The World of Eve’s Daughters – No Place for Adam and his Sons: Part II


To begin, James (Jim) Steiger started this email discussion thus;

Is Modern Medicine Sexist?

Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000 12:04:58 -0700

From: “James H. Steiger” <steiger @ UNIXG.UBC.CA>

Subject: The Sexism of Modern Medicine Some facts on modern medicine, forwarded to me by a colleague on another list. These types of facts should be dealt with in any rational discussion on the alleged “sexism” and “anti-female” bias of modern medicine:”

With properly referenced and credible sources he, shows the clear disparity in health funding between women’s health issues and men’s such as;

“Government spending:

The National Institute of Health spends 10 percent of its budget on women’s health issues and 5 percent on men’s health issues. (1)

“The National Cancer Institute directed $1.8 billion toward breast cancer research and $376 million to prostate cancer research projects.” (3)

“The government spends $250 for each man diagnosed with prostate cancer and about $2,000 for each death, according to the American Foundation for Urologic Disease.  It spends $3,000 on every woman diagnosed with breast cancer and $12,000 for each death.” (3)

“The Department of Defense spent “about $20 million for prostate cancer research and $455 million on breast cancer research from 1993 through 1996.” (3)”

 Naturally enough, Jim got responses, and again naturally enough, those responses were from women, and women with feminist “leanings”

 The first is from: Jenea Tallentire, PhD student, History, University of British Columbia, Canada.

Jenea decides to take the “yeah fine, whatever, what about the women” default stance whenever the issue of men’s health is addressed – in comparison to women’s – especially if it is specifically about funding and prevalence.

“These stats are really interesting and show better funding for some areas of women’s health than I thought. They do not, of course, speak at all to the interpersonal aspects of medicine, which includes the treatment of women by their doctors, hospital staff, and specialists. Women’s experience in this area has been shown to be very often exclusionary, discriminatory, and dismissive in comparison to men’s.”

 Next up was, Linda A. Bernhard, PhD, RN, Associate Professor, Nursing & Women’s Studies, from The Ohio State University. Linda gets straight down to it. Any mention of male health issues is a “backlash against women’s health

“James, The statistics you present are important statistics, but taken out of context, statistics can be used to make any case.  I see these statistics, unfortunately, taken out of context, as a form of backlash against women’s health.  There is much more to sexism in medicine than these statistics. However, I agree with you, that a balanced presentation should be a part of any rational discussion.”

 Linda even plays the innocent, by conceding (slightly) that men’s health issues deserve as much attention as women’s health, but does that feminist thing of pretending that it has nothing to do with feminist manoeuvres that block funding for men’s health issues.

“There should be enough money for health care research on both women and men; we shouldn’t have to compete for it.”

The next response is from Margaret E. Kosal, Department of Chemistry, School of Chemical Sciences, University of Illinois, and Margaret decides to really go for it, she writes a really long response, taking James “statistics” one by one and flimflamming her way through them till she gets to this,

“i can’t find any source supporting your colleague’s assertion of _dramatic_monetary disparity in funding. There is some evidence to support to his assertion that breast cancer received more research dollars: according to the American Cancer Society’s “Trends in Research Funding in Selected Priority Areas FY 1998-1999” breast cancer research received (from the ACS) $16,407,000 while prostate cancer research received $6,364,000; yes, research with nominal association/application to breast cancer did receive more funding, during the fiscal year 1998-99, from the ACS.  i need more information to draw a rational conclusion as to the origin of this apparent disparity in funding.”

 As you can see, Margaret has a bit of a problem capitalising, she also has a problem recognising when she contradicts herself – by stating she “can’t find any source”, then producing a source. Herself. Which clearly shows a “dramatic disparity in funding” now math is not my strong suit, but isn’t $16,407,000 more than twice as much as $6,364,00? Just how big a disparity I wonder does there have to be before Margaret actually sees this “apparent disparity in funding”?

 Pauline B. Bart <pbart @ UCLA.EDU> is next, she goes for the anecdotal approach, and introduces the core issues of women’s health, which naturally enough have not been ever given the attention or treated with the serious they deserve.

“Sexism in gynecology textbooks was demonstrated in a paper i wrote with Diana Scully, “A Funny Thing Happenned on the Way to the Orifice: Women in Gynecology Textbooks ”  Amer. Jnl Sociology, 78,4, Jan, l973 and reprinted in other publications.

