In case the title was unclear, this post will be brief and ragey.
But it is breast cancer “awareness” campaigns that seem to have perfected the act of combining flawed with offensive.
It isn’t only that these campaigns have “lost focus” or that many of the companies who claim to support these campaigns, in fact, include carcinogens in their products (though these facts certainly are significant), but that many of the campaigns which claim to be “raising awareness” about breast cancer and, one would assume, therefore (supposedly) aiming to help women, do just the opposite.
Check out this video, for example, created by a group called, obviously, “Boobies rule”
The corresponding site, which also sells t-shirts with the words “Fun Bags” written on them, because, you know, breasts exist SOLELY for the purpose of providing ‘fun’ for boy-men, seems to give the impression that it is creating “awareness” about breast cancer.
What exactly are we arguing here? That we should be concerned about breast cancer because breasts are for male use? Because if we lose breasts (just breasts, not women, we don’t care about the women, fyi, just the breasts) to breast cancer we are in danger of losing erections? Is there any other reason AT ALL that one might desire to prevent / find a cure for breast cancer? You know, like, so that women…don’t…get…cancer?
These campaigns essentially say: “we should save breasts but not women”. They say: “we like your body parts but we don’t care about you”. They say: “we want you alive, so long as you are turning us on”.
I wonder if the fact that objectifying women ACTUALLY HURTS WOMEN has popped into the porn-filled heads of these dudes? While they pretend to be doing something good for women, they are actually doing the opposite.
It is possible that the creators of boobiesrule.org have zero interest in “raising awareness” around anything cancer-related (seeing as they donate only 10% of their profits to an organization called “Living Beyond Breast Cancer“) and that this is merely a scheme to make money off of fellow douchebros, but, of course, that is no excuse.
Dehumanizing women in the name of helping women who have cancer (the fact that so few of these breast cancer campaigns look at prevention and instead choose to focus solely on awareness, after the fact, is a whole other story) is not ok.
If you really want to learn more about breast cancer prevention and have an actual interest in working to end the breast cancer epidemic, I suggest you check out Think Before You Pink and Breast Cancer Action. Those folks are doing great work. The F Word interviewed Breast Cancer Action’s Program Manager, Kim Irish at about this time last year, and she sure did set the record straight about some of these campaigns. Check it out.
And feel free to tweet at these losers or leave a comment on their Facebook page – tell them to shut it down and go sell sexism somewhere else (or hey! Not at all!); but not to do it in the name of helping women.