettos, pounds of make up and painted-on-pants are not my thing — I know, now you’re all thinking: “What IS she doing at Western?”

Also, when your inseam measures 38 inches, pants that are long enough are also wide enough for you and your entire freshman floor to wear together. I’m tall, not a sumo wrestler. There is only one store that caters to my size without expecting me to closely resemble Shamu. To add insult to injury, I have to shop alone, since the vast majority of my friends measure in at a perfectly normal 5’5”.

My last rant? Boys. Apparently, tall girls are intimidating. Or maybe I’m just a hideous land beast looking for an excuse. Until proven otherwise, I’m holding steadfast to the intimidation factor. If the fact that a girl is taller than you makes you feel like less of a man, perhaps you should check the front of your pants to make sure it’s still attached. Granted, I tend to go for taller guys. That has a lot to do with a weird inferiority complex an old flame developed, all over being two inches shorter. Now, I realize this is a phase. Creepy, old, short men have no problems approaching me in bars, but sadly, they’re old and creepy.

If you take nothing else away from this letter, please, just give us tall girls a chance.

Sandy ‘Amazon’ Brunton
Anthropology III



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