Friday, October 13, 2006

Breast Cancer Awareness - Not Boobs R Us

"In this country, we're so focused on physical looks. We tie the issue of femininity to physical appearance, and people think primarily of breast cancer that threatens your breasts -- though those who have it realize, more significantly, that it threatens your life." Fran Visco

See that ad up there? It stopped me in my tracks, as it was meant to do. But once I figured out its message, I had to ask, What is the American Cancer Society thinking???

Yes, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. A cause I support with everything I've got. Two sisters, two aunts, two cousins and a best friend are breast cancer survivors. That friend's mother, several friends and my late mother-in-law weren't so lucky.

That American Cancer Society ad doesn't promote breast cancer awareness, it trivializes women by promoting beautiful, youthful breasts. Adding insult to injury, there's another ad using the same perky picture which reads, "If you're 40 or over, talk to your doctor about getting a mammogram."

Trust me, if you're 40 or over, your breasts haven't looked like that in 20 years. And if you've had a mastectomy, they'll never look like that again.

I've spent more than half a lifetime in the marketing profession, so I understand the value of an attention-grabbing photo. But please, there has to be a better way to attract clickthroughs for breast cancer awareness than by channeling Victoria's Secret.

The horror of breast cancer deserves--no, demands--advertising support that reflects the seriousness of the subject. Millions of women fight this crippling, devastating disease every year. Millions more lives are at stake. Prevention is key. Education is vital. Early detection is critical.

Statistically, women over 40 are most at risk. But to look at that ad, you'd think it was touting plastic surgery, not mammograms. Whoever conceived the idea of using soft core porn to promote breast cancer awareness is quite simply a pig.

What's the rationale? Get husbands and boyfriends to click on the pretty boobs and they'll urge the women in their lives to have mammograms? Give me a break.

The people who approved and executed these ads need their heads--and their ethics--examined. If any of them are women, I hope they get their breasts examined too.

Stupidity should never stand in the way of breast cancer awareness.

Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

The Breast Cancer Site : Fund Mammograms for Free

Think Pink - Breast Cancer Awareness - AOL People Connection

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Blogger --Sher-- said...

I appreciate your perspective! One might think that the reason for early detection is that the loss of perky breasts is worse than the loss of life. I've put up a blog for the month of Pink, I hope you'll check it out and let me know what you think.

7:33 PM  
Blogger MamaQ said...

Respectfully, lovingly disagreeing with you. What that ad tells me is "Hey you, with the Girls that aren't yet looking at the floor! You can get breast cancer too, and you need to be concerned about it NOW."

Aren't breast cancer rates rising among women under 40? And aren't breast tumors in women under 35 more likely to be found at a later stage, because insurers don't usually cover mammograms for women that age?

So given the near-saturation of awareness programs "for the cure" aimed at women of A Certain Age, is it so wrong to point one to a different audience? And as far as "selling" young, pretty hooters, most ads that use breasts are aimed at men -- this one clearly is not. Refreshing, in a way. I mean, even Nora Ephron says its OK to want to look younger, right?


8:18 AM  
Blogger Sally Swift said...

Equally lovingly, respectfully disagreeing right back atcha, Amy. Well, actually, I do agree with a lot of what you say. But the ad clearly aims those perky breasts at women over 40. I'm not as up as I should be on the breast cancer stats for women under 40, but if it's a prevalent as you say, the ad should say so too.

I'm not anti looking young, feeling young, or even going for a younger look and feel with surgical help. That's all about a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body.

As I said on Blinq, I'm concerned about the epidemic of body dysmorphic disorder among women of all ages ... and the way that ad seems to be playing right into it.

12:22 PM  
Blogger MamaQ said...

I have to correct myself. I read up again on the stats today and it seems that breast cancer rates among women under 40 have leveled off. So I'm happy to be wrong on that one! But the types of cancer found tend to be invasive and are found later.
Amen on the body image thing, too.

7:53 PM  
Blogger Blue Gal said...

Your post was sent to me by one of my readers...It's great, your heart is in the right place, but you're missing a big part of the Breast Cancer controversy picture. Threading Water has the skinny:

Cheers, and keep the faith. Nice digs ya got here.

7:31 PM  
Blogger potentialclient said...

...and if I may add:
Having had a mastectomy at a young age, I've found the women at Victoria's Secret to be discreet and understanding of my situation and have had good experiences shopping for bras. I figure after all my poor boobs have had to endure, I might as well give the best looking, most supportive and comfortable bras I can afford. I guess I should also add that my husband of 18 years has been very supportive of my battle. Plus, I went through hell after my reconstruction. It was worth it. I feel great and am happy with my figure. It's not a model figure, but I can be confident and have found myself fielding questions from other women who are scared to death of their upcoming cancer surgery. I apologize for my ranting. I feel very strongly about this and I have the personal experience to back it up.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to ask if anyone else finds this distressing. I am 37 and just had a lumpectomy for breast cancer and now have a scar on my breast. i just had my first chemo session on Wednesday. Thursday i was in the ER with some reactions. While I was in the ER alone and scared, my husband finally showed up at the hospital. Upon returning home, I found he had been sitting looking at porn (of beautiful, healthy breasts and women with long gorgeous hair) while i had been waiting alone for test results in an emergency room. so, if anyone would like my opinion, i think that, YES, there is a problem in this country when it comes to what we think is beautiful and there is definitely rampant insensitivity.

12:54 PM  

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