It’s amazing that there’s a whole month that spreads awareness to something real many women around the world struggle with: breast cancer. It’s great when people can educate themselves, learn more, and donate to good causes. Unfortunately, there’s some things I see and hear during this month that are so agitating.
If you do a quick search on many different clothing retailers, such as Etsy or Amazon, you will come across a TON of sexual “merch” dealing with breast cancer. Let’s set the record straight – there is NOTHING funny, sexual, or cute about breast cancer. Slogans like “save the boobies”, “save a rack”, “I love boobies”, “save motor boating”, “big or small save them all”, and many more prove that while women are sexualized, so is a cancer that affects them too.
The Breast Cancer Action Organization said it best:
“‘Sexy’ breast cancer campaigns focus on preserving women’s breasts instead of saving the lives of actual women. They objectify women, making breast cancer awareness all about one (highly sexualized) body part instead of women’s complex and diverse experiences with breast cancer.”
TikTok creator, Annie Bond, who lives with metastatic breast cancer made a video speaking about this issue. She explained that when someone has had breast cancer, a slogan like “save the boobies”, while offensive, really doesn’t make any sense.
“You know that over 70% of the time you get your entire breasts removed when you have cancer,” Bond said. “because that’s what’s killing you – the tumors in your boobs.”
Since it’s 2023, you would think we would have already moved past this “sexual” push for breast cancer. As someone who has seen multiple women in my life struggle with breast cancer, I can’t even express the anger I feel when I continue to see slogans like this.
I was in elementary school when my grandma was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was so hard to watch someone struggle day and night with something, be severely ill from chemo, and recover from surgery. Then, at the same time, I saw people only worried about the “boobs” and simply turn a blind eye to the person.
When you have sat by someone’s side, seen their spirit break down, and seen them lose “feminine” things like their hair, eyelashes, and eyebrows – it puts into perspective what really matters – the person. Women are humans – we are not a sexual being or just a pair of boobs. We should be concerned with saving the person’s life and not a body part.
At the end of the day, it is a 24/7 fight for women and everyone in their life. I am passionate about breast cancer and (like many people) I want more research done. There is a better way to go about how we talk about breast cancer. It is a serious issue – not a funny lighthearted one.
This October, think twice before you buy “breast cancer awareness merch” and show better support to the survivors you know.