Do I talk about chemobrain? Do I rant about some social injustice? Do I bitchblog about the pink ribbon? Choices choices choices. What's a woman to do?? To the person who commented on my April 1 blog entry, The Fools Day Post, I'm pissed off again.
Go ahead and lecture me about how I shouldn't be pissed off. Go ahead and tell me I should just accept it because after all, isn't all awareness good and isn't anything that draws attention to "our cause" worthwhile? I called bullshit on that one. And nothing will ever change my mind. All awareness is NOT created equal and to be perfectly honest, there is NO NEED to raise awareness unless we are talking about doing so in an impoverished third world country where, yes, there is much work to do.
In this country, in Canada, in much of Western Europe, in Australia..... we are in great shape on the awareness front. We know what pink means. We know we need to get mammograms. We are aware of the DISEASE that is Breast Cancer. Wait! Apparently, there are still people who don't realize that every woman, by virtue of the the fact that she IS A WOMAN, is at risk of developing breast cancer??!? Well halle-friggen-lullia and thankfully we have some young enterprising French-men, self-annointed, self-appointed knights in shining armor who have swooped in on our behalf. The've come to rescue us. We are damsels in distress.
There's nothing sexier than a chivalrous man. (Is that even grammatically correct? Do I even care?) If that's at the core of a man and it's sincere, chivalry is okay by me. There are plenty of times I am beaten up by life and I'll gladly slip into the "weaker sex" role. Being weak makes me stronger. A man sees a problem and he might be inclined to feel the need to fix things. Including sometimes, things that are not broken.. or sometimes, they may intentionally break something so they have a reason to fix it.... or sometimes, there is just another motivation. Mostly, men want to fix things out of genuine concern. Most men. Not all, but definitely most. Some would rather leave us to our own resourcefulness and those guys are great, too. Some however, back me into a corner, take advantage of me or someone I care about and I can't help myself. Those people, not exclusive to men FOR SURE, but those blood suckers, male or female, just force me to summon my inner bra burning bitch, my rebellious raucous rowdy razor rip you to shreds tongue bitch.
Enter Boobstagram. An ingenious website (I really really REALLY wish there was a "universal sarcasm font") wherein women are instructed that "Showing your boobs on the web is good, showing them to your doctor is better." The website is filled with photographs of beautiful "boobs" in some exquisite lingerie. They have a Facebook page and a twitter feed. Breasts breasts everywhere. All beautiful breasts. The Facebook page looks a bit pornographic and I am FAR from a prude. Why, whatever do you mean Miss? I mean...... I'd like to morph into Diane Lane. I mean, this is a French website and I'm sayin' my mind is on that young, adorable, hot French guy in the movie Unfaithful..... I'm so there. In a New York minute. I'm not a prude. Yes, in that public restroom. Like I said, I'm NOT a prude. And, I'm a sucker for a man with a killer accent.
Ok.... So I'm not a prude. In my mind, I'm not a prude. In the real world, well, I'm not a kiss and tell kinda gal. Well then, Miss, Who Are You? I'm a woman who pulled the short straw by developing a disease. THAT disease. There is a line in the sand on Booby Beach. On one side are the women with breast cancer flanked by their fierce supporters and on the other side? Well, there are a mess of people capitalizing on the disease by turning everything into some sort of comic event. Who can come up with the most outrageous concept? Who can exploit women (many of whom are struggling already) in what may be the most egregious awareness campaign I've seen thus far?
I know many women whose bodies have been surgically altered, mutilated when you come right down to it, and despite the most masterful plastic surgeons, nothing is more perfect than having the parts we were born with. In tact. With real sensation, nerve endings sending signals to our brains. Not pulling. Not itching. I know those women. I am that woman. And, seeing my scars and dealing with the emotional fallout that can linger for years, the last thing I want to do is look at young, perfect, perky, scantily clad, suggestively posed "boob" shots.
Hell. I don't even think women with their own perfect body parts want to really scroll through pages and pages of that shit. Unless they are looking at the lingerie...... perhaps in search of the perfect undergarment...... perhaps in anticipation of running into some hot guy with an accent.... and they want to be perfectly accessorized should they find themselves in a situation where said hot guy is tugging at their blouse..... Obviously, since none of the lingerie is for sale, these photos are not for women. It's another one of those, slap a pink ribbon on it and call it awareness. Someone on twitter had some harsh things to say. I would have asked that particular twitter person to speak for herself but she is @SusanKomenGhost and she only speaks when she feels like making an appearance from the other side. I can't summon her at my will. This was her suggestion to her sister: Team up with these guys and call this campaign "Jack Off For The Cure." And yes, if you wondered, the title of this entry is a play on those words. I didn't want to be THAT crude right out of the gate.
