Author Archives: sarashea

Nature vs. Nurture: The Media’s Effect on Body Image

By Sara Shea

 

Although the media is beneficial to society, it can be detrimental to the way we perceive ourselves and those around us. Through portrayals of women in advertisements and television the media can negatively affect body image and give way to eating disorders.

An estimated 8 million Americans currently suffer from eating disorders. The “thin ideal” in American society is a driving force in body image and eating issues. The “thin ideal” is the media’s glamorized portrayal of extremely thin women. While this phenomenon primarily affects women between the ages of 18 and 25, it has also been proven to effect adolescents as well as males. A study published in the Journal of Communication found that high school girls as young as 13 are effected by the media’s portrayal of ultra-thin models and celebrities.

 

The ultra thin women depicted in the media are constantly subconsciously influencing Americans. Young girls are most prone to developing eating disorders as a result of repeated exposure to such images.

The ultra thin women depicted in the media are constantly subconsciously influencing Americans. Young girls are most prone to developing eating disorders as a result of repeated exposure to such images.

Children as well as adults imitate what they see in the media. From appearance to behavior, humans learn by doing. Therefore, if children grow up seeing thin women in advertisements, on television, and in film they accept this as reality and try to imitate their appearance and their actions. This is known as the cultivation theory. By seeing images over and over people absorb what they see and are influenced by messages in the media over time.

 

Television advertisements are a perfect example of how the media uses the cultivation theory to manipulate the public. Advertisements are repetitious; the same ad can air between television programs, before a movie, and can be printed in a magazine. If said ad depicts an attractive, thin woman, viewers are repeatedly being shown how they “should” look. This constant “thin ideal” reinforcement is largely to blame for American’s obsession with body image.

Often considered a “westernized” disease, eating disorders are rare in other parts of the world. According to pubmedcentral.nih.gov, “The prevalence of eating disorders in non-Western countries is lower than that of the Western countries but appears to be increasing.” Eating disorders are on the rise across the globe because Western customs and ideals are spreading.

As nations become more technologically advanced, certain aspects of American culture are slowly finding their way around the world. From McDonalds to rap music, American culture has a huge impact on the world. The more ultra thin women are portrayed as desirable in other cultures, the more likely it is that eating disorders will become a global problem.

The media controls what the public thinks about through agenda setting. By discussing certain topics and not others, the media sets an agenda for what the public should perceive as important. According to healthywithin.com, ads for diets and diet related products generate $50 billion in revenue each year.

If public service announcements about eating disorders were made instead of ads for diet pills, the general public would be more aware of these serious issues. Unfortunately, public service announcements are often under funded, thus why not many eating disorder related announcements have aired. However, if attention was raised, and this issue became more widely known, those suffering could benefit tremendously.

Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is one of the only advertisements on the market that uses real women instead of models to market their products. A leader in the fight against body image problems in girls, Dove also holds various self confidence work shops around the country to encourage young girls to think positively about themselves and love their bodies no matter what size they are. Though these are steps in the right direction, one company cannot undo years of the media reinforcing the “thin ideal.”

The media is a powerful tool that is both beneficial and detrimental to society. Without advertisements and entertainment industries would fail and life as we know it would be dramatically altered. However, the media comes at a price. We live in a world where 13 year old girls are no longer playing with makeup and flirting with boys, but rather crash dieting and starving themselves. It is important to keep in mind that the media is not reality. What is depicted on television, in film, and in magazines is not necessarily real life. As a whole society should use the media, not be used by it.

Life After Marist

By Sara Shea

 

With graduation less than 20 days away, senior Brendan Smullen takes some time to relax in his girlfriend's Foy Townhouse. As a senior Smullen lives in the Fulton Townhouses located on East campus, however he can often be found curled up on a couch in Foy C5.

With graduation less than 20 days away, senior Brendan Smullen takes some time to relax in his girlfriend's Foy Townhouse. As a senior Smullen lives in the Fulton Townhouses located on East campus, however he can often be found curled up on a couch in Foy C5.

 

 

Papers, piled on top of textbooks, piled on top of dirty gym shorts – sounds like any boys dorm room right? Marist senior Brendan Smullen is no exception. Capping project outlines and empty coffee cups occupy any empty space in his room. As the captain of the ultimate Frisbee team and a senior Psychology major, Brendan has little to no down time.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous to think I’m graduating in 20 something days,” said Smullen. “I know it sounds cheesy but it feels like yesterday I was in my room packing – scared out of my mind to move in freshman year.”

