26 September 2009

In which I swear a lot and talk about tits

So marketers have decided to target men's interest in breasts as a way to get them to care about breast cancer. Gah.

The best way we can get men to care about breast cancer is to remind them that it is all about much-beloved boobies, those soft and lovely objects of desire? Lord help me.

These ads make me sick. Yeah, titties are great fun for everyone but holy cats, give me a break already. To get a few more dollars for the cause, we further objectify women and, in the process, play into the idea that men are hopeless, sex-crazed goons who can't get their heads out of their asses unless a woman is shaking her boobs in their face. (Mixed metaphors our specialty).

Here's a hint for the marketers: breast cancer is a deadly, serious disease that affects a WHOLE WOMAN, not just her fun-sacks.

And another hint: most people - women included - don't give breast cancer much of a thought unless it has affected someone they know or unless they are in the radiology office for their yearly boob-smashing. And making it all about their lovely lady lumps isn't going to help.

"I pledge allegiance to my girls, to my chi-chis, to my hooters, to my ta-tas, to my gazongas. . . ."

Gah. I pledge allegiance to a worldview that represents women as whole humans, not just collections of sexually appealing parts.

Screw you, Susan G. Komen Foundation. Go take a 3-day walk and maybe when you get back I will be over hating your stupid ideas.

"The only people who could object to such ads are advocates for other kinds of cancer awareness." Really, Dan Neil? I don't think so. This is one woman who thinks that people can act like mature adults when they are discussing serious, life-threatening diseases instead of Hugh Hefner after he has had his Viagra prescription refilled.

What is next? Oh, I know! "Donate to help prevent Female Genital Mutilation and you might get laid by some hot African babe!"

Am I serious? Serious as cancer. Which, as you know, may affect my beautiful, bouncy boobs which I have right here on the front of my chest, because I happen to be a woman.

I am going to go beat my couch into stuffing with a tennis racquet. Good night.


Jessica said...

Hear hear! I completely agree!

Chase said...

A quote from the article "More breast cancer equals less awesome breasts."


That's just disgusting. Not only obviously written by a man, but an insensitive prick of a man, no less. Gah!!

SUEB0B said...

Hey! 2 wonderful women as my first commenters! Thank you for agreeing with me. I was wondering if I had gone too far up my feminist tree.

lifetraveler said...

I had not seen these ads. Disgusting. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

meno said...

Let's see the ad for prostate cancer, or testicular cancer.

"Limp dick can be the result of prostate cancer. Less screwing for you."

Yeah, right.

flutter said...

Um, and how about that men get breast cancer too? Where are the big tittied men in those ads?

anyone? anyone?

grace said...

This is a first class rant. Go you.

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

Amen and amen. So well said!

Jennette said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jennette said...

I hadn't seen these ads. Ridiculous. Your comments -- and the comments in the "Comments" -- are right on so far.

(deleted and re-posted because of confusing punctuation.)

Jeff said...

Yes, I agree. And yet, no.

Yes, these new ads are silly, verging on obnoxious. And no, they won't cause me to donate more to the Susan G. Komen Foundation than I already do. These are like those obnoxious political ads that run during the voting season, that almost make you rethink your position because you can’t believe that your guy approved that stupid ad.

But, as a friend gently reminds me every time I start to rant at one of those ads, those ads aren’t aimed at you. The breast cancer foundations are doing their level best to maintain donations in a difficult economic environment. There are researchers, community clinics, and individual women whose research, mammogram funding, and lives are at stake.

My wife and I have walked in four different 3-day events. We have raised around $40,000 in the process. Some of those donations come from drunken mouth breathers who used the donation opportunity to talk loudly about how much they loved boobs for 20 minutes. Some came from children whose mothers are no longer there because of breast cancer. But every one of those donations helped to keep someone like my wife, an eight year survivor of breast cancer, alive to be with their loved ones for a while longer.

Yes, I’m a man that was born with that evolutionarily determined, deep-seated fondness for breasts. And no, I can’t change that. I do my best to not stare, but I don’t always succeed. And yes, society objectifies people in stupid ways, and I can guarantee that will not change. So, as the saying goes about god granting us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference: These foundations are changing what they can, they are saving lives. I know I can’t change the Neanderthals out there, but I do hope for the wisdom to know the difference. I don’t always succeed at that either.