To lend a bit of credibility, there is a "Why" page on this website. The "founders" introduce themselves and include the credentials that make them qualified to launch such a site and further explain how this site is the greatest way to raise awareness through fun rather than fear. Really? Has France ceded from this planet and moved to a new galaxy? OK... that's not fair either.....it's not France. Allow me to rephrase.... Have these two guys gone from human to alien and departed Planet Earth? What the HELL does that even mean? Fear to fun. There's nothing fun about breast cancer or screening for it either. I was at the screening game for 20 years and being told, "Don't get changed yet, there is dust on the film, we need more images" .... nothing but terror. Sheer terror. Most times it IS nothing but dust. Until one time, it's something like cancer.
On that same "why" page (which, by the way had me screaming, "yes, WHY?????") where we learn about their impeccable street cred, there are quite a few mentions of one of my other favorite words in the breast cancer arena. Sir, must you ask which word? Prevention. Not only does the word appear, there are explanations about primary prevention and secondary prevention. Seriously? Let me shout in my sternest voice. NOTHING can be done to prevent breast cancer a.n.d. no matter HOW EARLY the disease is caught, there is NO way to prevent a local, or for that matter, a distant recurrence. We can only employ risk reducing behaviors and then ..... roll those dice. The rest is a crap shoot. Or pulling the short straw. Or being in the ranks of The Lucky Ones. I "crapped out" primarily. I'm hoping secondarily that the next time I'm the shooter, I have better luck with the dice. Better still, maybe some hot guy with an accent can be the shooter and I'll just stand there and blow on the dice......(And yes, I know it's two dice and grammatically, I should say with the die..... but I have an issue with the letters d.i.e. For me, they are a bit, ummmm, dicey?)
How about getting the facts straight if the goal is awareness? Let's start by dispelling this great big myth. Let's banish the word "prevent" from the breast cancer vocabulary. Let's stop making breast cancer some sort of "sexy" disease. If you can't grasp those concepts, you are on the other side of the sand line on Booby Beach. You want to do something for awareness by throwing lots and lots of boobs on a Facebook page for awareness, CHANGE the conversation. Do something that may actually HELP one of us. Make people aware that women are dying and the numbers remain unchanged for decades. Make people aware that early detection is not a magic bullet for all. Make people aware we didn't cause our disease, we can't be cured and we can't do a damn thing to control what the disease may decide to do in the future. Reality doesn't sell. Sex sells. Scantily clad females with a shadow of a nipple peeking out of a lacy black bra sells. Scars scare. Scars are the reality. Scars definitely do NOT sell.
No one said it better than Osocio, a website that contains "the best non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes." Read the whole piece. It's written by a man. One of the fixers. The real fixers. I love how he notes this may be the ultimate example of an awareness effort using sex for attention. Then, read the two articles in Huffington Post. One is in the US edition. The other is in the UK edition. Read the comments. There is one by someone called Blond Ambition that sums things up pretty nicely. Her comment is in the US edition. The other comments are equally strong in their opinions. Lots of men. All disgusted. The good guys. The guys on our side of the beach. The ones who are genuine and real and who want to fix this.
And while I'm at it.... someone has to tell me WHY this boob stuff is okay for Facebook. Women without breast cancer flaunting their bodies for "the cause" in what amounts to soft porn stays up while something done by women with breast cancer is too risqué? This is a story for another day, but these are Survivors. Survivors who chose a method of healing through artistic impression. Having their bodies painted. Not to cover their scars but to feel better abut their bodies. To reclaim a sense of spirit and hope. The paintings tell their unique story. Their bodies are fully covered. They are cancer patients. No one... NO ONE.. made a dime from the venture.... and this is violates the terms and conditions of Facebook? The scantily clad suggestive pose with real breasts is okay. The beautifully painted body of a woman who suffered the physical and emotional pain of a mastectomy, who "parts" are the handiwork of a surgeon.... HER awareness, too suggestive?? Another story, another day.....