With graduation drawing closer, the 22-year-old Maine native has big plans for the future. “This summer I will be lobbying for Fund the Public Interest,” said Smullen, “It’s a green organization focused on promoting environmental awareness.”

As a lobbyist Brendan’s responsibilities will include calling congressman and going door-to-door promoting the group. Considered more of a summer internship than a “real job” he will earn merit based pay throughout the summer.

“My ideal job would have something to do with environmental law, so Fund the Public Interest is a tremendous opportunity for me,” Smullen continued. “Right now I have some funds set aside that I’m going to let mature. Law school applications don’t start until September for the fall of 2010, so I’ve got time. Right now my number one school is Pace University because of their Environmental Law Program.”

Before Brendan begins studying how to save the planet, he will be doing a little manual labor to help the earth first. Pending a phone interview on Tuesday May, 5 Brendan will be accepted into the AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) program.

The NCCC program takes you to 3 sites nationally, doing some sort of service projects with groups of your peers – which in my case is 18-24 yr olds. You don’t know where you’re going or what the goal of the site is,” said Smullen. “I’ve been told 50% of our time will be spent on disaster relief, focusing mainly on the Gulf Coast,”

Born and raised in the small town of Wells, Maine, Smullen hopes to see and do as much as possible during his year off from school.

“I would love to work with children,” Brendan continued, “[AmeriCorps] offered me a position in their City Year program in New Hampshire where I would work with underprivileged students. The appeal is there but it would be an hour from home, which is a little too close for me – I really want to get out and do things on my own.”

President Obama recently increased funding for the AmeriCorps program, tripling the membership role from 75,000 to 250,000 members each year. AmeriCorps is currently a 10-month program that gives citizens a chance to give back to their country. Members work 5 days a week for a total of 1700 hours throughout the 10-month period. “We’re expected to live on around $100 a week,” said Smullen. “Food, housing, and medical benefits are provided for us, so only having $100 to spend shouldn’t be too bad.”

Brendan’s girlfriend, Marist sophomore Katie Warren will be studying abroad in Spain during the fall 2009 semester. In addition to visiting Katie in Barcelona Brendan hopes to hike the Appalachian Trail at some point (preferably before entering law school). “Over the next 10 months I can hopefully take some weekend trips to the Appalachians. To hike the trail from north to south is typically a 5-6 month trip, so I’m going to have to do a lot of planning beforehand.”

Always equipped with hiking boots and his North Face backpack, Brendan’s love for the outdoors is contagious. “I’ve never considered myself a girlie-girl by any stretch of the imagination,” said Brendan’s girlfriend, Katie Warren. “But keeping up with him is a full time job. From hiking, to biking, to only God knows what else – he seriously does not sleep. The kid runs on fresh air and coffee.”

With a solid plan for the future and the drive and ambition to accomplish just about anything, Brendan Smullen is ready to make a difference in world. “After Marist you’re in the ‘real world.’ Now its up to us to ‘be the change we wish to see in the world.’ ”

Recessionistas: Is Cheap now Trendy?

By Sara Shea

 

As the country begins to recover from the recent economic downward spiral, Americans are continuing to pinch pennies and cut corners wherever they can. As a result the fashion industry is not necessarily suffering, but rather changing to accommodate the new frugal attitude sweeping the nation.

Blogs such as Jezebel.com and therecessionista.blogspot.com make looking great on a budget easy for women of all ages, shapes, and sizes. According to an article published in The New York Times, “The use of the word recessionista is making light of a situation that isn’t so favorable for the consumer-driven industries of our nation… It is more lighthearted to say ‘I am the Recessionista, and I don’t really go for that,’ instead of saying ‘I can’t afford that or I don’t want to spend the money,’ ” said Mary Hall of therecessionista.blogspot.com.

 

Creator of therecessionista.blogspot.com, Mary Hall stands amidst piles of cheap trendy finds. Hall created the site to encourage women not to give up on looking good even during the hardest of times.

Creator of therecessionista.blogspot.com, Mary Hall stands amidst piles of cheap trendy finds. Hall created the site to encourage women not to give up on looking good even during the hardest of times.

As a result of this “less is more” mindset, a more European inspired style is gaining popularity here in the States. According to several fashion blogs staple pieces such as simple chic black dresses and suites are items consumers are still willing to spend money on. These few big-ticket items are still deemed acceptable to purchase because they are constantly on trend.

“Staples like little black dresses can be worn to any occasion with any accessory,” said sophomore Fashion Merchandising major Christopher Traina. “Women are willing to drop a decent chunk of change on a dress that makes them feel good despite the state of the economy.”