Lennane and Lennane wrote in a medical journal (I don’t have the cite) the pain in childbirth, menstrual cramps, neausea during pregnancy and colicky babies were all caused by the mother’s not accepting her maternal role (the article is a critique)”

 Margaret Duncombe, Sociology, Colorado College, mduncombe  @ decides that issues of disparity in funding between men’s health and women’s health are not worth addressing at all, in favour of focusing on something mentioned by Pauline Bart.

 “Addresssing the rates of mortality by sex, there is a disparity since conception.  More males are conceived than females, 120 to 100 as I recall, but at birth the ratio is 106 to 100.  There appears to be some biological diference in the fetus.  it has nothing to do with sexism.  Male mortality rates are greater than females later and throughout life .  Part of it seems biological, continuing the trend when a fetus, combined with, according the the people I have read on this issue, greater male risk taking behavior-smoking, hard drinking, guns.  Class of course is relevant. Both working class men and women work in more polluted environments.”

 Needless to say, neither one of them are interested in the causes of greater male mortality, either as a fetus, or as adults, the implication as you can see fromMargaret being that – if men die sooner that women, it is basically their own fault.  This is what Margaret wants to know.

“Addresssing the rates of mortality by sex, there is a disparity since > conception.  More males are conceived than females, 120 to 100 as I > recall, but at birth the ratio is 106 to 100.

 I share Pauline’s understanding that more males are conceived, but I’ve been asked to document how I know this, and while I have found several reports that repeat the “fact,” I have not been able to to find a citation that provides the evidence, including a discussion of the methodology that allows us to know about conceptions.  If anyone has a citation for the documentation, I’d be grateful.  Please post to me privately, and I’ll compile a post to the list if there is interest.  Thanks.”

 Obviously I’m speculating here, but I can almost hear both Pauline and Margaret saying with regard to the higher mortality rate of males, both as fetus’s and as adults – “big deal, who cares

Then James (H. Steiger) answers.

“However, I know of no one who would deny that women get the bulk of the gender-specific funding.”

 I think I can help you out there James – FEMINISTS – would, did, and continue to do so. Then probably in the most important paragraph in his answer, hits the nail right on the head.

“4. Men have a lower life expectancy than women. Pauline Bart points out that male fetuses and infants seem “naturally” more vulnerable than female, that part of the lower life expectancy for men relates to their vastly higher death rates in industrial accidents, wars, and stress related diseases.

Bart doesn’t seem at all concerned about this, and isn’t demanding vast amounts of funding to “cure” this “problem” which, indeed, might well be solvable by modern medicine.

Her response reflects another reality, and a curious double standard — the lack of sensitivity of a “male-dominated” culture *and its feminist critics* to male injury. Women are fully complicit in this.”

 Women with the connivance of feminists simply could care less about male health issues, in fact could care less about MEN and boys, all the while whining and demanding more and more attention be paid, more and more funding be directed at “real” health issues – cramps and colicky babies.

 To illustrate his point he suggests that funding be “shared” between men’s and women’s health issues and according to him the response he got from an official is telling.

“In Canada, for example, there are organizations with substantial funding that correspond with women to remind them to have periodic mammography exams. These mammography exams are funded by the socialized medicine system. They are free. On the other hand, there is no such program for PSA exams for men, and the exams are not funded. Moreover, there is no plan to fund them in the near future.

 As one (male) government official told me, “There is no money.” When I suggested splitting the funding currently used for mammography, and having men and women each pay half the cost of their exams, he remarked “frankly Jim, that would be political suicide.

 The next response comes from M. Charlene Ball, Administrative Coordinator Women’s Studies Institute Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia,

 Two things to note, first her email address, and second, what she sees as the problem.

“I see this as part of the overall patriarchial system.  It’s partly the results of assuming that women and men should be opposites.  The obverse of the strong, silent man is, of course, the vulnerable, disease-prone woman. These are stereotypes, of course. But they affect all our thinking.”

 “Ending patriarchial systems would benefit men *as humans.* It would take away their power over others, but it would restore them to their full humanity.  It would enable them to be human, and to be seen as simply human, with bodies that can suffer, that have needs (in addition to the sexual) instead of being seen by themselves and other as they so often are now seen, as machines.”

C’mon, you all knew someone was going to say the “P” word! 

I have only one thing to say about this, if the problem was “part of the overall patriarchial system” wouldn’t the majority of health funding be going to bloody men? What with MEN only ever doing things FOR men? Conspiring to deprive women of the resources they need?

 Which is patently NOT happening. Naturally being a feminist Charlene has to pop in a disclaimer, absolving feminism of all complicity in………..well in anything………bad.

