Archives for category: The Weal

Opinion
James Pavel

The act of manwhorism dates back to the beginning of time. Kings having more wives than fingers and proud soldiers inserting their member in anything with two feet and a heart beat has unfortunately been common routine for ages according to history books.

Back in the chauvinistic hay-day, men were under the assumption that they had the right to roll in the hay with whomever they chose, no questions asked. This behaviour was further glorified in the ‘90s with the ubiquity of the term “player.”

Banging broads for sport was a status symbol for males. Yet women who attempted to mimic the promiscuous behaviour of their male counterparts were almost always labelled sluts, tramps and yes, whores.

It could be argued that no one was guiltier of promoting this shameless sexual-body count than hip-hop music. Rappers proudly dancing with dozens of half-naked women and lyrics that contained the slogan “playa’ for life,” helped push the ideology full steam ahead.

This obvious sexism and hypocrisy has seemed to finally become not just obvious to women, but to the world at large over the past few years.

Any man operating under the egotistical belief that sexual partners are as interchangeable as characters in Mortal Kombat are no longer knighted with praise.

They have finally earned the right to be stamped with a disclaimer proclaiming that this one individual is prone to whoring their male genitalia at all hours of the day.

Yes, while many of these afore mentioned, sexually spoiled rappers really were bangin’ a hoochie every night, many also had children with a number of different women (see Eazy-E) founding the brilliant, English internal-rhyme gem, “baby-mama drama.”

The fantasy of having intercourse with a different Victoria’s Secret angel every time the sun sets is tough to resist for any heterosexual male, but just like everything else that seems too good to be true, this concept is no different.

Multiple sexual partners in a short span of time can equal complicated issues not just for the individual, but also for all parties involved.

Storks do not deliver newborn children and these mammals really do, in fact, enter the world through a woman’s vagina. This should immediately signal to a man that he should ponder aloud any potential repercussions before engaging in sexual behaviour with a complete stranger.

Yet, the biggest blow to the player turned man-whore legacy is the unfortunate prevalence of sexually transmitted infections. If you can’t remember the name of the woman you slept with, it is no longer just irresponsible, it is downright dangerous.

Being labeled a man-whore implies that one is untrustworthy, is dispassionate towards making sweet love and might be hosting a party of troublesome issues in not only his trousers but also his heart.

The term “whore” is now an all-encompassing one, assuring any female and now male willing to yank off their belt at the drop of a hat are in the same exclusive club.

Female whores now have some much-needed company as self-proclaimed “players” are now earning the discredit to their name that they have been living up to for years.

So to all those tired of hearing males tally up their sexual conquests like counting their shots after an 18-hole golf game, long live the term: man-whore.

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Originally written October 31, 2011
By Séamus Smyth

Halloween has evolved from a children’s candy wonderland to an adult sex-fest filled with lust, exposed busts and men behaving like mutts.

Depending on your age, you’re either ecstatic or frustrated or completely indifferent to Halloween’s revamped image. The demographic that has truly benefited from this evolving pseudo-holiday are those, ranging from 18-35.

This outrageous day of scandalously clad women getting obscenely drunk until unholy hours of the night, it has placed a responsibility on the male populace that many have succeeded at, while others have predictably plundered.

This burden, this weight on the proverbial shoulders, is of course the quest to be as original as possible with one’s yearly outfit.

Oh how as a youth, it was so mindlessly simple. Throw on a moronic mask, a white sheet with holes poked out for vision perhaps, or for those true enthusiasts, facepaint featuring dollar store blood dripping down one’s candy-drenched lips.

Yet here in 2011, Halloween demands ingenuity. To show up dressed as a ghost or vampire oozes of procrastination, lack of imagination and worst of all, no game.

The horde of imitators is vast each year, which is why it’s essential that one seeks to stand out from the disorganized men who fail to capture the imagination of their peers.

Do you really want to be greeted by fellow Heath-Ledger style Jokers (damn it, Heath. I miss you) and discuss the exhausting process of transforming one’s face into that of a scarred lunatic? Or are you eagerly anticipating playing with the braids of the dozens of fellow pirates this Oct. 31 because you all decided to avoid the plank of the unknown and dress up as Captain Jack “asexual” Sparrow for the third straight year?

Think back to your favourite cartoon character or a television hero that you once obsessed over emulating as this could easily be your gateway to an unprecedented sense of individuality.

So begin some serious brainstorming and aim to stand out; I guaran-damn-tee it will make it a Oct.29-31 to remember.

By Séamus Smyth

It looked like a lineup to meet Santa Claus in the Heart building this past week but it was actually SAIT students waiting to purchase art at the annual poster sale.