Women rationalize spending a lot on staple pieces because they are timeless. European women have been employing the quality over quantity style for years now – buying a few designer pieces and using trendy accessories to create a new look. The American idea of living in opulence and excess is slowly dwindling.

According to The New York Times, we are being ushered into an era of “recession chic’ and its personification, the ‘recessionista,’ the new name for the style maven on a budget. That the word represents the times could explain why Sarah Palin’s new wardrobe ($75,000 at Neiman Marcus and nearly $50,000 at Saks) struck some as distasteful.”

This new frugal sense of style is not necessarily bad. This is not the first recession the country has ever gone through, and by no means is it the worst. During the Great Depression, retailers drastically dropped prices and advertised clothing as “economy chic.” Advertisements encouraged consumers to be “smart and thrifty” during hard times. According to The New York Times, “In the wake of the stock market crash of 1987, designers began to offer less-expensive second lines. In 1989, for example, Donna Karan introduced DKNY.”

If the entire nation adopted the mindset of less is more when it comes to clothing and material goods it could actually help the economy and the environment. If the demand for cheap products decreased, the production would also decrease, thus shutting down many third world sweat shops. Consumers would still be purchasing material goods, therefore the economy would still be stimulated – the goods would just be of a much higher quality.

Though higher quality goods usually come with higher quality price tags, they are usually more durable and worth the extra money. “Think about it,” said sophomore Pre-Med major, Abbey Ketner, “If less disposable or cheap products are purchased, less will end up in landfills, which means there will be less harm done to the earth each year.” Therefore not only are you saving money in the long run, your saving the planet as well.

So even though not being able to buy that trendy new bag that costs more than you make in a month seems like the end of the world, fear not frugal fashionista, you are not alone. A new era of fashion is upon us – recession is “in.”

From Walk on to Scholar Athlete

By Sara Shea

 

Generally eight rowers sit in a boat along with one coxswain who shouts directions and words of encouragement. Most races are won by fractions of a second, therefore coxswains are just as important as any rower in the boat.

Generally eight rowers sit in a boat along with one coxswain who shouts directions and words of encouragement. Most races are won by fractions of a second, therefore coxswains are just as important as any rower in the boat.

 

 

Six a.m. practices, bone chilling walks to the boathouse, frostbiting regattas – these are just a few hardships the Marist Crew team endures in any given season. Now add preparing to study abroad in Switzerland, working as a lifeguard, and being a vegetarian to the mix. One could say that Lydia Grace Charney is super woman – juggling major responsibilities with ease.

“Sometimes I think I’m a little crazy,” said Charney, now a sophomore on the varisty crew boat, “I was always involved in high school, so managing my time is a skill I developed early on.” Originally recruited to swim at Marist, Lydia traded in her cap and goggles for ergometers and spandex at the last minute. As a walk-on, Charney rowed in the freshman-novice boat last year.

Even with little to no experience, Lydia quickly excelled in the sport of rowing, seeming to move up in the boat constantly. “It’s surreal almost, to go from being a walk-on to a scholar athlete in one season,” she said, “I never would have imagined how much fun I could have while working so hard.”

Crew is a two-season sport, having meets in both the spring and fall. The team has practice every day except Sunday. “When you spend enough time with a group of people they become like your family. We eat together, practice together, go out together – if we’re not too tired,” Charney laughs, “At this point it’s hard to imagine life without these girls.”

With practice at 6:30 a.m. in the fall and 5:45 a.m. in the spring, it is a wonder Lydia even has time for classes. Instead of taking it easy academically, she is majoring in communications with a double concentration in journalism and public relations. Charney also works as a lifeguard at Mike Artega’s Gym across the street from Marist.

“Napping and eating right is crucial,” said Charney. As a vegetarian it is important that Lydia gets enough protein in her diet to support her intense schedule. Lydia is an avid animal rights activist and is extremely environmentally conscious. She is a member of PETA and Fox Paw, the animal rights group at Marist.

“Lydia is one of the kindest people I have ever met,” said Lydia’s teammate and roommate, Marist sophomore Kelly Furlong. “ She puts her all into everything she does – it’s amazing really. She genuinely cares about others and wants to help anyone in any way she can.”

Kelly is not the only member of the crew team that noticed Lydia’s kind hearted and loving nature. Lydia and sophomore Ryan Wojcik have been dating for about 6 months. Charney and Wojcik share three major life passions – rowing, music, and love. “Ryan is seriously my other half,” Lydia gushed, “I’m so lucky to have found him.”

