Tatas, “second base“, Hooters, Boobs, Boobies, Jugs, etc… - you’ve all heard them - those familiar slang terms referring to our female breasts. Many breast cancer organizations now use these words in their company names, campaigns or fundraising. There is no question that catchy references to our feminine parts attracts attention. BUT - is raising breast cancer awareness by grabbing people’s attention with sexual terms the right approach? Is promoting awareness with “I (heart) boobies” and the accompanying controversy helping or hurting our cause? Does watching men parade around in bras for charity events really send the right message? Or has the “branding” of breast cancer awareness gone just a bit astray in its messages? We live in an age of viral messaging, so these campaigns can develop a life of their own, gaining a whole lot of attention along the way. But is it the right attention?
Clearly, the answer to these questions is very personal. For some, if it results in more funding for breast cancer research or services, then the end outcome is what really counts. Some women consider the sexual portrayal and terminology as humorous means of lightening the emotional toll of a breast cancer diagnosis. Others may take issue with the sexualization and objectification of their breasts in the name of raising awareness about or funds targeting a disease that has or could rob them of those breasts or their life.
Breast Cancer has been a part of my family for 3 generations. We carry the BRCA2 gene and are all about the cure! Speaking only for myself, I am not always comfortable when men pose in bras in the name of a breast cancer cure or fundraising. I’m not questioning the motive or sincerity of the “bra wearer”. I just feel that some of these displays in the name of curing breast cancer seem off-kilter. When I see high-fashion models with barely pubescent bodies parade runways in luxury bras in the name of breast cancer awareness, I wonder what is next. We definitely need all the support we can get and I get it, boobies sell. I just wonder if the campaigns to raise awareness and work towards a cure for breast cancer haven’t taken some wrong turns.
What’s your take? Do you agree with increasing awareness by any means necessary? If so, how do you think these sexualized message campaigns are helpful to we women at risk of or surviving breast cancer? Do you think these messages or campaigns are getting the job done? Could we possibly Viva La Cure with self-respect?
Susan Beausang, 4Women.com
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