It’s pretty much common knowledge that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Breast cancer awareness is very important because according to breastcancer.org, one out of eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their life. For the most part, breast cancer mainly affects women, but there is a 1 in 1,000 chance that a man may develop breast cancer in his lifetime too.
However as October approaches, I cringe as I know to expect breast cancer awareness being done in a degrading way towards women. I am absolutely sick of seeing breast cancer cases in women be sexualized through phrases like “save the boobies” and “save the ta-tas.” In my eyes, there is absolutely no reason that a life-threatening disease like breast cancer should ever be sexualized.
Women affected by breast cancer are much more than a pair of breasts, they are strong and beautiful people fighting a serious disease. They have a brain, mind, body and soul and deserve to be recognized for those too.
Especially in October, I see phrases like “save the boobies” on this campus all the time. Whether someone creates a pun intended bulletin board of ghosts wearing a bra combining Halloween and breast cancer awareness utilizing the phrases “save the ‘boo’-bies” or someone is wearing a “save the boobies” t-shirt or bracelet, it is breast cancer awareness done wrong.
However, I feel that most of the time, some people don’t understand that phrases like those can be hurtful towards women, as well as men. It’s a social norm to use breasts to market products, so that means it should be a social norm to use breasts to market breast cancer awareness, right? No. Just because the disease is called breast cancer, doesn’t mean awareness should be centered around breasts. Breastcancer.org projects that 40,290 women will die of breast cancer in 2015, which is simply 40,290 too many. It is our duty to raise awareness about breast cancer in a way that makes these fighters feel like their lives actually matter and not just their breasts. Let’s stop “saving the boobies” and start saving women and men as a whole human being.