It’s October, the time of year when your winter wardrobe starts to re-emerge, the colors on the trees change, and the entire NFL gets decked out in pink. Why pink? Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the NFL is all about …player safety?
Really the NFL is just trying to pander to its new target audience, women. If it were concerned about fighting cancer we’d also see a prostate cancer awareness campaign, but odds are no one but Cleveland will be decked out in brown this year. Men already watch the NFL, and supporting men’s health isn’t going to draw any new viewers.
And I can hear the enraged feminist voice already, “Ugh! Not everything has to be about men!”
That’s the response to asking why the NFL or any other organization doing breast cancer awareness or fundraising does do the same thing for prostate cancer. And they’re right, not everything has to be about men. This isn’t even about men. It’s about cancer.
We have two really big cancers, breast and prostate. There were 232,600 new cases of breast cancer last year, and nearly 40,000 fatal cases. There were 240,900 new cases of prostate cancer, and 33,700 deaths. These are extremely similar numbers, yet breast cancer receives all the attention. It also gets a bigger share of the government’s health funding. Last year the NIH spent $625 million on breast cancer, and $288 million on prostate cancer.
“But we’re trying to promote women’s health! This is important! What the hell is wrong with you? Why do you hate the womens?”
Just shut up. Breast cancer campaigns have fuckall nothing to do with women’s health. And let’s just be clear here, breast cancer is a women’s health issue. It’s breast cancer campaigns that have nothing to do with promoting the health of women.
If what you really cared about what saving the lives of women, you’d be having a lung cancer awareness month. Lung cancer kills 71,300 women a year, nearly twice as many as breast cancer. And how much funding did it get from the NIH? $297 million. Breast cancer get $16,500 per woman killed. Lung cancer gets $1,900 per woman killed. If you do the math, you can see that our priorities are really screwed up.
“Hey, I did do the math, and it’s your numbers that are screwed up!”
That’s because you divided $297 million by 71,300. You forgot that lung cancer also killed another 85,600.
“Oh, now the math works.”
And that’s why lung cancer doesn’t have a huge national awareness campaign, because it also kills a ton of men.
If you were truly concerned with saving the lives of women, Cancer Enemy #1 would be lung cancer, not breast. And that’s just within cancer. The real Women Killer #1 is heart disease, which kills some 175,000 women a year, more than four times as many as breast cancer. And that’s how we know that the breast cancer campaign isn’t about saving lives.
Breast cancer campaigns are about Womenism. They’re about promoting the idea that women are more important than men. If we went after lung cancer or heart disease, you might get the idea that what was important was health, since both kill a lot of men. Going with breast cancer though lets the campaigns send the message that what’s important isn’t health, but Women’s Health. Other campaigns would save more lives, but they don’t get the Womenism branding. They don’t carry the message that women’s issues are more important than men’s issues.
If you think I’m venturing in to tinfoil hat territory here, think back to the debacle with Sandra Fluke and birth control and all that. The issue was not contraception, it was the birth control pill. If we were really concerned about contraception, we would have been discussing the pill and condoms, but condoms were nowhere in the discussion. They’re a pretty popular form of birth control, even among women already on the pill, plus they prevent the spread of STDs. Prevents unwanted pregnancy and disease. Sure seems like if we’re concerned about contraception and health, we’d really want condoms to be covered by insurance as well.
But, condoms are more closely associated with men than women. The pill is a women’s issue, so that’s where all the focus went.
Or look at crime prevention campaign on college campuses. There’s plenty of rape walks and Take Back the Night stuff. And yes, rape is a very serious crime, but women are 20 times more likely to be the victim of a non-sexual assault. They are 3 times as likely to be the victim of an aggravated assault.
But, placing the focus on violent crime generally gets rid of the women’s branding. It becomes about health and safety, and no longer about how important women are.
And this is where all these campaigns become completely absurd. They aren’t about trying to help women. If we wanted to help women, we’d be talking about lung cancer, heart disease, condoms, and violence generally. Instead, these campaigns are about making a society that views women as more important and more valuable than men. And you know, men can live with that. It’s a completely wrongheaded and bigoted to try to promote any group above another rather than seeking parity or equity, but we’ll live with it. What we shouldn’t have to live with though is an entire month of Women’s Superiority branding all over the NFL.
Come on, man!