I am appalled. You need to start giving out the Boob awards that Rachel started on Cancer Culture Chronicles. And Facebook wouldn't let Jaimie Inman's artistic piece stay on. ARRRGGHHH!ReplyDelete
To your point, they also forced David Jay (creator of the SCAR Project) to remove his 'offensive' photos. Double standard, much???Delete
I will be adding a post about the SCAR project and the BCABPP censorship. I wanted to compare those two projects from the point women choosing how to "honor" their bodies after breast cancer and how we are being silenced. Thank you for letting me know that the SCAR photos were censored, too. Yes, bring the media, BA...... I'll bitch to anyone who is willing to listen...... This is wrong..... On so many levels....Delete
I know! I was pissed off about Jamie's photo.... She can weigh in on twitter with the details. I am HONORED that you even mentioned Rachel's name in connection with my rant. I'm a bit choked up by that. Thank you....
(1 of 2) I'm not the always brilliant @SusanKomensGhost, but I do need to remain anonymous due to rampant discrimination against medical conditions in the workplace -- even prior ones after they've been successfully treated. Never realized BC fell under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", but I learned the hard way. : /ReplyDelete
That said, I can take partial credit for 'raising awareness' of this outrageously offensive site. Let's be clear, this is about a double standard. As a reconstructed survivor, I appreciate a nice breast as much as the next person. Post-BC,I don't have animosity towards Playboy, Maxim, and other magazines that focus on women's bodies or even businesses such as Victoria's Secret or Hooters for that matter. If people can make a buck from celebrating women's bodies, more power to them.
However, Boobstagram is NOT that and I take issue with them aligning what amounts to nothing more than a free, voyeuristic site with a serious and often deadly disease. The intentions of the horribly misguided judgment of the men who launched this site are nothing short of exploitive -- not just for luring women to submit photos of their breasts, but FOR DOING IT UNDER THE GUISE OF 'PREVENTING' BREAST CANCER AND 'RAISING AWARENESS'. Because this site doesn't do either. It doesn't educate, it doesn't inform, and it doesn't raise money. It's nothing but a site for lascivious (and cheap) men to get off looking at boobs for free without having to whip out their credit cards for a porn site.
(con't next post)
(2 of 2) As your blog points out, there is NO WAY to prevent breast cancer nor does a cure exist. Awareness has been achieved, but here's the rub -- mammograms and other diagnostic tests are utilized to FIND breast cancer. These tests DO NOT PREVENT breast cancer. Are we clear?ReplyDelete
The only value to 'Awareness' is that the disease might be diagnosed at a stage when it can be most successfully treated. That is the best a woman can hope for, but it is NOT a cure and does NOT guarantee that the disease will not recur down the road and metastasize, taking your life.
(Oh, and by the way, Frenchies, your info is also flawed about BC being a disease that doesn't afflict young women -- I personally know 30+ women who were all under 40 (and some as young as their mid-20's) at the time of their diagnosis).
As I pointed out in my HuffPo comment, breast cancer is the furthest thing from fun and about the least sexy thing I can think of. I am still trying to understand why people (who might be otherwise well-intentioned) must continually turn a horrible and disfiguring disease into something fun, pink, sexy, and frivolous. There are many theories to this and pink culture certainly hasn't helped matters.
Lastly, if you are as outraged about this as I am, I implore you to contact Facebook and Twitter, because Boobstagram is clearly in violation of the 'Terms of Service' of both sites (and in the case of Facebook, they just purchased Instagram, which is the digital service they are uploading the pictures with).
Let me be perfectly clear: If Boobstagram was simply a site for men to look at pictures of boobs and bimbos looking for their 5 minutes of fame, I wouldn't have an issue with it. Heck, send them out as e-cards to one another if that's what turns you on. BUT ... aligning the site with a horrible disease -- especially one that directly affects the breasts they so covet is not just insensitive, but depraved indifference.
Would it be okay for someone to launch a site called "Bottoms Up" to support families who have lost loved ones to DUI accidents and ask people to upload pictures of themselves responsibly enjoying alcoholic beverages in the name of 'Awareness'?
Here are the links for Facebook and Twitter if you'd like to file a complaint. I'm also suggesting we get some journalist and media attention for this.
Facebook (page feedback form)
Twitter (flagging media violations)
Thank you, BA212 for taking the time to add your thoughts here and for giving us the links to let the social media networks HERE our outrage. You make so many great points. I really appreciate you adding your voice to this conversation. Thank you, again!! PS-I Hate that you have to hide because of an illness. Maybe in a perfect world, we can raise our voices for change. So much work to do. So much awareness to raise..... Are people aware of THIS? Your dilemma. Of course not.... but we need scantily clad, titillating photos and that will fix everything..... Rock On, new friend.....Delete
I wasn't really aware of this one...Good lord, when will it end? The sexualization of breast cancer just keeps getting more bizarre. You said it all in your rant. Thank you.
