This Is Everything That's Wrong with Breast Cancer Awareness Ads
"Save the boobies."
"Save the Tatas."
"Save the Headlights."
"Don't wear a bra to support for those with breast cancer."
What is this bullshit? For the record, no other cancer is marketed the way breast cancer is. Not going to lie, I used to fall for these tactics. But then I got breast cancer and that all changed. There is a lot to say about this on all different levels, shall we start at the top?
We instantly lose our sexuality when doctors are poking, prodding, scanning and injecting our breasts. We lose modesty and become robots in this wicked game. The moment you hear those words, "I am sorry you have cancer," you are trying to save yourself from death. The doctors make appointments to have your breasts removed -amputated if you will - and you want us to think that is sexy? What the hell? We are removing, disfiguring and altering our breasts, not 'saving' them.
We are beautiful, curvy, smart and powerful women - then we take off our breasts and remove all that "makes" us girls and the media expects us to embrace these sexy campaigns? How does that even makes sense?? Do you have any idea how all this change affects our body image? We watch and sob over the loss of our breasts like a death. We lose so much from this and gain a new perspective and "sex kitten" is not one. The fact is that the our breasts have no feeling, nothing!
When someone goes through a sex change they are put through counseling to make sure they can handle the changes about to happen. When you are diagnosed with cancer you are lucky if they even discuss talking to someone. When you are "finished" and say you are depressed, they wonder why. UMMMM you just took our breasts, sent us through treatment and, for many, removed uterus/cervix/ovaries - and there is no counseling mentioned. Let me tell you, we are not thinking about "saving the boobies," we are worried about finding ourselves in this mess and saving us. It is degrading to us that it is made sexual.
Plus, when you make this all about women and sexuality, you forget about another group that gets breast cancer, too: MEN! We have a male population getting breast cancer and we advertise this as women's disease. Men are diagnosed late in stage and dying yet we make this for the "girls". I call bullshit on this. We as a society have embarrassed men so much about getting breast cancer that they do not even want to discuss this with their doctors. Wake the f up people, this is 2018, it is time for a change!
And then there's the campaigns like, "Go braless to show support for breast cancer", Ummm excuse me. Let me start with the fact that most of us can not even wear a bra. The scars hurt, we cannot find one that fits, and why bother! Second, how the hell does that show support? A sexy ad with a tiny girl taking her bra off is not breast cancer awareness - it is taking your damn bra off! There is no education in that campaign at all. Did we forget that people die from this? How disrespectful! Did you know this ad comes out every year on the one day Metastatic cancer is highlighted?
Which brings me to my biggest point! Those with metastatic breast cancer are not saving their boobs, they are dying and trying desperately to save themselves. There will be 516,000 deaths as a result of mets and we think ads like "save the headlights" are helping? No, they are not. They are muddling the voices that need to be heard. The metastatic community needs all of us to stand together and say "SAVE THE PERSON". Those with metastatic cancer need our voice, they need to be heard.
Breast cancer is not tied in a pretty pink ribbon. It is filled with anger, pain, side effects. mixed with love and support from those who care and sometimes death. Sexualized ads have no room in this conversation. We need to stop these ridiculous campaigns and use the best ad we have, US! Show the men and women that had breast cancer, show the pain the scars, the truth. Imagine how empowering, validating and real that would be for those who are diagnosed. Maybe if we took the time to remove the sexual connotation of this non-sexual disease and focused on those dying and hurting we could actually get somewhere.
I refuse to sit back and keep letting society market and sell my cancer as sexy, pretty pink illness when it is nothing like that. When you Google "breast cancer awareness" and get "Save the Tatas", there is time for a change - a big change. It is the media’s responsibility to make this happen because those of us living in this world just want to save the person, not the boobs.