Go Red for Sexism

Last year I wrote about the pointlessness of “awareness” campaigns like National Go Red Day, which was last Friday and was part of the Go Red for Women campaign. I also noted that the campaign is sexist since it is a heart disease awareness campaign specifically for women despite the fact that heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women. Granted, the Go Red for Women Sexism campaign claims that research from 2003 revealed “actually killed more women than men”; on the other hand, the CDC cites a more recent study from 2009 which found that more than half of deaths due to heart disease were in men. Either way, sexism is the only reason not to include men if you’re going to go through all the trouble of launching a nationwide awareness campaign complete with a fundraiser and a shop full of merchandise.

It turns out I’m not the only one who recognizes the sexism in the Go Red for Women campaign. A female cardiologist posted a comment on reddit arguing that the Go Red for Women campaign is sexist and harmful to boys and men. She writes that Go Red for Women leaflets distributed at her son’s high school mentioned heart disease prevention only for women and were only given to girls. The result was that

It left a very bad impression on the students-a few boys were left with the impression that men didn’t get heart attacks or heart disease, and only had to worry about cancer.

She also gives some statistics on heart disease for men vs. women:

The average age for a first heart attack in men is about 64. For women, the average age for first heart attack is about 73. About 40% of men will suffer a heart attack in their lifetime. For women, this number is 15%. The average age of death from all heart disease is 70 for men. For women, it’s 84. 21% of men over the age 65 have Coronary heart disease. This number is 10% for women.

She unpacks the claim that heart disease kills more women than men despite these statistics:

The simple fact is that so many more men than women die before the age of 70, that there simply aren’t enough men left to die in heart disease at equal numbers with women. More women die of heart disease in old age simply because there are more women who reach old age in the first place. Men still have higher rates of heart disease at all ages, and are more likely to die of heart disease at all ages.

The Go Red for Women campaign is highly sexist and based on misleading statistics and/or outright lies — which sounds (and reeks) like feminism.

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One thought on “Go Red for Sexism

  1. I don’t know how anyone can see the ‘for women’ part in the explanation of what Go Red is about and NOT think it’s sexist. Maybe I just took off the blinders b/c of so many Karen Straughan videos or something. I mentioned it at work and people just started rationalizing.

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