Saturday, September 23, 2006

This Week's Recommended Reading #19

From Ash:

Well, the list isn't as fun as last week. And, save for an LAT piece on immigration, there's not much terrific writing that caught my eye this week. But there are some issues that are worth noting.


You've probably heard this already, but Princeton's following Harvard's lead, and ditching early admission. The New York Times's got a story – including what other colleges are also considering the issue.

The New York Times (and others) are covering a "searing" report by the Department of Education's Inspector General, on Ed's manipulation of a grants program, with efforts to steer states to particular publishers and crush opponents.

The Washington Post has a piece about how especially poorer schools are labeling classes as honors curricula, but that students in these classes aren't really carrying that load at all. I've often heard how level of difficulty is lessened in schools in depressed areas, so that by itself isn't new – but this particular focus on honors work adds color to the problem.

And at the exact opposite, I guess, is the Post's other piece, about a guy who finished so many AP classes, and took such a full load, that he finished a college degree in a year. I'm not really sure how I feel about that one.

Does Having Gay Sex Mean You're Gay?

ABC News ran a report on a New York Health Department survey, that's is a very good illustration of something that researchers have been debating for years: how much gay sex do you have before you say "I'm gay?" Apparently a lot, since ten percent of "straight men" surveyed said they'd had sex with a man within the previous year.


The Los Angeles Times has an interesting report on how immigration has utterly transformed a town – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Frighteningly Thin Models – A Short Rant

Okay, normally, I would ignore this, but this NYT piece on the debate over thin fashion models is worth checking out. Track the unbelievable hypocrisy of the interview subjects during the article. For example, an Allure editor says that it's alarming to be able to count the bones of the models' rib cages, but then, a few paragraphs later, she says deciding when someone is too thin is "tricky." The same editor said a few of the models during fashion week were so thin, that when they appeared on the runway, the audience was audibly gasping. I'm thinking that if she's alarmed, or an entire room of people react in horror, then it's not really "tricky" at all. Only one of those interviewed accepted any blame or responsibility for the anoretic industry; everyone else just pointed fingers at each other.

Don't get me wrong – I'm very sympathetic to the models – but I've got no sympathy whatsoever for those who profit from all this, at the direct expense of the models, and indirect cost to women who believe their body image suffers by comparison. Even more problematic: having such women celebrated on the catwalk as beauties sure makes it harder for those with have an eating disorder to get help.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Two comments:

1) thanks for the link to the Washington Post article about AP classes. I was able to read the article. Looks like the reporter tried to present a balanced article about both sides of the AP class issue. From my personal view, I attended a "ghetto" school and we had many AP classes taught by qualified teachers. I was fortunate to take AP classes, which were competitive and difficult to get into. At my school (that was in the 1980s), if you wanted to take AP English, you had to get an A in honors English before advancing to AP English. And before you could take honors English, you had to get an A in regular English classes. The AP classes were supposed to be the equivalent of first year college courses. When my friends graduated from high school with B in AP Physics for example, they were surprised to get an A in their physics classes at a four year college. So I believe that AP classes at my high school did prepare us for college very well.

2) Regarding the NYT article about thin models, I believe that trends change every season. For a while, it looked like curves was in. I used to be a model myself as a pre-teen until I developed and then I moved on to other things like sports and getting good grades in my college prep classes. Some people would rant about the fashion industry but I feel that my early exposure to modeling helped me in an unexpected way: despite becoming 13 when the media says women start to lose self-esteem, my self-esteem went up because I knew that there were many things that I could do. I agree that the distorted media can give young women the wrong idea about eating habits.

In California right now, there is a big ad blitz about eating right 5 times a day - eating vegetables and fruit.

I am only speaking from my personal experiences.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Hari said...

Speaking of increasingly thin waist lines reminds me of a documentary / feature I saw on discovery.

It showed a clipping of a very very Skinny model walking down the ramp, and then already bare minimal skirt slips down.

Then the commentator quips ,
these models are so Skinny that their waists are so thin that they don't even have enough flesh to hold a skirt up.

Thankfuly for me Indian women are not that Slim crazy as yet:-)

11:17 PM  

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