I'm honestly embarrassed by the Breast Cancer Awareness Month movement. Now before you start writing your hateful comments, let me explain why.
The main reason for my shame is the godawful slogans used solely to grab anyone's attention instead of pointing out the issue, to name just a few of the many: "Save the tatas", "I love boobies", "don't let breast cancer steal second base", "save second base", "save the hooters", "save a life, grope your wife", "feel for lumps, save your bumps", "big or small, save them all".
Are you kidding me? Breast cancer, first off, can happen to men too. So, possibly we have changed our priorities from the cancer, and moved the focus to breasts. Secondly, breast cancer kills. These slogans completely bypass the levity of the issue and treat it as solely a physical appearance problem. Many women lose their lives to breast cancer, fight through pain and days where they feel they cannot make it another second, and we could not get people's attention until we plastered "I <3 Boobies" on billboards, bracelets, T-shirts, and posters. We have taken a serious, lethal problem, and made it trivial and sexualized it just to create excitement and gain attention from the masses. And not only that, but we have sexualized something that is, in itself, a sexually demeaning process for the woman struggling.
And now, speaking on the importance of it killing a woman's confidence, these slogans are not for the purpose of making the woman feel better about herself. These slogans are simply about getting people's (mainly guys') attention and making them care about breast cancer by making it all about a woman's breasts. "Save second base"? Could we be anymore selfish? Who is that about? Because to me that sounds more like it is about what a man loses when his significant other gets breast cancer. "Save a life, grope your wife"? How does that help a woman with breast cancer, especially one who has had a mastectomy? How inconsiderate. These women feel ashamed, less sexy, less feminine and all we can say is: "I'm here for the boobies", "I'm a breast man", or "save the tatas". These women may go through chemotherapy and lose their hair and all we can do is put on a T-shirt that says: "My oncologist does my hair".
I know women who have struggled with breast cancer and I would be embarrassed to be displaying any of these slogans around them. It is demeaning. It minimizes the importance. It is offensive. I know women who have struggled with breast cancer and are completely offended and deeply hurt by these slogans. Wouldn't you be too? I cannot imagine going through what these women go through, and the only recognition you get around the nation is a bunch of people wanting to save your boobs. At that point, it isn't even about the woman, her heart, her emotions, her healthcare or her life; it is about her physical appearance. I, for one, am sick of these slogans and the negative and unproductive attention they bring to the cancer, or should I say, to the breasts. How many men wore/wear shirts or bracelets with these slogans simply because it gave them an excuse to be wearing something that said "I love boobies" or to have an image of a sexy female on their clothing that does not even portray what breast cancer really does to a woman? If you want to get first-hand insight on what breast cancer does to a woman, read this Washington Post article. It is about a woman who says she had breast cancer and hates breast cancer awareness month. And for more on how we have downplayed the importance of breast cancer, read this Huffington Post article.
I would apologize for the length of this article, but that would require me truly being sorry. The only thing I'm sorry for is not saying more and not saying something sooner.