Despite the impression the title of this post might give, I have not turned into some mad breast fetishist – I’m referring to the 5th annual blogger Boobiethon
– an online fundraising initiative for breast cancer.
Apparently “"If they're worth looking at, they're worth saving!
" and the way this bare breasted gang of bloggers are going about raising money it is to post pictures of breasts – covered ones for free and naked ones in a paid members section.
I don’t think I’ve ever actually agreed with a feministing.com post (with not being a feminist and all that) but I found myself in the unusual situation of nodding along to this post- I don't like the implication that certain parts of women's bodies are "worth saving" because they're sexy. Boobiethon is sending a message that breast cancer should be stopped because it claims beautiful breasts as its victims-- not because it's a horrible disease that's killing women. I'd almost prefer a website that featured women naked from the belly button up, and showed their faces. Because at least then you can see that this disease affects real women, not just disembodied breasts.
I disagree with this campaign for number of reasons – the feministing reason above would be one.
Others would be that the objectification of breasts can’t be a good thing simply because it’s for a good cause.
Breast cancer is not about breasts, sexy or otherwise, it’s about women (and the small number of men) who get cancer. And cancer affects your body, your physiology, your person in a holistic way – it spreads, it attacks, it can kill all of you.
I’m nearly anti-breast cancer campaigns because they’ve become so woman/breast focused. I’m all for breast awareness, in the same way I’m all for young men knowing that lumps in their testicles should be checked out and middle-aged men with dribbling and hesitancy should be worried about their prostate – or smokers with heavy coughs, their lungs. Cancer awareness is about knowing the symptoms of early cancer that we can do something about – not just about standing up for breasts.
There are many other cancers that people get and their pictures aren’t as sexy – I doubt all but the most intense gastroenterologist could get excited at a picture of healthy pink colonic mucosa with normal glandular architecture – unfortunately live video footage of colonoscopies aren’t going to make every person who spends a little too long straining on the loo wear a little brown ribbon and walk for rectal cancer. Nor would pictures of healthy cervices make women run out for Pap smears.
Breast cancer is not a gender issue, it’s not a political issue. It’s a health issue. The funding of cancer research is something public and private interests are occupied with – ordinary people’s involvement with cancer research allows relatives and “survivors”/patients to contribute something. Saving women should become before saving boobies and fighting cancer as a disease entity should come first – which should translate in to things like urgently trying to reduce the number of women smoking as lung cancer kills more women than breast cancer, even though breast cancer is more common.
Sorry to disappoint, but my boobies are remaining covered and offline.
Labels: I'm Not A Feminist