Whose Breast Cancer Is It, Anyway?

Boy, does my timing suck.

Just last week, I wrote about how targeting young people and using humor and slang isn’t so bad, using the I Love Boobies campaign as an example. Then along came a skirmish on the Feel Your Boobies Facebook page that made me rethink at least some of my position. Katie, who blogs at Uneasy Pink, had the audacity to kill the collective buzz when she commented that breast cancer isn’t sexy and oh, by the way, it kills women. You can read her post for details.

I still believe in humor. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t call my blog Dispatch From Second Base. And I still don’t care whether you call them boobies or tatas or hooters.

But the FYB Foundation went well beyond using humor or slang. They made it clear they’re going after the Beavis and Butt-head crowd (“Boobies–heh heh heh.”) How? By removing Katie’s comments and keeping the “I want to feel ur boobs” comments. That would be like me posting the searches from guys who want to know how to get to second base with a girl and end up at my blog. (Come to think of it, they might be the same guys.)

If that’s who FYB is targeting, why not educate them? Perhaps a “When Boobies Attack!” campaign. “Yo, dude, chemo really makes you barf. Worse than a beer bong hangover.” Hey, how about a “Let’s keep the Bettys from barfing” campaign? Complete with spewing visuals like Tosh .0!

By way of clarification, the Feel Your Boobies Foundation is not the group behind the I Love Boobies campaign. That’s the other thing that struck me when this hit the fan. Boobies seem to be coming out of the woodwork. (Weird visual, I know.) And they seem determined to meet or surpass the mass pinkification of this disease.

And the question I have is, where does that leave us, the flesh and blood women who have experienced or are experiencing breast cancer? Women with hopes and dreams and fears? Women with lumps and bumps and scars? Women with husbands and children and siblings and cats and dogs?

I honestly don’t know. I believe we need to share our stories and experiences. I believe we shouldn’t judge each other’s choices, in treatment or in what or how we choose to advocate. But I draw the line at groups who say they support breast cancer, then censor the women who know it better than anyone while letting a bunch of knuckleheads post remarks that belong on a public restroom stall.

We don’t need to agree, but I don’t think showing each other some respect is too much to ask. In Twitter parlance, FYB had a huge respect fail.

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11 thoughts on “Whose Breast Cancer Is It, Anyway?

  1. Another very intelligent addition to the discussion on this issue Jacks. You know I really have to wonder about the mentality behind some of these campaigns. Invariably there is a breast cancer survivor behind them which makes me even more confused. I just don’t get it. It’s starting to feel like a bit of a betrayal quite frankly. As you say, “whose breast cancer is it anyway?”. I’d also like to think we can all live happily under one big tent, but when the viewpoints and PRIORITIES are so far apart, I really don’t think it’s possible. Incidentally the founder of FYB did respond to my one post that wasn’t deleted, and said that she too felt research was what was going to get us a cure, but in essence that wasn’t her bag as other organizations were doing that. It’s kind of funny because the I Love Boobies people said exactly the same thing on Peggy Orenstein’s post. So the attitude seems to be we know research is important but we won’t worry about it because someone else will. Well who is giving research #1 priority? Again I have to ask. Because obviously everybody else is too busy making money and getting tax-free status for bogus boobie awareness campaigns. Just continue to shake my head Jacks.

  2. your timing may be perfect, actually. it allows you to model a kind of modesty and humility that seems rare here on the interwebs. i admire your integrity, jackie.

  3. Jackie,
    Great commentary here, Jackie, and thanks for clarifying the two organizations. I thought they were both one in the same. It seems kind of unbelievable in a way they both like the word boobies so much! And yes, your visial is interesting!

    Like you, generally I don’t care what a group calls themself or how they raise their money IF it goes to research, but of course in this case it is not. So, I am going to speak my mind on this too, because as you said in your title, whose breast cancer is it anyway?

  4. Pingback: “Boobies.” I said it. Now, May I Have Your Attention Please? «

  5. Jackie,

    This is a beautifully written posting! Your assessment of the situation is right on target.

    I don’t know why women in organizations that demean women feel it’s OK to make fun of breasts. It’s so juvenile, really. I think they are truly insensitive or brainwashed or just would rather not dwell on the reality that breast cancer is real and it really kills women.

  6. And it’s not just that breast cancer can kill women, it’s that lots of women also live (a long time) with the very real results of having had breast cancer. We are not the sum of our parts and breasts do not make a woman a woman. Maybe it’s the sad fixation on breasts (aka boobies, tatas, etc) in our culture that keeps us from experiencing deeper realizations about what it means to be human.
    Thanks for this blog!

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