The sale featured the typical iconic James Dean images, the half-naked sleeping beauties and the classical shots of downtown Paris, all demonstrating that the powerful poster has not lost any of its muscle over the years.

The trite but valid statement, “a picture is worth a 1,000 words,” appears to have not been lost on the SAIT student body as hundreds patiently analyzed each image.

Similar to adorning a Winnipeg Jets hat or an Iron Maiden t-shirt, the poster makes an immediate statement without uttering a syllable. It allows one to illustrate his or her allegiances in a cost-effective manner and without having permanent ink pierced into their flesh.

One’s poster collection and tastes usually evolve over the years and likely serves as a tool to demonstrate maturity. There is no better example of this poster/age correlation than if one were to examine the walls of a typical, young boy. Theoren Fleury and Michael Jordan posters were likely mainstays for Calgary youngsters until they reached their teens during the 90’s.

Of course the minute sex, drugs and rock n’ roll were introduced to a once clean-cut mentality, Theo and MJ are juxtaposed with scandalously clad women and Corona beer images. These man-cave paintings remain for an eternity and often bring company with them. At some point, Tupac, Scarface and Blink 182 join the party and suddenly this high school student’s wall is a conglomeration of potentially bad influences and questionable values.

But, a few years after they’ve finished screaming Alice Cooper’s “School’s out Forever,” a monumental wind begins blowing at the corners of these wary pieces of cheap art.

Scarface suddenly looks haggard and he doesn’t smile the way he used to; It begins to feel like Blink 182 broke up a millennia ago and haven’t been the same since; and Theoren Fleury? Who was that again?

Plus, there is a lovely lady/girlfriend on her way over to do a room inspection and these once proud visuals now seem like the equivalent of wearing Spider-man underwear or needing to be burped after dinner.

And so the poster situation demands a makeover; Pac’ is asked to rest in peace and black-and-white clad Elvis Presley and Martin Luther King Jr. are quickly introduced. Suddenly a beautiful landscape shot of New York looks as though it could really accent this young man’s bedroom.

Abstract paintings follow and soon he is relieved of decorating duties because the lady at the door is much more than just a pretty face. And so the poster cycle continues on as boys and men, and those in between, discover their identity through still images that will likely remain with them forever.

Yes, if there weren’t other resources available, the poster would certainly be the measuring stick for a boy’s anticipated entrance into manhood.

By Séamus Smyth

Watching a viral video of a baby monkey riding a pig may be the cure to all of life’s problems.

Okay, maybe not to that extent but SAIT psychologist Terri D. Scoville suggested students should be encouraged to take a “mini-break” during strenuous study periods and indulge in the popular video blog site, YouTube. It can serve as an excellent way to reduce stress and even depression.

“I am a big supporter of YouTube. I believe laughter is the best medicine. When you laugh, you are really releasing some good endorphins into your body,” Scoville said.

With final exams approaching, along with major projects due and of course the holiday season, it is no surprise that the end November is the beginning of the busiest period for the SAIT student resource department.

It was Scoville’s work as a family therapist that gave her the idea to recommend the popular website to stressed mothers and fathers. She said it was an excellent tool to stimulate laughter because there is bound to be at least one video everyone can find entertaining.

Scoville uses the tool herself, although she doesn’t watch the ultra “silly stuff” that she has no doubt can be found on the site.

The baby monkey straddling a pig may be a bit goofy for some, yet SAIT business student Katie Oakley called it her go-to material when she’s having a rotten day.

Sergio Illanos, who is currently upgrading at SAIT, said it isn’t necessarily a video that he needs to help get him through the day, it’s usually just a few songs that can be found over YouTube.

“I’ll just take a break for a few minutes and see what’s out there and what’s new,” said Illanos. “I think it is a break to do your own thing and to clear your mind. When you go back into school work, it makes it a bit easier.”

Scoville said it isn’t just the intense workload that students will have to deal with in the upcoming two months that can lead to excessive stress.

“If you are losing sleep, you are prone to more serious stress. If you are not exercising at all and not eating well, your body can suffer,” she explained.

However, if a student can manage to clock in a solid number of sleep hours, go for a light jog, refrain from junk food and have a few lively, belly laughs, it could make a world of a difference. She referenced the book Anatomy of an Illness by author Norman Cousins for inspiration.

In 1964, Cousins was diagnosed with an incurable disease called Ankylosing Spondylitis. He was restrained to a hospital bed, yet did not give up hope. He instead began watching comedies and inviting his friends and family to visit him, but on one condition—they had to make him laugh.

