Thursday, October 7, 2010

Breast Cancer, or Boobie Cancer?

As some of you may be aware, on Tuesday there was a breast cancer awareness campaign on Facebook that asked women to write where they put their purse as their status. An example: “I like it on the floor” or “I like it on the desk.” The people organizing this campaign probably weren’t stupid; it’s an overtly sexual innuendo. Using sex to sell an idea. Awareness is great and all, but what does where a woman puts her purse have anything to do with breast cancer? It’s silly and it’s cheap.

The tactics used to promote breast cancer awareness in general are sexualized and tactless. My least favorite is the “save the boobies!” campaign. Yes, boobs are a sexual part of the body, but that doesn’t mean breast cancer is or inherently has to be also. The “save the boobies” makes breast cancer more about the visual pleasure they bring to others, namely men. It’s a real problem when even a terminal illness is seen through the male gaze and thus sexualized.

Something as painful as cancer doesn’t need to be sexualized. Some may find jokes like that to be light hearted, but I find them to be invalidating. If a man had testicular cancer, I would never advocate a campaign called “Save the Balls!” That’s just tactless.

1 comment:

  1. Yes I agree that this trivialises a very serious illness, and should be discouraged.

    Unfortunately breasts do evocate very powerful feelings in men, and women too, so the disfigurement problem is a serious one - again it should not be trivialised by tea shirt logos.