Heart Disease and The New Sexism

During America’s pre-1960s racism, society focused almost exclusively on improving life for whites, even though blacks as a group were far worse off. 

Individual whites, including those in the media, engaged in this racism because all other whites were engaging in it. When the majority practices racism, it not only excuses each individual’s racism, but puts a stamp of approval on it. It makes the individual’s racism seem acceptable and okay. It permits each individual to avoid even having to think about it. 

Similar to this old racism is today’s new sexism: 

When it comes to heart disease (and 14 other leading causes of death: males on page 12, females on page 23), society has become almost exclusively focused on women, even though men as a group — especially black men — are far more vulnerable to the disease in every age bracket. Even thousands of men, including many male doctors such as CNN’s Sanjay Gupta and ABC TV’s Dr. Oz, take part in the fight against women’s heart disease but not against men’s. How many women campaign against the disease in the group that is actually more at risk? How many reports, commentaries, and editorials on women’s heart disease speak as if men literally did not exist? 

For years it has been politically incorrect to even talk about men’s heart disease. How does that differ from it being politically incorrect to not talk about, say, blacks’ lower economic standing?

If you don’t think that’s sexism, what would you call it if women on average developed heart disease ten years sooner than men, incurred 70% to 89% of the sudden cardiac events, died of heart disease at a higher rate at every age, and everyone focused on men’s heart disease? 

Individual women and men, including those in the media, engage in this sexism because almost all other women and men are engaging in it. When the majority practices sexism, it not only excuses each individual’s sexism, but approves of it. It makes the individual’s sexism seem acceptable and okay. It permits each individual to avoid even having to think about it. 

Please — stop the sexism. 

See: 

“Women’s Advocates Wrong About Why More Women Than Men Die of Heart Disease” 

Men’s heart disease is far worse than women’s but gets far less attention”

“Health Disparites Persist for Men, and Doctors Ask Why”

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