We Need To Save The People, Not The “Ta-Tas”

We Need To Save The People, Not The “Ta-Tas”

The words we use matter, and so do lives.

I can still remember the day, nearly thirteen years ago, that my mother told me she was going to have a surgery that would take away her breasts.

I don’t remember exactly what she said, but she was calm and matter-of-fact about it, just like she and my father had been about every detail of that “cancer” thing. She told me that she was getting the surgery, and getting rid of her breasts, to make sure that the cancer would not happen again.

And I, nine years old at the time, replied, “Well, it’s okay if you lose your soft parts, because I can still put my head on your belly.”

It would take me almost a decade to think about my mother’s double mastectomy in a more serious light. Back then, I had no idea how dangerous breast cancer really was, how miserable chemotherapy was, and how close to dying my mother actually came. I didn’t have any reason to have that kind of idea, because my parents made every effort to keep life running normally and to keep my mother from dying. Because my mother decided to give up her breasts for her health.

I grew up with a mother who had a pair of scars on her chest instead of a pair of breasts.

And that’s why, when I hear the voice on an otherwise enjoyable radio station announce every day their upcoming inaugural “Tee-Up for Ta-Tas” golf tournament and breast cancer awareness fundraiser, I get angry.

I get angry because the words we use to describe our actions matter just as much as the actions themselves.

I get angry because phrases like “Tee-Up for Ta-Tas,” “I Heart Boobies,” and “Save Second Base” use objectifying language to reframe the issue of breast cancer to focus on the breasts that are at stake, rather than the lives.

I get angry because apparently people think that the only way to get men interested in saving people’s lives is to reframe the issue and make it about saving the women’s sex appeal.

I get angry because, for some people, that is the only way to get them interested in saving people’s lives.

I get angry because turning the fight against breast cancer into a fight to save women’s sex appeal reduces women’s value to their breasts, silences the people of other genders who also suffer from breast cancer, and turns a serious issue into an awkward joke.

I get angry because the people who create campaigns like this clearly think that the most important part of this article’s fourth paragraph is “who had a pair of scars on her chest instead of a pair of breasts,” instead of “I grew up with a mother.”

I get angry because the people who create and attend events with those names would look at my mother – my wonderful, strong, ALIVE mother – and think that she “lost” the fight because she lost her breasts.

Of course I am happy that people want to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. Of course I would love to see a world in which mastectomies were obsolete, where no one needed to undergo surgery or months of radiation treatments in order to see their children grow up. I now have some idea of how hard my parents must have worked to keep my life seeming normal in that year in which everything could have changed forever – and of course I hope that I will never have to actually, personally come to know how hard it was.

But having a mother with no “ta-tas” is infinitely and unquestionably better than having no mother at all.

Cover Image Credit: Sophie Katz

Popular Right Now

To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.


Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.

@abidickson01 on twitter.com

Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

Related Content

Facebook Comments