In the Blog

WARNING: Feminism gives you cancer!

March 30th, 2007     by Zoe Cormier     Comments

I haven’t seen any mention of it in the Canadian media, but here in the UK (where I am now based) the media have picked up on a study out of Sweden that found a link between gender equality and health - mainly that couples who have an equal partnership (ie tend to earn the same income and share household chores) are more likely to suffer poor health and disability. And the media’s spin on the study is both laughable and sickening.

Take this article from The Daily Mail - written by a woman, no less (I’m sure the editors wanted to make the piece more palatable to the public) - entitled, “Why feminism ‘could be bad for your health’”:

“For years, feminists have fought for equality, believing it is the key to a better society. Now researchers have found that parity between the sexes may be bad for your health. A study in Sweden, arguably one of the most egalitarian countries in the world, discovered that men and women who are equal are more likely to suffer illness or disability. Those who earn the same are also more likely to become unwell or suffer a disability.”

Man. Can you smell that? It smells like bullshit.

What we have here ladies is a classic case of correlation, not causation. It is probably statistically true that couples in equal income households have higher rates of illness and disability. The reason is simple: people with higher paying jobs - like educated, self-sufficient, self-respecting feminists - tend to work harder, sleep less and have higher levels of stress and anxiety - all bad for your health. This is a pretty simple relationship to understand - but sometimes folks at the printer’s press just can’t help themselves from vilifying feminists.

This certainly isn’t the first time feminism has been wrongfully convicted for a crime it did not commit. Feminism has also been cited as a cause of breast cancer, because ‘feminists’ (I’m using the term loosely to refer to working women of all stripes) have higher rates of breast cancer than traditional stay-at-home moms. Again, the reason is simple: working women choose to delay having children until they are older, which is known to increase your risk of developing breast cancer (conversely, having children younger lowers it - it’s purely biological). Similarly, anti-abortion activists often claim that abortions cause breast cancer. Again, it’s a case of correlation, not causation - women who choose to have abortions and delay (or abstain from) having kids have higher rates of breast cancer. Abortions don’t cause breast cancer and neither does feminism.

So be wary of people who misconstrue the meaning of science and statistics to further their agendas, ladies. The world is rife with bullshit, and you have to keep your eyes peeled - lest you step right in it.

For a fantastic piece that describes how the media reported on this Swedish study, and which outlines some of the outrageous attacks on feminism in the last fifty years, check out this piece in The Guardian by British writer Zoe Williams. I highly recommend you read it - she’s funny and no-nonsense (just what I like in a feminist). Here’s an excerpt I find particularly funny:

“So, there you have it. Feminism causes cancer. According to American journalist, Naomi Schaefer Riley, it also makes you more likely to be raped and murdered because feminists go out in the evenings and drink more than we should. (And, laughably, we think that whatever we wear and wherever we go, yes means yes and no means no. Idiots.)”


Tags: media savvy, news flash

« Just Because it Made Me feel good today…

Shameless welcomes new editor at launch party! »