Saturday, April 17, 2010

Yet Another Example of How the Media Considers Men The Disposable Sex

When women are "underrrepresented" in science, Time does a cover story calling for redress.

When women are "underrepresented" in high-level corporate positions, Time calls for redress.

But when men are "underrepresented"--in the most important category of all: whether they live (Men live 5.4 years shorter than women, dying earlier of 9 of the 10 leading causes of death), what does Time do? Routinely write about women's health., e.g, this week's TimeHealth: The Advocates, described in that issue's table of contents as: "Our latest wellness checkup surveys the state of women's health."

I searched Time 's archive for the last 50 years on the term "men's health" and found 34 listings. I then searched on "women's health" and found 148--that's 470% as many articles on women's health, even though men die 5.4 years younger.

Why the double standard? Because men visit the doctor less often? Would that justify not focusing on women who are, for example, obese?


Anonymous said...

Given the extensive disparities between mortality in whites and nonwhites, doesn't the logic of this post imply that nonwhites are disposable?

Where is the outrage over high blood pressure and diabetes which contribute so much to the much-shorter lives of nonwhites?

I've seriously never seen that addressed in a main blog post here. I've seen the blog flog the men/women lifespan issue plenty of times.

Marty Nemko said...

We must read different things. I've seen much more coverage of the racial disparity and indeed much money specifically allocated to minority health--e.g., AIDS research and outreach to the Black community.

What the media covers is merely symptomatic of the larger problem. Despite men dying younger, a review of Pub Med (which indexes 3,000 medical journals) finds that over the last sixty years, there are 43 citations with the keyword "women's health" for every ONE with the keyword "men's health."

Anonymous said...

My guess - and this is just a guess - is that articles focus on women because on a personal level, women are more likely to take action to change their health behaviors and have more curiosity about the causes of their health problems, which is interesting because men still constitute the majority of leading scientists. I've seen many families where the wife is basically in charge of ensuring her husband takes his medicine, eats some vegetables and exercises, while the husband has a "hands off" approach to his own health.

Marty Nemko said...

Anonymous, if that were the case, there'd be a plethora of articles on how women can help their husbands take better care of their health. The only health-related articles I've seen related to women and their husbands is how women can more quickly and successfully move on after their husbands die.


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