The month of October is synonymous with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The radiance of fuchsia bursting off small ribbons, towels, sports apparel and clothing is a lovely reminder of the millions of brave men and women who have endured such a strenuous illness.
However, there is a sexualizing stereotype relating to breast cancer that truly churns my stomach to the core. Slogans such as “Save the Tatas,” or “Save Second Base” are often expressed far too often. Yes, I recognize that these statements are (typically) made with the best of intentions, to raise awareness and support a cause that affects so many, but this is not an appropriate way to be an ally.
Why is sexualizing a deadly disease an effective form of advocacy?
By sharing these crude mottos, we are perpetuating the objectification of woman and reiterating that the only valuable aspect of a woman is her physical assets, such as her breasts. Moreover, have you ever considered how these mantras further marginalize men who suffer from breast cancer? Although 2,600 men are likely to be diagnosed this year, many people do not realize that they face the same battle as millions of women.
Wearing “Real Guys Wear Pink” shirts or “Do it for the Boobies” bracelets is not an effective way to genuinely support those enduring breast cancer. Rather, in being attentive to our speech and focusing on the human soul that is affected rather than one’s gender and/or physical body parts, we can begin to make massive strides of progress. Clearly we all share the same goal: to find a sustainable cure and save precious lives. So, why not act upon our dreams in the most effective and considerate way possible?