Both on the varsity crew boat, Ryan and Lydia see each other at least once every day, even if it is at 6 o’clock in the morning.  When the pressures of work and school get to be too much, the couple takes time to relax by going for walks along the river.

“Crew is a physically and mentally demanding sport,” said Wojcik. “For Lydia to walk on and excel like she did says a lot about her physical strength and the strength of her character.”

 

Before each race the girls huddle together to give each other a few last minute words of encouragement. One of the best teams at Marist, the team ended their season with a seventh place finish at the ECAC Regatta on Saturday, May 2.

Before each race the girls huddle together to give each other a few last minute words of encouragement. One of the best teams at Marist, the team ended their season with a seventh place finish at the ECAC Regatta on Saturday, May 2.

The Housing Crisis Comes to Marist

Sara Shea

 

 

The newest housing available to Marist students is located on East campus. The Fulton Street Townhouses are single occupancy houses fit for a king. Furnished with stainless steal appliances, heated floors, and central air these houses seem more like hotels than dorms.

The newest housing available to Marist students is located on East campus. Furnished with stainless steal appliances, heated floors, and central air the Fulton Street Townhouses seem more like hotels than dorms. Unfortunately only 20% of juniors and seniors get to live in these townhouses each year.

 

 

Did you know that at Marist College you are no guaranteed housing as a junior or a senior? According to the Marist Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 90% of upperclassmen that apply for housing are accommodated. But what happens to the other 10% of students?

This year, students who did not get on campus housing were put on a wait list and will be contacted in July with a final decision. Unfortunately for those who do not qualify for on-campus housing, July is a bit late to start looking for an apartment that would need to be ready to move into in September. Not to mention parts of Poughkeepsie are not the safest places on the planet.

When looking for an apartment, students need to consider proximity to campus, cost, and the safety of the neighborhood. By April most houses and apartments on safe streets close to campus have already been spoken for so those students on the wait list are often forced to find housing outside of Poughkeepsie.

Housing at Marist is based on priority points. Students receive point through their GPA, campus involvement, and disciplinary record. Therefore students “earn” their housing. However, there are huge gaps in the logic behind this system. Housing is based on group points, therefore no matter how well one does as an individual their points are averaged with the students they will be living with.
“I had 31 points last year and I got Marian,” said sophomore Tracy Dalton. “Tell me how that happens? I got Lower New for next year. I’m moving off campus senior year, no way am I dealing with this again.”

Another glitch in the housing system is the fact that once a student lives off campus they cannot move back on campus. Therefore students who’s points are too low to receive on campus housing can not even try to redeem themselves the following year.

This year over 10,000 students applied to the undergraduate program at Marist. Of those 10,000 about 35% were accepted. “Approximately 3,000 students were admitted,” said Meghan Donoghue, an Admissions Counselor at Marist College. “We hope to retain about 950 for next year’s freshman class.”

According to the office of Housing and Residential Life, the three main freshman dorms can only accommodate 920 students. Therefore if more than the anticipated 950 students decide to attend Marist next fall upper classman will have to pay for the school’s poor planning.

Freshman will take priority because they are guaranteed housing, therefore upper classman that did not get housing and are on the waiting list will be forced to move off campus. This year, there was a serious shortage of housing for male upper classmen.

“My group filled the last male house left in Lower New,” said sophomore Andrew Ludington. “We had 29 priority points, and we almost didn’t get housing, that’s crazy.”

Though moving off campus does not necessarily cost more than paying room and board, it is extremely inconvenient for students without cars and students who had not anticipated finding off campus housing. With no shuttle and most decent off campus housing located at least a mile from campus, Marist College needs to consider student’s convenience and safety when it comes to housing.

 “We heard guys houses had closed out in Fulton and Upper West the first day so we attempted to look at [off campus] houses,” said Ludington. “The few apartments that were left were steps away from the Poughkeepsie projects. Thank God I got some kind of housing because my parents were not about to let me live in that neighborhood.”

Sticky Fingers on the Rise During Hard Times

 

By Sara Shea

While some are out looking for a second job to earn a little extra cash during these tough economic times, others are taking a less legal route to make ends meet. According to an nbcnewyork.com article, shoplifting is on the rise due to the failing economy.

Grocery and retail chains are being hit the hardest. According to the article at nbcnewyork.com, “One skint New Yorker has shoplifted close to $30,000 of gourmet groceries from markets like Whole Foods.”

 

Specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods Market are especially prone to shoplifting during winter months. Large coats and baggy layers make concealing stolen goods easier.

