Husbands Need Wives…28 October 2009
This month in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a number of billboards went up in town, featuring homely looking men and reading simply, “Husbands Need Wives.” It got the whole town buzzing.
A pro-family message? An anti-divorce message? Something to do with peace among the sexes? A traditionalist message? Or something progressive? Everyone was stirred up by them. Within a couple of weeks even the gay rights activists had contacted the newspaper, anticipating some manner of discrimination afoot.
The punchline came out later this month. “Husbands Need Wives… to Get an Annual Mammogram.” It is breast cancer awareness month, after all. The billboards were funded by Avera McKennan Hospital, and their spokesman assured everyone that there were no subliminal messages intended in the billboards (there was, he reminded everyone, a billboard reading, “Boys Need Mothers.” Men simply need to get invested in the health of their wives, especially when it comes to breast cancer.
Kudos to Avera McKennan on this one. Aside from staging the most successful publicity ad campaign in Sioux Falls years, they also managed to get men invested in women’s health. More specifically, they opened up the door for men to talk with women about breast health. Admittedly, it’s difficult for us men to dialogue about this. Mentioning this intimate body part seems to be socially inappropriate. Talking about breasts this was also seems to demystify them; men can admire them or even giggle about them, but discussing metastasis of cancer cells in them seems unholy in every way.
But the truth is that breast cancer is an unholy reality. My aunt’s early death is just one example of this most unwelcomed fact. Men need their these women in their lives. And women need their men to be committed and aware.