Breast Cancer Survivors: Stop Sexualizing Our Disease

Irreverent campaigns going too far, many say: USA Today

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 30, 2012 7:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – Breast Cancer Awareness Month is all but gone, and chances are pretty good you got a glimpse at some risque campaigns—"Save the Ta-Tas" perhaps, or a "Feel your boobies" T-shirt, or maybe a "Save 2nd Base" poster complete with well-endowed young model in pink bikini. The list goes on—even the American Cancer Society has a "It's Okay to Look at Our Chests campaign—with creators' rationale pretty much the same: We need to be funny and edgy to raise awareness among young women. Well, at USA Today, Liz Szabo talks to several survivors who are tired of having their disease sexualized.

A quote from writer Peggy Orenstein sums it up:

  • "On one hand, women with cancer are told—or have to learn—that we are not our breasts, that our sexuality, our femininity are not located in the mammary gland. That's a complicated, sometimes painful reckoning. Then these organizations come along and reinforce the notion that boobs are the most important things about us, particularly if they're hot and apparently most particularly if they're actually fake."
Amen, writes Xeni Jardin at Boing Boing, who is living with the disease and hates all these "horrible sexualized breast cancer campaigns that raise dubious funds for dubious goals and leave those of us who have the disease feeling demeaned." Read the full USA Today piece here.

The pink ribbon has been everywhere this month.
The pink ribbon has been everywhere this month.   (Shutterstock)
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