Specialty grocery stores like Whole Foods Market are especially prone to shoplifting during winter months. Large coats and baggy layers make concealing stolen goods easier.

 

 

Not only are thieves robbing stores blind; they are actually giving others tips on how to get in on the action. In the same article, an anonymous shoplifter offers advice to others hoping to score a five-finger discount on their next grocery trip. The “Biggest mistakes you can make include not getting to know a store’s camera system, rushing, and hitting grocery stores close to where you live.”

In addition to grocery stores, retailers are also feeling the heat. Marist sophomore Lauren Bis has witnessed how detrimental shoplifting can be first hand. “I work at Victoria’s Secret and there is at least $100 in merchandise stolen each week,” Bis said. “This summer there was actually a shoplifting ring busted at my store. There were five women who would steal thousands of dollars worth of merchandise from my store and three other stores close by.”

According to an article published in the New York Times, “A Better Business Bureau study puts the losses from shoplifting to businesses across the country at $8 billion to $16 billion a year. The amount varies because of different estimates on how much shoplifting goes undetected, but the study concluded that each family in the United States pays 10 percent of its retail dollars to cover shoplifting thefts.”

 

Legal consequences of shoplifting can include any or all of the following penalties: jail or prison time, punitive fines, community service hours, and more. Offenders are often prohibited from entering the place of business from which they stole goods.

Legal consequences of shoplifting can include any or all of the following penalties: jail or prison time, punitive fines, community service hours, and more. Offenders are often prohibited from entering the place of business from which they stole goods.

 

 

At Marist, measures are being taken to ensure the cafes and the bookstore do not fall victim to petty theft. New cameras have been installed in all of the cafes on campus to help protect the businesses from shoplifting

“I wouldn’t say I’ve noticed an increase in theft since the recession started,” said Theresa Kilmer, lead retail supervisor at the Cabaret. “However I think the cameras have scared any potential thieves away.”

Sodexho, the school’s food supplier, installed the cameras in September in an effort to deter students from stealing. The company installed similar cameras in every school they service.

“I would say since the cameras have been installed I’ve personally only caught 1 or 2 students stealing,” Kilmer said. “Last year students were getting greedy. The second you would turn your back they would fill there bags and bolt.”

Though measures are being taken across the country to discourage shoplifters, budget cuts and layoffs give thieves easy access to goods. In addition to theft, credit card fraud has also seen a rise since the dawn of the recession in September. Retailers nationwide are doing their best to minimize loss and prevent future issues.

Eat Like a King, Pay Like a Pauper

 

By Sara Shea

 

With prices this low anyone can enjoy a three course meal as a mid-week treat.

With prices this low anyone can enjoy a three course meal as a mid-week treat.

 

 

Frugal? Fear Not! The Culinary Institute of America is offering three course fixed-price meals for under $30 now through April 30th.  Located just three miles from Marist College, the CIA is a great place to splurge if you’re in the mood to spoil your taste buds.

New low priced specials are being offered in an effort to attract customers during slow economic times. Lunch specials are changed daily and start as low as $19.95. Three course dinners are served with coffee, tea, or wine – an absolute steal at $29.95.

“The low prices are definitely drawing in crowds,” said Cindy Stauffer, the receptionist at the reservation desk at the CIA. “Eating out is one of the first things people try to cut back on to save money. The fixed price specials were a great idea.”

These low priced specials are offered in all four of the CIA’s award winning restaurants. So whether you’re in the mood for American, French, or Italian even the pickiest eater is bound to find something they will enjoy.

“I first went to the CIA last year as a freshman during parents weekend,” Marist sophomore Leslie Hurd said. “My boyfriend took me to dinner last month and it was even better than I’d remembered.”

The low fixed price specials are offered Monday through Friday by reservation. After savoring a delicious three-course meal, make sure to check out the CIA’s Apple Pie Bakery Café for some gourmet sweets.

“I’m usually pretty picky so whenever I go [to the CIA] with my family I play it safe and make them go to the American restaurant,” Marist sophomore Marissa Conroy said. “But seeing as it was only $20 I thought I’d be adventurous and try the Escoffier Restaurant for lunch. It was my first experience with French food, and I have to say, I didn’t hate it.”

The students at the Culinary Institute prepare the food in all four restaurants as well as bus the tables and seat the guests. Proceeds from the restaurants support the school and the students. So not only are the fixed price meals cheap, the proceeds are helping a worthy cause.

 

To make reservations by phone call 845-471-6608.

Menus vary so be sure to call ahead for details.