“What we need is more education about women’s and men’s specific medical needs.  You are right that many of men’s vulnerabilities have been ignored or given short shrift.  However, I can’t say that that is the result of feminism.  I stil believe that feminist thinking holds a corrective to the problem, and is not the problem itself.”

 Jenea Tallentire, the PhD student, History, University of British Columbia, Canada, comes back with a classic feminist response.

 Shades of withcraft, of hocus pocus and of Malleus Malefecarum

“The characterization of the era before the male medical professional as a time of howling ignorance is incorrect. I would argue that the knowledge-base in much of gynaecology – techniques, contraceptives – was not built by men at all.

 Most basic gyn. practice (with the exception of the use of iron tongs to extract infants from the womb) in the West originated with female midwives through the medieval/early modern European era and were copied and claimed by the rising male medical professional through the 18thand 19th centuries.”

 Of course, like all feminists she ignores historical fact (which is odd considering her area of expertise – history?) as to the cause of high mortality in childbirth, Peurperal Fever as it was called, and conveniently ignores that it was studied, researched and finally was discovered how to prevent and treat it by MEN.

“Towards the end of the period under consideration here, two physicians, one in the United States of America and one in Hungary, produced work that was later to be regarded as seminal in the understanding of what is now seen as the infectious nature of puerperal fever. In 1843, Oliver Wendell Holmes published ‘The contagiousness of puerperal fever’ in the New England Quarterly Journal of Medicine and Surgery,160 and in 1860 Ignaz Semmelweis published work, which he had first embarked on about fifteen years earlier, as The etiology, concept and prophylaxis of childbed fever.161

In 1850, at the very end of the period under study here, James Young Simpson contributed further to the understanding of the infectious nature of this disease, by recognizing its similarities to “surgical fever”.162 These writers have not been given prominence in the present paper, partly because their writings do not appear to have been given great attention by their own contemporaries.

Although they may have been received with interest, particularly during the later part of the period, when there was a growing recognition that puerperal fever could be transmitted by birth attendants, their theories formed only one, rather marginal element within contemporary writings. Far greater emphasis appears to have been given to theories of the origin of the fever itself, which was seen as a constitutional disorder, most commonly arising from within the organism and only rarely invading from outside.”

 But she is correct in one respect, child birthing was for a long time seen as a “woman’s” occupation, and child birth attendants were mostly women, and it was the unsanitary practices of these “midwives” and child birth attendants that in effect caused Peurperal Fever.  A little knowledge is indeed a dangerous thing, in the hands of feminists.

The person who she and all other feminists who laud this ancient craft of midwifery need to thank Ignaz Semmelweis for finally discovering the cause and instigating the simplest preventative measure – washing your hands.

Janea in typical female and feminist fashion has a little rant about these women and;  

“Their vilification as incompetents or even deviants was carried out here in much the same manner as Europe, when male professionals moved into the area and hospitals were pushed as the only source of knowledge and safe practices.”

 Actually, left in the hands of these women, other women would still be dying in childbirth, still following the insane practices of nutcases like the Holy Hormones and dancing like nitwits under the light of the moon, worshiping the Goddess within – sigh.

 During this email exchange, rather than discuss any of the issues James raises, all the female responses are exercises in dissembling, in ignoring the disparity of health funding between men’s and women’s health issues, in favour of singing that favourite song of feminists and women everyone – “what about the women”

While this exchange took place 14 years ago, and the feminists were relatively civil, much has changed, funding levels for men’s health has been cut, and feminists have become more vicious in blocking and preventing funding for men’s health issues.


© Anja Eriud 2014


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tony Smyth
    Feb 20, 2014 @ 13:44:03

    The problem with this ‘women-outlive-men’ idea is that it only started happening in the 1840’s – concidentally at the exact point in time that modern medicine became effective. For the preceding 8 million years or so of human evolution – when there were no doctors, no antiseptics, etc – men outlived women. Testosterone is a kind of natural antibiotic, which is why men (at least ‘in the wild’) are so much more resistant to infection than women – and it’s why men secrete it when gearing up for dangerous activities.


    • Anja Eriud
      Feb 20, 2014 @ 14:36:14

      Hello and Welcome Tony

      Now that is an interesting perspective, and one I have not thought of before, so thank you for broadening not just my own perspective but adding another layer of understanding to draw from.

      Especially when as MHRA’s, we try to educate, inform and present alternative paradigms to disabuse and debunk the default feminist one that has corrupted and distorted our understanding of ourselves as Human Beings.

      Many thanks Tony.




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