Over Sexualizing Breast Cancer To Bring Awareness

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month has come and gone but the images of pink linger. Especially those more risqué campaigns like “Save the Ta-Tas, or a “Feel your boobies” T-shirt, or maybe a “Save 2nd Base” poster complete with buxom young model in pink bikini. The list goes on, even the American Cancer Society has a “It’s Okay to Look at Our Chests campaign.

There’s a common theme … sexualizing the disease to bring awareness. Kind of an oxymoron since there’s nothing sexy about the disease. Just look at these statistics from the American Cancer Association…

*1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer

* 1 in 36 women will die from breast cancer

* More than 2 ½ million breast cancer survivors in U.S.

Not to mention the number of women who will lose that “sex” symbol their breasts as a result of the disease. So you’d think we’d be emphasizing how hot women are without their TaTas.

I understand that everyone has the “breast” of intentions. But I can only imagine how insulting these campaigns could be to women. Breast cancer is incredibly important and needs public support, however that support should not come at the expense of women themselves’.

We don’t sexualize prostate or penile cancer so why must we do the same for breast?

What do you think about these sexy breast cancer campaigns? Serve up your thoughts.

And that’s today’s helping of the Online Dish with Maggie.


  • Mo

    I’ve always been annoyed by TV news stories on cancer. Women are often shown half dressed, getting mammograms while stories on men with prostate cancer depict strong, fully clothed men sitting behind their executive desks or tossing a stick for a golden retriever at the beach! Nothing sexy about a guy bending over and coughing, huh?

    On one hand, the images of the women getting mammograms sends the message that women take responsibility and get screened. That’s good.

    Why aren’t men shown looking a little vulnerable?

    I just find it puzzling.

  • Andrew

    I completely agree that the continual focus on the sexual nature of breasts has led to mixed results. It has led to a massive increase of attention and focus on the problem, BUT it has also led (in my mind) to an increased level of improprieties regarding the attention that is to be given to the female form. Not only does it seem to lead to some women (not all, but some) dressing in improper clothing that was deliberately, and disturbingly, designed to draw some rather perverse focus and attention to their more salient features, but those same clothing designs and those same advertisements have been convincing men in some subconscious way that if they give any assistance to the cause, then they have a free pass to ogle any set of breasts that go by.

    It opens a can of worms, but I think the rather prudish nature of Western culture has led to a suppression and condemnation of anything even vaguely sexual, and in turn has led to anything with the most remote hint of sex associated with it to cause even mature individuals to giggle like naughty school-children. Perhaps less repression and more acceptance in that area would then assist in this area in not being so hyper-sexualized.

  • dougsbeard

    i hate to bring a sense of realism to this article, but that is how i view everything.

    in my days of broadcasting i learned one thing…any press is good press. breast cancer awareness has some of the biggest sponsorships. the funding it gets is incredible. the marketing it has gained is extraordinary. its a horrible disease that claims too many women (as well as men). but when debating whether or not its 'right' to bring sexiness to sell the idea of breast cancer awareness take a more in depth look at prostate cancer awareness (to emphasize i am NOT taking away how important breast cancer awareness is).

    1 – 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer against the 1-8 women with breast cancer. for something that impacts more people you would think the funding might be the same? no, even the government gives millions more to breast cancer awareness than to prostate cancer. you dont see store selling prostate cancer awareness energy drinks (pink lemonade 5hr energy), you dont see entire sections of store devoted to prostate cancer like you do breast cancer, models arent running around in prostate cancer attire, the NFL isnt wearing blue shoes for prostate cancer (even when its a disease that targets the men who play the game).

    breast cancer awareness has gained its support by the women who are willing to do what they can for it…and that itself is truly amazing. i wish more guys would pay attention and support each other in the way women have done with breast cancer awareness. you have rallied around each other and brought to light something that needs focus. so why not support a sexual image of breast cancer…you can be sexy WITH breasts and you can be sexy WITHOUT breasts. take the attention and run with it, because at the end of the day guys will never get as much support for prostate cancer as breast cancer receives.

  • teepee12

    It IS insulting. And worse, it's entirely profit driven, a big fiesta of bright pink breast cancer gear for retailers from which no one with breast cancer will ever see a penny. Anyone who feels inclined to buy expensive pink gear should find a surviver and give her the money. That might actually do some good.

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