A great many people concerned with equality (not to mention cancer) have been deeply disturbed by the conduct of Cancer Research UK and their sexist Race for Life. I'm sure I don't' have to tell you that the race is a female only event where men are banned from taking part. We're not talking about mere segregation here with separate events for the two genders at the same time, it's a completely blatant exclusion of 49% of the population.
Until recently CRUK also ran a half hearted attempt at involving men called "Run for Moore" but quite frankly it was doomed from the start given the institutionalised sexism which runs throughout the organisation and the fact the event was clearly an afterthought rather than anything CRUK ever had any commitment to. This year the inevitable has happened and CRUK have abandoned any pretence of trying to involve men by giving up on Run for Moore completely.
If we had a more enlightened attitude to gender equality in this country then Race For Life would have long ago been declared illegal. Events in other countries aimed at appealing to women or focusing on mostly female cancers generally do not bother being so petty as to ban men. Regrettably one of Harriet Harman's last acts before finally getting kicked out of office was to sneak in explicit legalisation of Race for Life misandry in the "Equality" Bill, though such legislation is at least an acknowledgement that CRUK were previously on extremely shaky ground indeed with regards to their treatment of men over the last 15 years.
Not only is CRUK's sexist in it's fundraising activities of course, it also fails to fund research into male cancer sufficiently, instead spending far more money on female only conditions. There is now increasingly widespread awareness that our society's obsession with breast cancer is having a hugely detrimental effect on all other cancer suffers and it's now fair to say that men and pretty much anyone suffering from any less fashionable form of the disease is now effectively a second class citizen.
So many other people are doing so much great work in taking CRUK to task over their sexism and this has previously meant I've not bothered writing anything new about the organisation as quite frankly I didn't have much to add to my previous piece. Regrettably they have now stooped to a new low and spurred me into writing once again.
Incredibly CRUK have begun a campaign of objectifying men on their website as a way of promoting their sexist Race for Life events. Visitors to the website (mostly women of course) are invited to meet CRUK's "Race for Life hotties" in the organisation's "E-male" app where they get to choose who they wish to perform for them. Women then gets to personalise the sex object of their choice with CRUK kindly inviting them to take ownership of him and "make him yours". Visitors then finally get to see a video of "their" "hottie" stripping off his shirt and going topless (note I won't be linking to the content as I do not wish to promote sexism nor the charity concerned).
Now I want to make it clear I'm not some some prudish, anti-sex "Object" style fanatic here. I don't have any problem with sex or nudity and we live in a free society where men are woman are quite rightly able to parade around half naked and do whatever they wish with their bodies for whatever reason. Sex sells and I accept that.
The CRUK campaign is certainly at the very worst end of the scale in terms of bad taste and the double standards of a lack of female "hotties" arguably makes things even worse. However the real reason such content is so objectionable is because it's a part of the wider campaign of genuinely harmful sexism and exclusion by a genuinely discriminatory organisation who really should be helping everyone. We're not talking about some random inconsequential top shelf magazine printing questionable content. CRUK is a hugely influential and powerful organisation, it's the UK's biggest cancer charity supposed to be responsible for finding cures for diseases that kill millions and helping countless cancer sufferers.
As we noted above CRUK has deliberately excluded men from it's biggest events for well over a decade now. It's then refuses to give sufficient funding to male cancers and ultimately fails to engage with men and get the interested in the issue of cancer, despite themselves admitting men are the biggest suffers of the disease and have the worst outcomes by some distance. CRUK now adds to its sexism by parading topless men all over it's website in something akin to a Nevada brothel style line up.
This isn't first such objectification of men by CRUK either, the organisation has history here as you can see from this breast cancer "awareness" video (warning it's even more tasteless than the Race for Life "hotties" videos ). Once again there is no corresponding video where a male figure of authority molests a semi nude female in the name of prostate cancer awareness.
These videos sum up the philosophy of CRUK and its Race for Life and shows just how sexist the charity has now become. Divisive environments only concerned with one gender or openly hostile the other no only alienate the other half the population, but can makes issues such as objectification more acceptable and therefore more likely. How on earth can men become concerned with cancer when all the messages about the subject in our society are delivered in bold pink writing accompanied blatantly sexist women-only rules and topless men presented as sex objects? Respected author Brian Clegg tells us that just because Race for Life is for a good cause, it doesn't' justify discrimination. Similarly, it doesn't justify tasteless objectification of those CRUK is already discriminating against in all their work either.
On a more positive note these videos do at least further prove all along what we've all suspected about CRUK. If it were in any doubt before, it's safe to say we're now clearly at a stage where the organisation is a lost cause. Please do not donate to such sexist organsiaitons instead support one of the many far better, charities and unfashionable causes out there who survive on tiny budgets without demeaning or discriminating against anyone.
by John Kimble