You want to change it? Please write to those foundations and encourage them to change their ads, and include a small donation while you’re at it. But please don’t demonize groups that are doing such important work.

Thanks for your time.
Jeff Kirby

SUEB0B said...

Thanks, Jeff, for being so kind and thoughtful, when you could have told me to stuff it. Thanks for doing your part to end breast cancer. You and your wife sound like great people. All the best.

Suzanne said...

Every October, I go batshit over the bullshit that happens for "Breast Cancer Awareness Month," which has turned into a cashcow for any company that slaps a pink label on their product. The irony is that many of these products contain chemicals linked to cancer. So in order to raise money for cancer awareness/research/whatever, we ask people to buy more of the very things that can lead to cancer. Vile, vile, vile.

Breast cancer sells because it is sexy.

Jeff said...

Thanks, SUEBOB.

Anonymous said...

I second everything Suzanne said in her comment. I am a breast cancer 'survivor' (a term which I disdain for many reasons) and every October I go crazy being beaten over the head with EVERYTHING breast cancer related. I send what little money I can afford to one specific local foundation which supports women who cannot afford mammograms or treatment, but I'm sick of being bombarded by everything from the morning news shows, even the legitimate evening news, not to mention the talk shows, with the tragic stories of those women who have suffered this awful, terrible disease.
Yes, the public needs to be aware of early detection, et al, but I am one aged, single white woman, who no longer has health insurance, who does NOT want to don pink t-shirts, or rally and walk with my fellow 'survivors'. And you're right, Suebob, it's about a hell of a lot more than just the tits. The consequences and ramifications of the multiple surgeries and complications have left me permanently scarred in more ways than just my chest. If I sound bitter, I am, and do not apologize for it. I was treated at one of the best university-connected teaching hospitals in my part of the country, and I think my overall care was deplorable. If breast cancer were more prevalent in the male population, mammograms wouldn't hurt and the treatment would not maim the patient.
I feel better now. I guess I'll just watch Netflixs or crappy reality TV for the rest of October.

Suzanne said...

Anonymous, don't even get me started. (Too late...) The idea of giving people who have no insurance free mammograms is laughable because no one gives people free treatment if they find cancer. Early detection only saves if you can do something about it. I'm not saying people shouldn't have the chance to find out that they have breast cancer so they can cobble together some sort of plan to save themselves, but it really lets society feel good about ourselves without doing anything to solve the problem.

Sarah Lena said...

Although I TOTALLY see where you're coming from, I have to agree with Jeff, above, when he makes the point that whether they were drunk frat-boys or women affected, the donations all flow in the right direction.

To be COMPLETELY honest, I don't think I'd do my run if it were a Susan G. Komen sponsored event. I just happen to know it flows DIRECTLY into our local women's center, where it can directly affect people I know. I believe Komen spends too much money on administrative fees and not enough on finding the cure.

Jessica Gottlieb said...

I love this.

I love it as the beginning of a discussion, because of the (many) things that I hate about these campaigns that are all wrapped up in pink is that there is no money being spent of prevention.

We wouldn't need a cure if we could find the cause, and I strongly suspect that half the shit they've wrapped in pink ribbons is carcinogenic.

Kathi said...

Wow, Suebob. How have we not stumbled upon each other before?? In the first place, your profile is surely a description of me -- old, single, childless, cranky -- oh, yeah.

You cannot possibly turn up the feminist volume too much for me, babe. I'm a member of that old guard from the 70's who cannot believe that we now have to put up with gender stereotyping & pink marketeering for our damn disease, too. Jeesh, already!!

Finally, one of my many snarky posts on this subject:

What's In A Name

Rock on.

katie ford hall said...

Congratulations! You are my new cyber crush.

As a person whose cancerous knockers were removed a couple of years ago, I thank you for taking a stand.

Jeff, take a closer look at what those foundations are actually doing. You might not be so ready to believe the ends justify the means. There really aren't very many ends, unless you count high salaries and brand marketing as an acceptable end. Breast cancer isn't any closer to being cured than it was when Susan Komen died.

Google "Komen Watch" and read some of what is being written. And please, please, please focus your energy and fund raising skills on organizations who are actually doing the work to end breast cancer.


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