save the what?

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i saw this shirt when i ran in race for the cure last year. i found it offensive then, and i find it offensive now. i am not sure what made me think of today, maybe it was my run around the rose bowl (where the race occurred) that put me in the same location, different time.

save the ta-tas. it’s not just some home-made shirt, but a legit organization that helps fight breast cancer…it claims.

i find it offensive on several fronts.
it objectifies women on the basis of one aspect of the female anatomy.
it reduces breast cancer to something that affects only one aspect of a female.
it treats the breast as vital to being a woman and, thus, her existence.

i realize that breasts are part of a woman’s identity, what sets women apart from men. they are an important part, i agree, but they do not encapsulate a woman, her identity, and what it means to be a woman. a woman is still a woman, with or without her breasts.

of the women i know who have battled, survived, and succumbed to breast cancer, none are most concerned about saving her breasts. most talk is centered on treatments, prognosis of overall health, pain, physical changes (loss of hair, loss of strength, nausea), the emotional state which seems to ebb and flow on a daily basis, and the spiritual questions which seem to arise as one asks “why” or speculates impending fate.

i’m sure talk of breasts occur in light of surgery and their possible removal. i’m sure talk of breasts occur, but it doesn’t seem that this is the main concern with women fighting this battle. and it doesn’t seem right that this would be an organization’s main battle cry as we fight alongside these brave women.

save the what?
save the woman’s dignity in treating her more than just an aspect of her uniquely female anatomy.
save the woman’s respect in knowing there is more going on in her fight of breast cancer, like her physical, emotional, and spiritual survival and well-being.
save the woman’s identity in recognizing that she is a woman regardless of her cup size.

3 thoughts on “save the what?

  1. Thank you for posting this! I understand raising awareness through many different avenues to gain attention. I agree with your thoughts on DIGNITY, RESPECT, and IDENTITY. When you are looking down the road of cancer sometimes the tasteless phrases detract from the real battle. I feel the same way about “Cancer Sucks” – it is true, but come on…
    When you talk about going home from the hospital with drains, new exercises and no breast(s) – “Save The Tatas” seems so demeaning.


  2. it’s a hard call, you know? i support breast cancer research in its many facets. on the surface, this ad seems so innocent and catchy, but i’m just turned off by the underlying connotations that accompany it. i found it interesting that on the website mentioned in the blog, the photos were all of young attractive women and men. sure, there was sheryl crow who has fought her own battle, but none of women actually in the battle. i wonder how they would feel about this campaign?
    agree with your comments, s. thanks for posting them!

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