Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Breast Cancer PSA or Beer Commercial?

Have any of you seen this new "Save the Boobs" ad campaign? I was totally out of the loop until the other day when I read a blog by my friend and fellow cancer survivor Kairol Rosenthal. She is the author of Everything Changes: The Insider's Guide to Cancer in Your 20's and 30's a fabulous book for young adults with cancer. Her post "Using Sex to Sell Breast Cancer" is worth a read.

I got so fired up about it that I wanted to share my opinion of it her on my own blog. My first thought was that it came across more like a beer commercial rather than an ad to raise breast cancer awareness. As a young woman who dated through breast cancer treatment I was angered by how it was soley focused on gawking on a young woman's boobs. It actually was a reminder of what I was up against while dating bald and boobless! It is all about the boobs and directed at young men. It is sending the message that if you still want to be sexy and gawked at by men you better hold on to your most important asset...your boobs. So what then is a young woman to do when she is faced with losing one or both? Is she left to feel that she will never be worthy without her breast?

I feel like there already is too much out there affecting young women with regards to body image and self-esteem. All of the size 0 girls in magazines who's images have been air brushed bombard us each day at newsstands and bookstores. I don't think that a young woman strutting her stuff and bouncing her boobs in a video will bring awareness to the plight of young women with breast cancer. I am sure that young men will enjoy watching it but they may be the only ones.

Have you seen this ad? What do you think? Do you think this will help increase breast cancer awareness?


Sherry said...

I will say that this has not bothered me and that perhaps it is my age. I was in my 40s when my breast cancer was diagnosed. I view it in a different light than someone younger most likely.

The organization who created this ad campaign, Rethink Breast Cancer is aimed for the 20-30 age bracket. They are trying to raise awareness to this age group who still see their breasts as sexual and part of their sexuality. Most have not had children yet so their breasts have not been seen as functional and life supporting. It's my opinion that this ad has been directly and purposely done in the way it was for impact and effect. Seems many people are talking about -- and that's the goal. To get younger women and men talking about breast cancer. It is happening much too often in the 20-30 age group.

Having had my breasts used to sustain and nourish life, having experienced them sexually and as sexual objects, I am now in the category of women who knows -- they are fun, they make us "women" but only in "one" regard. I know I am a woman from every angle and more than just for my breasts. I didn't know that in my 20s. But I wish I had.

Cathy Bueti said...

Hi Sherry!

Thanks for your comment! I am sure there are many different views on this which is why I wanted to write my own feelings about it.

I agree with you that it is getting people talking but I wonder what they are saying about it. Is it making them talk about cancer or about the hot girl in the video?

Now that I am 40 I am realizing so much more about myself than when I was in my 20's! I wish I knew that then as well!

Kairol Rosenthal said...

Yes, the part that bothers me is that there is no message behind the ad and that people think 20 and 30 somethings are too stupid to care about or understand to complexities of breast cancer beyond "wow boobs are hot let's save them."

I don't have breast cancer - I have another kind of cancer. But I have talked to enough breast cancer patients who say that while body image and losing a boob is a huge life event, many have found that the financial aspects, the missing out of work, the pain and suffering, the uncertainly about death take a way bigger roll in their cancer experience than wanting to look like the MTV DJ boob-a-thon in this video.

I have not had kids. And if I do I will adopt. My boobs are never going to be used to nourish anyone. Still, there are 101 reasons aside from bikini season why I don't want breast cancer. And I know some flat chested women who would probably look the same after mastectomy. I think they would still choose to by-pass the cancer experience.

An ad cannot be all things to all people, but I would hope that it could be less about Save the Boobs and more about Save the Person. Sure this ad got people talking, but they are talking about the ad - how much more does anybody understand about life with breast cancer as a young woman? Bad marketing in my opinion.

Over and out,


Hillary said...

Hi there,

I came across this post while I was reading Marisa's (she's on my blog list.) I actually had not seen this ad, although I must say that I am enraged right now after having seen it.

I actually posted a 'note' on facebook not too long ago about another ad I'd seen. Here is what I'd written, which I think also applies to this one as well:

I got excited when I saw a clip that Jack Black did, in which he actually put himself into a mammogram machine and expressed the importance of raising funds for breast cancer research, especially as he was trying to draw in males for help. I then went to the actual website and saw this: http://www.menforwomennow.com/

They basically say, 'Breast cancer is is serious but boobs are awesome! What guy doesn't love boobs? So donate and save some!" I don't understand why there was a need to bring in the word 'boobs' and placate once again to our superficial American culture.

Breast cancer IS serious and IT'S NOT sexy! Don't try to draw in men by trying to make it sexy. Anyone who thinks like that needs to GROW UP and they should be told so!!!!!!!!! They should donate to the cause because breast cancer is running rampant in females. They should donate because they are scared shitless that they could lose their mother, daughter, sister, aunt, niece or any female to it. They shouldn't be thinking when they hear this, "Wait, if a chick loses her boobs, then that means I won't see them and THAT'S not cool!"

It's life threatening and should not be taken lightly. I just don't understand why they can't keep it real, instead of trying to take a 12 year old hormonal boy mentality by saying, 'Boobs are awesome!' It completely belittles the cause, all the hardship that people with breast cancer face and the fact that IT'S A DISEASE THAT KILLS WOMEN (and some men!) Finally, stop placating to men and making it about THEM! It's not about THEM and their needs, desires and the fact that they like boobs; it's about US and prolonging our lives! That alone should be enough to get their support!

Disappointing if THAT'S really the only way we can get support for this, America. REALLY fucking disappointing.

I realize they are trying to get people in their 20's talking, but people in their 20s should be maturing and thinkng of this disease for what it is: something that kills people, and IS NOT hot. Why do we (as mature adults who see it for what it is) have to sit by and go along with that mentality? Anyone who is solely thinking about breast cancer in terms of just boobs should be told how insanely immature they are and quite frankly, that anyone who really can only think in that superficial way is an idiot.

As you can see, this is a topic that hits home for me. I lost my grandmother to breast cancer and while I, myself don't have it, I have had way more breast tumors, biopsies and breast surgeries than any other 27 year old I know.

It's bad enough that women and their bodies are torn down as objects in society; now we're being reduced to things to save our own lives?

One word to describe the mentality in this country: pathetic.

Cathy Bueti said...

Hi Hillary!

Glad you found my blog. Thanks for your comment. I will have to check out that Jack Black ad you wrote about...

I totally understand the rage! I was pretty angered by this ad!

Thanks for sharing!