Save Second Base? How About Save the Woman

January 19, 2011
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In an effort to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, the “Keep a Breast Foundation has released rubber band bracelets baring the slogan “I heart boobies-save a breast.” These bracelets have become a popular trend among young adults nationwide. While I applaud an effort to bring awareness to a disease that takes thousands of lives each year, the message that these bracelets convey are misleading and can be offensive to survivors of the disease.

The slogan “I heart boobies” calls attention to the fact that breast cancer harms the part of the female form seen as sexy, rather than the actual person whose life is threatened. As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, it makes me feel uncomfortable to see women with cancer objectified in this way. Just because a diagnosis of this cancer manifests itself in a feature that is scrutinized by society, doesn’t mean that the victims want to be defined by it.

One of the most effective means of removing cancerous tumors is through a mastectomy, or removal of the breast. It is implied by the slogan “save a breast” that survivors of cancer who have undergone a mastectomy are less feminine and beautiful because they no longer have the body part that the bracelets are striving to “save.” This lessens the courage and strength of the survivors of breast cancer. I know that my mother did not undergo multiple surgeries and months of chemotherapy and radiation to preserve her breasts, she did it to save her life. I would hate to think that people would minimize her strength by mourning the loss of an aspect of her appearance.

Because a woman’s breasts are associated with femininity and beauty, their preservation is plastered on jewelry and clothing, but other cancers deserve the same amount of recognition. I have never seen a save the lungs t-shirt nor a i heart prostates bracelet, yet these cancers continue to take lives just like breast cancer does. In addition, the products of the Keep a Breast Foundation only draw attention to female breast cancer even though it occurs in thousands of men each year.

Surely the intentions of the Keep a Breast Foundation and those who purchase their products are admirable. Cancer is a disease that disrupts all too many families every year. But the fact of the matter is, cancer should not be looked at as cosmetic and superficial. Survivors and victims of the disease have unfathomable strength. This is what should be what defines them, not the presence or absence of their breasts.

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nomnomnom said...
Mar. 17, 2011 at 9:23 am
THANK YOU!!! I completely agree.
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