Um. WTF?

Before I was diagnosed with beast cancer, the pink ribbon universe didn’t affect me personally.  I knew of women who had been diagnosed or died as a result, but as far as being zapped right in the soul I considered myself fortunate. I was reminded of my great aunt who died of breast cancer when I was a teen, but before my diagnosis I didn’t recall that.  I must have known that something wasn’t adding up because even though this was packaged as noble and good, there was something about it that I didn’t like.

It wasn’t until Komen made their decision to defund Planned Parenthood that I started to focus on this and educate myself about this larger-than-life fundraising machine.   It was crystal clear then: women’s health was secondary to big salaries, self-promotion, and the bottom line.  If they were jumping on the conservative bandwagon to defund Planned Parenthood, then clearly this organization had its own particular cancer that was spreading.  Komen had turned the corner from a noble goal to perpetuating its own existence.  Indeed, the picture was beginning to widen: this whole movement had issues.

One of the things that has consistently ticked me off is the feminization and sexualization of the disease.  It wasn’t so much as “save the women,” but “save the boobies.”  And while I am grateful that breast reconstruction following mastectomy is covered under insurance plans, it was not uncommon to see the focus not on the life saved but on the appearance on the boobies after the fact.  You’re cured and your breasts look awesome. Oh, yeah, and men get breast cancer, too. After thought.

I have embedded a number of PSAs that promote breast health.  They convey a powerful message:  Excuses (Brazil), Don’t Get Scared, Get Checked (Scotland), Tumor (New Zealand).  These are messages that stick with you after you’ve watched them.  And that’s what you want them to do.  No one is going to put down their book and say, “I’ll be back.  I’m going to get a mammogram right now!”  Instead they plant a seed that makes you think and, hopefully, its growth leads you to that moment of “I need to feel my breasts.”

But yesterday I got a glimpse of a PSA that made me throw up in my mouth a little.  Chris O’Dowd portrays a health and safety officer at the Topless Female Trampolining World Championships.  Produced with the Male Cancer Awareness Campaign and the UK breast cancer charity Coppafeel!, the goal is to encourage men to check their breasts.  Give it a view for yourself.

The site Adrants comments: “Yes.  Seriously.  Why should female breast cancer have all the boobie-based fun?  OK, it’s not a real event but the promotion, the girls and the cause are very real.”

Boobie-based fun?

And, of course, the campaign’s website describes it best: “This campaign is directed at young men and their partners. Pure and simple. It carries a clear message: Men get breast cancer too.”

Oh, that message.  I’m sorry, I thought meant the exploiting-tits-and-ass-and-objectifying-women-again message.

Seriously. What the fuck?

This entry was posted in Advocacy, Breastploitation, My Stage IV Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Um. WTF?

  1. Juneaubugg (aka Jennifer) says:

    Where’s the f’ing like button?!

  2. MBS says:

    Right on, Scorchy. I detest all the focus on “boobies”. If society weren’t so obsessed with the boob fetish, perhaps there would be discussion of options like prophylactic bilateral mx for women who don’t need them for breastfeeding anymore. I am sincerely wishing I could go back to age 30 or thereabouts and have them removed. I’d be happy and healthy and free now instead of dealing with sh*t quality of life during treatment and still high odds of dying of this cr*p disease. G*ddamit all to heck!

  3. anomar13 says:

    I agree that this PSA is non-effective, not because of the jiggly girls, but because the message is not identified until the very end, when most men will have stopped watching. The girls get the men’s attention, that is the point, (just as the male models make you want to listen to the “check you breasts” message on the app). However, the message is not the focus of this video, just the bouncing boobies and butt-cheeks. Therein lies the difference between exploitation and purpose. Therefore, it should be scorned and criticized for what it is-crap. Also, I have to agree with “pinkunderbelly”- that sentence about Komen is right on the money!

  4. Scott MacKenzie says:

    I think the PSA with the male models did a better job (for me anyway!). I didn’t even know this PSA had anything to do with male breast cancer until the closing titles. Just awful. WTF is right. I don’t get it at all. I guess the problem goes back many decades when the disease was sexualized – like AIDS being a disease for Gay men only. And it takes decades to undo the damage.

  5. I could not believe that little PSA when you posted it on twitter. It’s disgusting. I’m so glad you joined the ranks of the grumblers. I’m so glad we are neighbors. I can’t wait to sling back a few shots….. I’m thinking Hard Rock since they TM’d “Pinktober” (although they ARE doing the right thing with their fundraising even if Bananarama isn’t the ideal choice…..)….

    Best line in this post:

    Komen had turned the corner from a noble goal to perpetuating its own existence.

    Excellent job Ms Gothamist….. EXCELLENT!



  6. There’s so much in this post that I love, but this is tops: “women’s health was secondary to big salaries, self-promotion, and the bottom line.” when I was first diagnosed, I thought zoomed was the best thing going, but as I learned more I realized that beyond de-shaming the disease, Komen has done precious little beyond prettying up our disease. The pink ribbon debacle makes me sick, sad, and pissed, all at the same time, and I genuinely dread the month of October bc of its pinkwashing. Thank you for a rockin post.

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