Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Importance of Men

On this Father's Day weekend I would like to highlight the importance of fathers, and men in general. I would also like to reiterate that males as a whole in our society do not get enough attention. As I blogged about previously:

We have walks to end violence against women, but it is a fact that men are more likely than women to be murder, assaulted or victims of violent crime. We have million dollar programs from the Ontario government to aid women and children from domestic violence, but what about our men?

We have walks for breast cancer. But it is a fact that the number one cancer that kills males between the ages of 18-35 is testicular cancer. Unfortunately, no one is talking to men about doing self-exams or talking to their doctor.

We have more women than men enrolling and graduating with University degrees. Or have a look at the difference of grades and academic achievements between boys and girls. Girls often always do better in school. But I ask, what it happening to our men? Our boys?

They are being left behind.

I read an excellent article in the NYT about this yesterday and the author agrees with me, that women are getting too much attention:

The Weaker Sex
By MARIANNE J. LEGATO
Published: June 17, 2006
WHEN I say I study gender-specific medicine, most people assume I mean women's health. Patients ask me, "Do you take care of men too?"

I may be partly to blame for the confusion: in the years since the revolutionary 1985 report on women's health from the United States Public Health Service, I — along with many of my colleagues — have tried to atone for the fact that for so long the majority of diseases that afflicted both genders were studied exclusively in men.

Over the past two decades, we've radically revised how we conduct medical research and take care of our female patients. And we've made valuable discoveries about how gender helps determine vulnerability to illness and, ultimately, the timing and causes of death. But I now believe that we doctors and researchers may have focused too much on women.

What emerges when one studies male biology in a truly evenhanded way is the realization that from the moment of conception on, men are less likely to survive than women. It's not just that men take on greater risks and pursue more hazardous vocations than women. There are poorly understood — and underappreciated — vulnerabilities inherent in men's genetic and hormonal makeup. This Father's Day, we need to rededicate ourselves to deepening our knowledge of male physiology.

Men's troubles begin during the earliest days in the womb. Even though there are more male than female embryos, there are more miscarriages of male fetuses. Industrial countries are also witnessing a decline in male to female birth ratios, and we don't know why.

Some scientists have argued that the probability of a male child declines as parents (especially fathers) age. Still others have cited the prevalence of pesticides, which produce more birth defects in male children.

Even when a boy manages to be born, he's still behind the survival eight ball: he is three to four times more likely than girls to have developmental disorders like autism and dyslexia; girls learn language earlier, develop richer vocabularies and even hear better than boys. Girls demonstrate insight and judgment earlier in adolescence than boys, who are more impulsive and take more risks than their sisters. Teenage boys are more likely to commit suicide than girls and are more likely to die violent deaths before adulthood.
[...]
It's possible, too, that we've simply been sexist. We've complained bitterly that until recently women's health was restricted to keeping breasts and reproductive organs optimally functional, reflecting the view that what made women valuable was their ability to conceive and bear children. But aren't we doing the same thing with men? Read the questions posed on the cover of men's magazines: how robust is your sexuality? How well-developed are your abs? The only malignancy I hear discussed with men is prostate cancer.
[...]
I am very much interested in gender studies, but there's NO WAY I would actually like gender studies in University. I've taken a class that's cross listed with Women's Studies (by the way, why are there no Men's Studies?) or was taught a professor from that department. NEVER AGAIN. "Femi-Nazis" or my favourite: "Bra-Burning Bitches" They just go on and on about how women are still oppressed, glass ceiling, blah blah blah.

When in truth, men are the ones undervalued in our society. Need proof? Who's graduating University? Who's getting 80s in school? Why are there no Men's Studies departments? Why is there a walk against violence against women, when men are more likely to be murdered or assaulted? Why a run for breast cancer and not one for Testicular or Prostate Cancer?

It is time to stand up for our men. And it can't be just men that stand up. They aren't allowed to stand up for their "rights". Wait a minute, have you ever heard about "men's rights"? You hear about women's rights all time. We have lost perspective, and we are losing 50% of our population.