Thanks, Nancy. Bizarre is right... and they are taking bizarre to new heights.....Delete
Damn, girl, you are on fire!! Mesmerizing to read this posting. Like Nancy, I hadn't heard of that gimmick. I admire your honesty and your being so right about all of these issues. Why does society sexualize breasts and breast cancer. Fear IS NEVER fun. What the hell is wrong with them. And I love this line of your posting: "I know many women whose bodies have been surgically altered, mutilated when you come right down to it, and despite the most masterful plastic surgeons, nothing is more perfect than having the parts we were born with. In tact. With real sensation, nerve endings sending signals to our brains."ReplyDelete
I'm one of these women, too, and I suffer. I don't feel crazy-sexy for having had breast cancer. I grieve for the parts I was born with.
On fire, yes.. I was so PISSED off when I saw the site.... I did look through the photos trying to find JUST one that was even slightly out of focus or with ANY redeeming quality. Looking, of course, only made me MORE pissed. Thanks, Beth....Delete
I've been doing the monthly health activist writer's challenge on my blog, so I haven't been doing my weekly round up - hence I missed this post. I asked on FB if anyone had come across this monstrosity and Sarah H. said you had written about it..so I had to come straight here. WORDS FAIL ME!!! But thankfully, they don't fail YOU! Arrrghhhhh! Boobstagram! Arrrrghhhh!!!ReplyDelete
Words were failing me for a few hours while I simmered myself down to truly express how damn angry I am.... Thanks to Sarah for sharing! Good for YOU keeping up with the writers challenge. I tried but couldn't sustain working with the prompts after the first week. Too much going on -- including son here for several days recouping from surgery. I do love some of the prompts and I am keeping the list.Delete
I saw this sometime in the past week. Honestly, just when you think things could not get more idiotic, they do. Really, I've got to get some snark on and make fun of this. In the meantime, however, I refer you to a previous post, "Oh, That Crazy, Sexy Breast Cancer."ReplyDelete
Your Sistah in Snark,
I'm off to read.... and yes, I would love to see you make mince meet out of this! xoxo someone on twitter hash tagged a tweet with #fuckezvous which really make me laugh......Delete
What follows is a comment from Gayle Sulik. She sent it to me in an email because it would not post here. I appreciate her words and want to share:ReplyDelete
I was waiting to find out what you thought about this latest iteration of sexy breast cancer as an excuse for awareness! Slap a ribbon on it and call it a day. Show some boobies and, as the brilliant @susankomenghost points out, "Jack off for the Cure." How have we come to this? Why is this okay? The devastation of cancer has been erased with the perky, plucky, overflowing cleavage meant NOT for women, but for the male gaze? When will women own their own bodies, and their own diseases? Not today. Not until we demand it. Thanks for sharing. --Gayle
And my reply....... to Gayle.... The brilliant voice of @susankomenghost tweeted her approval of the rant... and she suggested another title:Delete
"Jacques For The Cure"
She's very good with the wise cracks.....
First I laughed at the whole concept and asked myself , Why are these women who showed off their lovely ladies so damned gulible & stupid? Have they not learned anything??? You don't have to do that. You don't have to show off your body because some fool is smart enough to reel you in on the pretext of being a bigger ad for Breast Cancer.. I just shake my head.. move on to the next dummy! BTW Anne Marie great blog. Love Alli XXDelete
That does really get me, AnneMarie: all the topless stuff being ok as long as it's not breast cancer related. I wonder how many nude beaches in the world allow the unreconstructed (or reconstructed) topless women to bare their stuff. Who knows? I just love your rants. They tickle my chest bone. xxReplyDelete
Good QUESTION.... HOW uncomfortable would people be if they saw the reality of mastectomy. There are so many options, too. Unreconstructed both sides or just one......all the way to fully reconstructed with nipples and everything in between. Would make for a good photo lineup. I'd be at the end of the line. I went all the way with my reconstruction. Confident in clothing. Unclothed? Not So Much. And I doubt that will ever change. It's simple. They ain't mine.Delete
AM: I am really behind in my reading (for same reason Marie mentions) and you did not disappoint! ;-)ReplyDelete
I am renaming you "The Voice" — 'cause you are OUR voice!
Ahhh Renn... I am VERY behind on my reading, too. I feel badly about the blogroll because I know there are other blogs I read and I forget to come here and add to the list. Flipside... if I take the list down, I will never remember to check in on everyone!Delete
The Voice..... HaHa..... This just isn't right... and I can't sit back when something is so wrong.