A wonderful article by Liz Szabo in USA Today on "I heart boobies," "save the ta-tas," and all those other horrible sexualized breast cancer campaigns that raise dubious funds for dubious goals and leave those of us who have the disease feeling demeaned. There is nothing sexy about breast cancer, and Szabo does a fantastic job in this piece explaining why. Above, one of the worst such campaigns I have ever seen.
"All of us are really fed up," my friend and fellow person-with-breast-cancer Lani "Chemo Babe" Horn says in the article. "Save the tatas? No, save the women. A lot of us had to give up our tatas to live."
When diagnosed with aggressive cancer at age 38, Horn says, saving her breasts was the last thing on her mind. All she could think about, she says, was staying alive for her three young children. "Every time I thought, 'I can't climb back into that chemo chair,' I thought, 'I have to be able to tell my kids, 'I did everything possible.'"
The new breed of ads is especially cruel, Horn says, because breast cancer strips women of many features associated with femininity and beauty. Chemotherapy and surgery to remove the ovaries can both improve a woman's odds of survival, but at the cost of plunging her into instant menopause.
Chemo can make women lose their hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. Radiation can leave women's chests feeling, as one survivor has described it, like "a raw piece of meat."
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.
Read the rest, and forward it to everyone you know. Man, I'm so glad Pinktober is almost over.
Below, another horribly-conceived sexualized breast cancer campaign, this one from @letsfcancer.
I'm sure some of the people behind some of this stuff have good intentions, but then, why do they ignore the voices of breast cancer patients (myself included) who see this shit and say publicly and repeatedly, "What the actual fuck?"
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.