This over attention (read: obsession) on women, and the oppression of women, women's rights, really, a lot of the post-modern feminist movement is one of the greatest myths of our time. Did the feminist movement do good things? Sure! I like that gender roles have changed which allows me to the smart women that I am, and not necessarily. Balance is always good. More women in the workforce and more men involved with child care duties makes our lives, roles and skills balanced. Not harm in that.

The problem is, the post-modern feminist movement has gone too far when we're leaving men behind. IMHO I think some of the radical feminists like it this way and like seeing men fall behind women.

Although this blog is just a small voice, I know that I am smart and that I will do great things in my time. Perhaps one day, these concerns of men being left behind becomes current/mainstream issues.

4 Comments:

Blogger TrustOnlyMulder said...

Thank you for remembering us too.

Just reading your post did wonders for my spirit as a man who tries hard, works hard, and plays hard. All in the interest of making life good for my wife and two kids.

Sun Jun 18, 05:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger BBS said...

Congratulations!

Sun Jun 18, 08:30:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. It's amazing that, with the 1950s over half a century behind us, there are still women with the waiting-for-the ring attitude out there.

Men are undervalued? Look around you, and open your eyes. Women may have equal rights, now, but it certainly wasn't at the presigious position of our society's men.

How many political leaders here in North America are females? Kim Campbell notwithstanding, neither Canada nor the United States has ever had a female leader. Big business, CEOs...still male dominated.

And to answer your question about why we dont protest violence against me: it's generally not the men of the world who have to worry about taking late night metros/busses or walking alone down a dark street. men aren't usually raped and beaten, and are rarely the victim of domestic disputes. Violence against men is generally committed by men; statistics show that, in Canada at least, the majority of stabbings, shootings and the like are the product of gang and related violence. And yes, there are movements against drug and gang violence.

Oh, and a sidepoint: Prostate cancer is one of the relatively most curable cancers, hence the lack of a movement to amass funds to cure it...breast cancer, which also affects men, at least here in the real world, is one of the deadliest, uncurable, and most common cancers.

Tue Jun 20, 03:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Spitfire said...

TrustonlyMulder,

You're welcome :-)

BBS,

Thank you again.

Anonymous,

Absolutely men are undervalued. Just look at the difference between coverage and the importance between Mother's Day and Father's Day.

Your comment about violence completely misses the point.

Men should worry about walking around dark allyways at night, because they are more likely to be assaulted (beat up, murdered, or stabbed). Violence in general is committed by men, yes. This is why we need to address the issue in understanding why.

Although men are not usually victims of rape or domestic abuse, but we have to consider the social factors that relate to this. Men are expected to be "masculine" which society believes this to include aggression, drinking alcohol, liking sports and have a high sex drive. If they are pressured to have sex or if they are being abused by their partners it is rarely reported. Also if a guy gets jumped in an ally or walking home, they are less likely to report it, while women are more likely to report crimes committed against them.

You're right that "Violence against men is generally committed by men" and violence against women is also committed by men. So why do millions in government programs going to create education and training to protect women, when men are more likely to be victims of violence.

Although domestic violence is a very serious issue, we are missing the obvious question. Why are men doing this? Instead of addressing the source: Men in our society (50% of the population) are being left behind. They are doing poorer in school, not going onto post-secondary, they are joining gangs and terrorist groups.

Instead we are more conerned about making sure there are enough women in science/engineering programs, in the military, or, as you indicated, if they are leaders of a country.

My point is that men's issues are not taken seriously. If you google the statistics about violence there are countless studies done on domestic violence, and many times the "statistics" and facts from feminist-funded groups distort the image of violence in our society.

I would give you more statistics on male-violence, but I'm at my parents house for the summer while all my books on these issues are back at my house in my school's hometown.

Tue Jun 20, 04:17:00 PM EDT  

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