October is breast cancer awareness month. It's a time for survivors and sympathizers alike to come together in support of a common cause: finding a cure. 1 in 8 American women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, making the disease the most prevalent cancer among women. And with a whopping 246,660 new cases expected to be diagnosed this year, it's time to make a change and raise awareness.
Several campaigns can be seen marketing at full speed during October. The NFL makes a statement every year raising awareness for the disease by having players wear pink. Susan G. Komen kicks fundraising into overdrive by hosting the organization's annual Race for the Cure. Perhaps the most popular among millennials, however, are campaigns of a different nature.
"Save the tatas!" reads the rubber bracelet of the guy in your math class. "I love boobies!" announces the bumper sticker staring at you through your windshield in rush hour traffic. There's no doubt that you'll be seeing these marketing gems throughout October, even if they're not as supportive as they seem.
What's the problem? Catchy slogans are the key to any successful advertising campaign. These phrases in particular just happen to involve women's breasts. Innocent enough, right?
Not quite. Let's take a deeper look at the issue.
There's no denying that America has an obsession with sex. It's illustrated in every part of society. Sex is in our entertainment, our politics, and especially our advertising. More specifically, our country seems to be particularly fascinated with the female body. So much, in fact, that the female body has been deemed more important than the mind residing in it.
So the problem lies in the fact that breast cancer awareness organizations just aren't doing their jobs. They are catering more to the American public and its sex obsession than to real women. To put it plainly, these organizations are raising more awareness about breasts than cancer.
Breast cancer advocacy has become a highly sexualized event.
When a woman has breast cancer, what follows is anything but sexy. Exhausting chemotherapy treatments and painful mastectomies can leave patients drained, scarred, and often depressed. This is only made worse by sexualized "awareness" campaigns.
We as a society need to examine the message these campaigns are sending out to women. Instead of being supportive and encouraging to those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, they are doing the exact opposite.
By framing a campaign around "saving second base," organizations are making their priorities clear: breasts are more important than the women that possess them.
It's time that we abandon these sexualized marketing stunts and focus on what really matters: women. Women deserve to be encouraged, supported, and educated. It is important that we inform women of resources for prevention and early detection of breast cancer. But it is equally important that we empower women with the disease.
We need to let women with breast cancer know that there is something left of them to save.
Let's take a stand to stop protecting the tatas, and start protecting the women.