Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A double standard -- the sequel

You know, in writing my post last month about a particular double standard, I realize I left out one of its more glaring examples, one pertaining to men's health.  Men's health was one of the original issues that propelled me into the discussion on men's rights -- in particular, the gap in funding between research on prostate cancer and that of breast cancer, even though the rates of incidence are similar -- so it's hardly any surprise that men's health is an issue I hold near and dear.

Speaking of surprise, it should surprise practically no one that not only federal funding, but also societal sympathy and overall attention, are disproportionately doled out towards breast cancer awareness.  Meanwhile, hardly anyone care's about men's health, let alone prostate cancer awareness -- well at least this was the case about eight years ago.  So imagine my joy when, in a desert of popular women's health initiatives such as Go Red for Women and Susan G. Komen for the Cure (never mind that men can also get breast cancer; despite this, all of the popular breast cancer initiatives are tailored towards women), I came across an oasis.  An oasis called Movember, where finally, finally, an initiative for men's health gained worldwide attention.

But recall what I wrote last month about initiatives for men, let alone men's health: "Come up with an initiative that benefits boys only, however, and people invent an equivalent initiative that either benefits the girls or is gender-neutral."  And alas, that is precisely what happened roughly three years following my discovery of Movember.

Men and gentleladies (of the jury), I give you... Fanuary.

For those in the UK, NZ, and Australia, "fanny" is the word for "vagina" -- hence the name "Fanuary".  People who observe Fanuary modify their pubic hair through shaving, coloring, etc.  Of course, this is for charity, and upon discovery of this initiative, I learned that proceeds from Fanuary benefit "gynaecological cancers," which I understood to be female-specific (even though nowadays, the website says that the initiative "raises awareness for mens & womens health" -- interesting; however, the Facebook page only says "women's health").

However, what I really found offensive isn't so much where the money goes towards, but rather, the attitude that permeates the site.  Participants of Fanuary team up and form groups, and there is one group in particular that exemplifies this attitude.  It is the British Forces Ladies Fanuary, and the attitude is precisely when they prominently display the following: "Movember is very popular with British Forces Chaps, now it’s the Ladies turn!!"

Facepalm -- like, major, major facepalm.  Actually, much worse than a facepalm.

Not only is this attitude present in the group (one group is too many), I also noticed it on display upon my initial discovery of Fanuary.  Namely, that Movember was really popular and that a female equivalent was necessary.  I mean, really???  Ugh!!!  Not only do these people not get it, but also, I dare say that part of the reason men's health isn't receiving the attention it ought to receive is simply because of mere existence of attitudes such as this one.

There's no justice.