Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Special" Health Concerns

The NIH's "health screening" page for men aged 18-39:

"All adults should visit their health care provider from time to time, even if they are healthy. The purpose of these visits is to:
Screen for diseases
Assess risk of future medical problems
Encourage a healthy lifestyle
Update vaccinations
Maintain a relationship with a doctor in case of an illness"

The NIH's "women's health checkup" page:

"Regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They also can help find problems early, when your chances for treatment are better. As a woman, you need some special exams and screenings. During your checkup, your health care provider will usually do:

A pelvic exam - an exam to check if internal female organs are normal by feeling their shape and size.

A Pap test - a test to check for cancer of the cervix, the opening to a woman's uterus. Cells from the cervix are prepared so they can be seen under a microscope.

A clinical breast exam - to check for breast cancer by feeling and looking at your breasts.

Your health care provider may also recommend other tests, including a mammogram or a test for HPV."(emphasis added)

Because unlike all adults, women, being women, have special health needs. As opposed to men, who have Ken doll privates and, thus, possess no need for learning about HPV, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, hernias, or even breast cancer.

Seriously though, many men are incredibly resistant to admitting that men are treated as the default human being. And yet, this "men are human while women are women" narrative seems to operate as both a blessing and a curse for them.

Oftentimes, the word "gender" implies "woman, a variation of the human norm." Men are de-sexed, as though gender, gender roles, stereotyping, and disease have absolutely no gendered impact on men as men.

In this way, women are presented as Other, our deviations from the male norm presented as "special." Meanwhile, men's experiences as men are either treated as some sort of universal human norm and, absurdly, erased as being in any way relevant to sex or gender.

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