Monday, September 16, 2013

Stop making breast cancer sexy

One common theme of Pinktober that drives me up the wall is the onslaught of sexxxxy ads for breast cancer awareness.  Instead of focusing on what actually happens to you once you have breast cancer (i.e. chemo, radiation, multiple surgeries, baldness), they focus on the potentially diseased body part.  Boobs, tits, funbags, sweater puppies.  It's gotten so bad that these ads aren't for breast cancer awareness, just awareness for breasts.

This is an actual advertisement for a benefit for the Susan G. Komen foundation last Pinktober.  When you look at the poster, you see a pair of young 20-something (or hell, late teen) breasts, and she doesn't even have a head!  Ignoring the problematic "save second base" title, she's a headless pair of perky, well-endowed tits!  WHERE IS HER HEAD?

So we're all supposed to rally together and raise money to save the perky, well-endowed tits in the world?    If we don't act now, all those beautiful bosoms you see on hot young things will be gone?  There's one problem, though.  The median age of women diagnosed with breast cancer is 61 years old.
Older women are much more likely to get breast cancer than younger women. From 2005-2009, the median age for a breast cancer diagnosis was 61 years of age. Approximately 0.0% were diagnosed under age 20; 1.8% between 20 and 34; 9.9% between 35 and 44; 22.5% between 45 and 54; 24.8% between 55 and 64; 20.2% between 65 and 74; 15.1% between 75 and 84; and 5.7% 85+ years of age.  
You know who's in her 60s and more likely to develop?  Your mom.  Your grandmother.  (Yes, young women, even those with great perky boobs, do get breast cancer, but I'm focusing on the majority here.)

This USA Today article spoke about how breast cancer patients are sick of the sexualization of breast cancer and included a quote from breast cancer blogger Chemobabe, aka Lani Horn

And beyond the chemo-induced nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, Horn says, long-term hormonal therapy can cause severe vaginal dryness, making intercourse too painful to contemplate. While many cancer survivors want more information about preserving their fertility and alleviating sexual side effects, very few get help, Horn says. 
Cancer "doesn't make you feel terribly sexy. Pain is not terribly sexy," Horn says. "There's a cruelty to this, when you're in danger of losing the very sexuality that they're selling."
You would think that hearing from those who have undergone breast cancer might garner some sympathy, maybe some comments like, "Ahh, I didn't think about it that way.  You know what, I do think these sexy campaigns are wrong."  Nah, a majority of the comments on the above article were as misogynistic and as full of bullshit as one might expect.

Seriously, Don?  You know who gives a rats ass?  WOMEN WHO HAVE GONE THROUGH BREAST CANCER.  I read this comment, and I swear my blood pressure just went through the roof, and I came within moments of an actual rage stroke.  This guy seriously read, or half-ass read, an article about breast cancer patients despising all the sexiness in the name of awareness, and he still responded, "Who gives a rats ass."  In the same thread, this gem of a human being decided to weigh in and show all those women who have had their breasts removed who's the boss.

Not erasing this guy's last name because fuck this guy, that's why.
Sure, that's exactly what I do, you jackass.  Instead of living my life after breast cancer, I have dedicated what time I have on this Earth to complain about women's breasts.  I'm a breast-envying bitch.  Yep, that sounds right.  

This next comment made me laugh, but not in the funny-haha way, more like the oh-my-god-people-like-him-exist-why-god-why.  When Komen turned down free money from porn, he gave his money to another "worthy cause."

When women who have had breast cancer dared to speak, exclaiming, "This has gotten out of hand," we are told that we are "idiots," "judgmental," and "arrogant."  Oh man, where was this guy when I had a third of my breast and five lymph nodes removed, or when I started choking to death because I was severely allergic to Taxotere, or going through radiation, or when I had to come to the decision to have a bilateral mastectomy when my year check-up came back suspicious?  According to this shining example of philanthropy, I should just remain quiet and suffer the indignities of having companies try to make a buck off breast cancer by any means necessary?  

Awareness for the sake of awareness is not helpful.  Awareness is an empty word if it's not backed up by any action.  I would gather that most people don't know shit about breast cancer.  Do most know that there are multiple types of breast cancer, all which require different treatment plans: her2 positive, ER positive, triple negative, inflammatory breast cancer, and so on.  All that these awareness campaigns do is just make ourselves feel better about not doing anything proactive.  

I'd be down for awareness if it meant the public learned that very little money goes to actual research, that 30 percent of early-stagers go on to develop metastatic breast cancer, that breast cancer takes away pretty much every aspect of yourself that you find sexy, or that men get breast cancer too.


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