Misandry in Health Promotion:

by Davd

Accidental or Not, Men Shouldn’t Support It… In fairness, even women shouldn’t.

As winter entered its last month, i decided to check on some advice i’d heard, to totally avoid saturated fats. It seemed likely to me that like most absolutely-worded statements, that advice exaggerated somewhat; so i searched for evidence of the possible positives of small amounts, as well as the negatives of large intakes, and also for upper-limits. One of the websites to which DuckDuckGo search engine pointed me, wore the name of the American Heart Association. I chose to read that site early-on, because the “AHA” had a reputable image. What they posted about fats, lowered that reputation in my eyes:

“…how well do you really know the fats? Here’s your chance to get better acquainted with the Fats family: the Bad Fats Brothers and the Better Fats Sisters. … . . .
“Click on the links below to meet the Bad Fats Brothers, Sat and Trans, and the Better Fats Sisters, Mon and Poly. Find out what they’re like and where they hang out to help you decide how much you want them as your friends.”

The graphics showed the “brothers” as slobs compared to the “sisters”.
To me, that’s seriously misandric personification. The day before i read it, i was carefully reading margarine labels at the Co-Op store, and chose to pay more per volume and per gram of fat, to buy a brand and type with less saturated and trans fat. Why, i ask, was that choice female-stereotyped?

Last time i went to the can [and all the other times], i was still male-after choosing and eating margarines with less saturated and trans fat for years. Those stereotypes are misrepresenting me, and i not only resent it, i consider it a discouragement of healthy practice. They imply to me that as a male, i should normally be eating “bad fats”. They are associating “bad” with male and “better” with female-which has an uncomfortable parallel with false stereotypes about domestic violence.

If perchance, men have higher mean percentage intakes of “bad” fats (and i do not know if men do or not-i seem to notice more very-obese women than men in public places), is it good health-promotion to reinforce that by stereotyping “bad fats” as male? Not by my understanding of implicit messaging: Saying that “bad fats” are male-normal food, is telling men it’s male-normal to eat them.

That page is also linking “bad” with men and “better” with women. If the genders were reversed-if the “bad fats” were the sisters and the “better fats” were the brothers-would the Feminists bless it? Would they tolerate it? I sure doubt it!

I wondered, but i don’t have the information to determine, if the decision to make both bad fats male and both “better fats” female, represents cultural misandry, personal malice, or both. Does the American Heart Association, or some element in its promotional or website department, slyly want men to die younger? or even feel inferior? or is the misandry of that something they picked up from the surrounding culture. There is, after all, the old Nursery Rhyme:

What are little girls made of?
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and everything nice,
That’s what little girls are made of.

What are little boys made of?
What are little boys made of?
Snakes and snails and puppy-dogs’ tails,
That’s what little boys are made of.

If perchance, that bad-male-fat, good-female-fat stereotype be something they picked up from the surrounding culture, they should put it down, forthwith-in both senses of that phrase. They should stop carrying it, and since it is an inanimate collection of cartoon graphics and computer code which cannot suffer, they should “put it down” in the sense of killing it, abruptly rather than nicely.

“Bad fats” are not male; they are found in cows as well as bulls, in ewes as well as rams, in sows as well as boars (and by analogy to our species, we’d estimate those fats to be a higher percentage of body mass in the females).* Some of those “bad fats” are dairy products-and the animals who produce milk are females.

Meanwhile, i’m not donating money to “charities” that promote implicit or explicit misandry, knowingly or accidentally:  Misandry is not charitable. I don’t even read that old nursery rhyme to my grandchildren.

If enough of us refused to donate to misandric “charities”, they might well be influenced. Any organization with the intellectual capacity to assess medical research, ought to be able to make one “bad fat” and one “better fat” cartoon character of each sex-or perhaps, substitute a more grown-up, scientifically informative style of writing.

What might this world come to, if men generally respected and affirmed what’s good in boys and men, affirmed the equality of the sexes when in doubt, and demanded that public charities and public agencies do likewise? Better than what we got, brothers, that seems rather certain…. and enjoy that smoked salmon on rye-whole grain and very good fat*.

* Fats in fish are high in omega-3, which tends to be scarce in modern diets. Much of the “bad fat” in meat comes from neutered animals, to be a little more exact about it: Steers, porkers and wethers are castrated before being fed to slaughter-weight. (Did i read somewhere that castrated animals put on more [bad] fat-so as to makes the meat more tender-and thus, that “bad fat” in fact is increased by taking the maleness from meat animals?)

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About Davd

Davd Martin (Ph.D., 1966, Sociology) has been a professor, a single parent on a low income from a small commercial herb garden, and editor of _Ecoforestry_. His men's-interest essays and blogs have appeared on "The Spearhead" "A Voice for Men", and "False Rape Society", as well as this site.
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