Thursday, April 12, 2007

Gender Double Standard

I was sent this via email:

This message is being sent to all students, staff and faculty from the Marketing and Communications Office on behalf of the Office of Risk Management and Security:

ALERT: Peterborough and Lakefield Police advise that there have been two attempted sexual assaults and one sexual assault in the downtown area that have targeted university aged women walking alone after dark. Students are reminded to avoid walking alone after dark. If you notice anyone who appears suspicious or if you feel uncomfortable, go to a safe area - a restaurant, bus terminal - anywhere where there are people. Trust your instincts and report any suspicious activity to the police (911).

For more information on ways to exercise personal safety, see the Risk Management website:

Information released by the Peterborough Lakefield Police regarding these attacks has been posted on the Risk Management website:

For more information, please contact the Security Office, Trent University at ext. 1328.

Why is it that if there are attacks on women a special email goes out to warn us, but I get no email about men being assaulted downtown? Statistically, men are three times more likely to be victims of murder or assaults, and I'm sure Peterborough isn't any different. So why are women so special? Are women's lives more valuable? I don't know the answers to these questions, but I'm getting pretty tired of it.

The other thing that annoyed me this week was This Globe and Mail article about success in survivor breast cancer rates falling. Well gee, with a pink ribbon campaign, the ability to buy a blender in pink, runs for breast cancer and comedy skits and public service announcements about mammograms, there is no wonder that the rates of fallen. This is a great thing, don't get me wrong, but can we say the same about screening rates for colorectal or prostate cancer?

When give all this attention to women's issues such as violence or disease, men's issues are forgotten. Forget Status of Women groups. Women are not a minority in university classrooms or the work place anymore. If anything, the status of men is in decline, and while some feminists would argue this is a good thing to balance things out from the past, I would argue that our men are being left behind. Our husbands, sons and nephews need just as much attention to health and violence, but unfortunately this isn't happening.


Blogger Canadi-anna said...

I can't agree with you here.

Men might be victims of random crime more often than women, but sexual assault is not a random crime. When a pattern is established that suggests there is a rapist in a particular area, an alert goes out for two reasons -- first to protect the police (who could be sued if they knew there was a potential serial rapist and the public wasn't warned) and secondly to protect potential victims, who could prevent victimization based on a warning.

Men who are victims of random crimes are victims of random crimes. Unlike rape, the criminal is not likely targeting in the same way. It really is a matter of opportunity. Although, police will issue a warning if it seems a mugger is following a pattern.

As for all the pink ribbons etc. Do a little research into the speed with which funding for men's health problems receive, into the speed with which drugs for men are approved etc.
Viagra received lightning fast approval compared to other drug that might have actually benefitted womens' health.
Women who have a heart attack are far more likely to die than men. Why? Because their ER treatment differs.

I am the farthest thing from a feminist, but sometimes fair isn't fair and specialized treatment for one gender over the other in specific circumstances just makes sense.

Mon Apr 16, 03:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Spitfire said...


I definitely see your point about the notion of a pattern. I also agree that it's sad that so much money goes into men's reproductive health instead of other, arguably, more important aspects of one's health. And when something comes out for women's reproductive health like the cervical cancer vaccine, everyone seems all up in arms about giving girls a green light to be permiscuous. Clearly the difference between Viagara and the vaccine is an issue of age as well.

I guess my point is that solving problems such as crime needs a joint effort not favoring one gender because solving "violence against women" means addressing issues of aggression and masculinity in men, not just demonizing them.

Mon Apr 16, 04:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jordan Alcock said...

I think the reason attacks on men don't get as much attention is because we are thought to be able to protect ourselves better. Also, I tend to think we bring it on ourselves a bit more often; most of us stand up against attackers(that whole male pride thing?). And I think the targeting point is a valid one.

As for this health funding crap.. and it is crap. Prostate Cancer is a perfect example of how men's health issues get zero attention. It took a major grass-roots campaign for standard prostate testing to be included in OHIP, and it still isn't covered in some provinces; although mammograms are in all cases.
Even heart problems, which are a massive men's health issue, has gained increased attention since it became apparent that women died more often when they had heart attacks(although the rates are lower overall).

Drug approval is simply determined by testing; and Viagra was market-driven; so the companies who produce products like this will put additional funds into producing and testing these drugs because the returns are greater; in turn they end up with additional revenue for other projects.

Seriously, when was the last time you ever saw attention given to a men's health issue? Despite the fact that our life expectency remains significantly lower...

You made a fantastic point; and one of the biggest problems I find is that when it's a crime against a woman by a man... it's violence against women. But if it's crime against a man by a woman, its just a crime. Crime is crime; vilifying one gender is not acurate or fair - and in fact, I think there's a pretty strong argument that doing so is creating MORE male on female crime... Certainly you're seeing an increasingly angry young male population who feels belittled at every turn.

Post secondary, with 60% women, yet there are still women-only scholarships(but every scholarship open to men is offered to women as well).

Anyone who underestimates how alienated males in our country are begining to feel needs their heads checked; or they need to talk to some men... because there are certainly a good deal of us who feel like there's a big attack on men going on(although its not horrible yet.. it seems to be getting worse.)

Great post! And I hope you enjoy the city, it's a great one!

Tue Apr 17, 08:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Canadi-anna said...

Spitfire, you're absolutely right about men being demonized. I've always hated the maudlin display of anti-male propaganda on December 6. Violence period should be condemned -- not violence against one group.
When they condemn violence against women so loudly, like you, I tend to think 'what? Violence against men is okay?'

Tue Apr 17, 11:01:00 PM EDT  

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