The endless laughs paid off and Cousins miraculously overcame the debilitating illness.

Although these methods can help many students, some may suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. The disorder is the result of a lack of sunlight, common during the fall season. Symptoms include change in appetite, weight gain, decreased energy, fatigue, tendency to oversleep and difficulty concentrating.

The Weal – SAIT student newspaper
By Séamus Smyth

Simba; Bunny; Bobo; Bear; they are some of the world’s best listeners. They adore cuddling.  They want nothing more than to participate in an endless, tearful embrace. The best part is that their sole request is for one to refrain from sleeping on their torso once they have tucked in their respective companion. So who are these gracious figures that I write of? Tragically, these characters are merely fine pieces of fabric sewn together with simplistic features aimed at resembling a human face. Yes, these are the titles of just a few of the stuffed animals that SAIT students run home to when times get tough.

“When school is hard and you need a good cry, a stuffed animal is a lot nicer than having a person judge you,” said legal assistant student, Kimberly Ma.

“I can’t remember when I got him.  We’ve been together forever; he’s my best bud,” she explained.  Ma said that having a boyfriend does not complicate her relationship with Bear as both parties understand their role in Ma’s life. When asked why she thought many students still have a furry comrade, Ma called it a security blanket for many students.

Megan Ruark, from the same program, isn’t sure why as a college student she still has a “stuffie,” but she knows that it evokes a sense of happiness every time she sees it because it was a gift from her boyfriend.

SAIT psychologist from student development and counseling services, Terri Scoville said the reasons for students to continue having a stuffed animal waiting for them in their bedroom is varied, but overall she said the theme is that it inevitably reminds one of a special time or person in one’s life.

“A lot of people keep something from their childhood. Sometimes it’s a memory of good times gone by or an accomplishment,” she added.

Journalism student Alyssa Kramer agreed, referring to her and Simba’s life-long relationship, who she has said had since the age of three.

“We do have a tendency to put a lot of into our possessions, especially something we get at a young age,” said Kramer, who admitted to giving Simba regular embraces before drifting to sleep.

Scoville said it shouldn’t be considered a dependence issue unless the mute creature begins venturing out with their master on a day-to-day basis. She compared the attachment to the way many students interact with their cellphones and computers:  tools that may eventually replace the stuffed animals once a student has moved on or forgotten about their teddy.

“It’s a sense of connection. Students certainly don’t want to be disconnected. I guess some people could interpret the cellphone as the grownup stuffed animal, but it’s more like the grown up way of connection,” she said.

Although certain SAIT students admitted that they have moved on to more balanced relationships, business administration student Jenna Price said that if she could see her former stuffed cat “Amber,” she would know exactly how to react.

“I would give her a hug and tell her how much I miss her.”

 

 

The Weal – SAIT student newspaper
By Séamus Smyth

Being the teacher’s pet has never exactly been a desired title for any student, but how about being a teacher’s “friend”?

With approximately half of Canada’s population having a Facebook account, it is clear that it is no longer just college students joining in on the social media hoopla. Yet, SAIT currently stands today without a policy defining ideal student/instructor interaction within the profile hoarder.

SAIT Vice President of Academic, Dr. Gordon Nixon explained that the way students and teachers interact with one another over social media remains an evolving conversation and not just on this particular campus.

“It’s a topic that is being discussed throughout academia in North America: we are not lagging, we are not leading and we are aware of it. We are addressing the issue,” he said.

Introducing new policies, such as one regarding social networking, set “significant direction,” but more importantly, take considerable time to put into writing, explained Nixon.

He said the idea for a document that outlined certain social media policies arose last year during the academia council meetings.  Academia council is a group formed of one third students, a third faculty members and a third of administration.

Yet, the discussion failed to take lift off and the academia team is back again this year conversing over issues surrounding social media.

While SAIT administration struggle to keep pace with the growing social media phenomenon, many students have already made up their mind on the issue.

“For me it is the same as with bosses.  Facebook isn’t the medium for professional relationships, it’s mainly just for friends.  There is stuff on Facebook that can be inappropriate for people in an authoritative position to see,” said Richard Coulson from the IT tech program.

Electrical student Nick Nori brought an interesting attitude to the query, mentioning that many of his instructors are experts in their fields; therefore Facebook could serve as tool for asking questions and seeking advice on work-related issues.
Legal assistant student, Josie Beness believed that accepting a friend request from a teacher or vice versa was fine the minute one has graduated from their particular program.

This perspective was one that intrigued the head of the SAIT journalism department, Willem Sijpheer. The Academic chair agreed that becoming friends after graduation could be a mutually beneficial and acceptable situation, especially for beginning journalists, because both instructors and students have a wealth of information regarding local and global issues.

“There are three steps for journalists – get to the creation of news, report it, and to get the information out.  Facebook is a great way to get information out; it’s almost instantaneous. I love the technology, I love what is happening and I love the whole social structure,” he said.

Yet, that was as far as Sijpheer chose to go when complementing the largest social network on the planet. He was particularly adamant on the point that students and instructors must respect each other’s boundaries when operating on Facebook in the school setting.

“There should be a level of professionalism– we are here to teach and the students are here to learn,” he said.

He also took a few swipes at the naming convention, suggesting that it is less about one’s actual friends and more about a way to gather information about others.

He theorized that the use of “friend” over the site may be an inaccurate portrayal of friendship and that students should tread more cautiously in the boundless web of social media.

“We need time to think about certain things before we share them.  Once it is out, it is really out and we don’t realize what we’ve done.  We need to relax and ensure that the right information goes out.”

So while the journalism department has a clear opportunity to benefit from the ubiquitous use of the book with a million faces, the SAIT business department is obviously forced to look at the scenario from a business perspective.

Similar to Sijpheer, Business Administrative Information Management (AIM) Academic Chair, Loanne Benner said she didn’t think students and instructors becoming “friends” was appropriate, however the opportunities for the positive use of Facebook were endless at SAIT.

“It could be used to put on success stories from our past grads or share conferences and events that we have coming up.  This is information that we could share with students.  If there are other things happening and students can use Facebook to pass it along then that’s great.”

Benner said she looked forward to seeing how the SAIT campus evolves with Facebook and social media in general over the next few years.

“It will continue to take off. People need to embrace the fact that it is here and it is here to stay.”

The Weal – SAIT student newspaper
The impact of drunkorexia on SAIT campus

By Séamus Smyth

The term “drunkorexia” ripped through the SAIT student body last week when both the
Calgary Herald and Calgary Metro featured stories on a study conducted on the latest unhealthy fad.

The American report concluded that as many as one- in-five college students, the majority being female, save their calories for alcohol, neglecting meals to become intoxicated quicker.

SAIT business administration students Kaelee Jenkins and Amberly Tapp were both intrigued and relieved to read that they weren’t the only ones who sometimes indulged in a few rum and cokes instead of ordering a meal. However, the two students argued the habit isn’t about getting drunk quicker but more of a financial and health dilemma.

“The bottom line is, would I rather be full on crappy food with all these calories, gross fries and terrible meat or would I rather have a couple drinks with my girlfriend, giggle, be entertained and have a nice buzz on for the rest of the night?” said Tapp.

Jenkins added that $10 could either buy her a meal out on the town or two drinks, and she will often choose the latter. SAIT psychologist Terri D. Scoville said a small number of women engage in the activity for financial purposes, but more often than not, it is a body issue.

“I have no doubt that some women have a limited income, but that’s not the primary reason, based on my experience with talking with young women,” explained Scoville. “Those who want to stay slim may already have an eating disorder. They are twice as likely to slip into something like substituting calories for alcohol.

“It is a comorbid issue – dealing with two or more issues at the same time. Self-esteem could be an issue as well. These don’t come in onesies,” she continued.

Despite the research only being conducted in the US, Scoville is confident the issue of drunkorexia is just as prevalent in Canada.

“We are always a little bit behind the US in these studies,” she said.

Scoville argued the disorder is likely to be more common at institutes such as The University of Alberta or the University of Calgary, where a younger student population is present. The average age of a SAIT student is late 20s to early 30s.

Although women are most likely to engage in this beverage-heavy diet, she said issues such as the pressure to portray a certain body image are becoming noticeable in the habits of males as well.

“The ratio is about three- to-one (in favour of women), yet there are still some men being hit by this phenomenon,” said Scoville.

Both Jenkins and Tapp admitted that the pressure to be thin also played a role in opting out of calorie-filled restaurant menus.

They were initially surprised that “drunkorexia” was more common with women than men, but quickly pointed to society’s expectations of how men and women should look as a potential reason.

“Girls are supposed to be skinny and little so why would they eat? They want to lose that weight; men are supposed to big and strong,” said Jenkins.

The two acknowledged that drinking on an empty stomach is probably not a bright idea, but the habit will likely be eliminated in a few years.

“I would justify it by saying I am young so I might as well do it while I can. I guess I am lucky because I don’t have to think about my metabolism too often,” said Jenkins.