the sexism of awareness.

you may think that the ubiquitous awareness year round and pink ribbons galore in october are good things for women.  breast cancer is indeed a serious illness, and by no means do i intend to belittle it.  what i do intend to discuss is the disproportionate cancer awareness campaigns and ask why is breast cancer so in-your-face when it is survivable and something like ovarian cancer is more deadly.

in fact, there are several cancers that have pretty poor prognoses, but nobody knows their colors or awareness months.  the size of the campaigns are not equal to the amount of people affected by the disease nor based on how deadly a cancer is.  what it comes down to is whether or not the people affected, families and survivors, make some noise and get people to focus on research and early detection.  this has successfully worked for breast cancer, but now that breast cancer has effectively been brought under control, why beat a dead horse?  why not take the resources and work on other cancers that are more elusive, and give those victim’s the same chances as those with breast cancer.  it’s going to be a long time anyway until cancer is “cured” — so why not spread the wealth around and get everyone to the same place and THEN work on that magical elixir.

the lifetime risk of breast cancer in the united states is like 12%, contrary to what people would have you believe that WE ARE ALL GOING TO GET IT.  no, we’re not.  we may get another cancer.  or we might die of heart disease (apparently the #1 killer of women which no one is as afraid of).  or we might die in a car accident.  or get murdered.  the grim reaper is not wearing a large pink cloak, looming quietly behind us at every turn.

i agree that having a “lady disease” in the 1950s would be really terrible, because nobody then was probably openly acknowledging it or working on it.  how heartbreaking to suffer silently in a patriarchal culture which causes and then denies that suffering.  the responding breast cancer feminism in later decades brought the boobies out and “they” (whoever they are) licked the idea of it as terminal as well as embarrassing.

granted, the rate of those being diagnosed with and dying from ovarian cancer is much less, the prognosis is also much poorer.  women with ovarian cancer are fighting a deadlier battle and a much less recognized one.  so why all the focus on breast cancer?  think about it as you read the following awareness slogans: save the boobies, save the ta-tas, save a life grope your wife, save second base, i love boobies, priceless pairs, i’m here for the boobs, fight like a girl, etc.

do i really need to spell it out now?  ovaries aren’t sexy.  they don’t turn people on or look nice under clothes.  men frankly couldn’t give a fuck about our ovaries and half probably don’t even know what they do.  open your eyes ladies, it’s not about saving women’s lives….they say it right in the slogans: save the BOOBIES.  not save the women.  we’re just attached to those chest sacks, those lovely lady lumps.  and that’s pretty terrible for not only ovarian cancer, but pretty much all other organs.  all this time and money spent on breasts is less spent on lungs, colons, pancreas’, livers, stomachs, prostates, etc.  what we as women think is a woman-led coalition FOR women is actually detrimental to women and all of us.  the extensive (and yeah, sickening) breast cancer campaigns are sexist and take away from other, deadlier diseases.  EQUALITY FOR ALL CANCERS NOW!  and not just the sexy ones.

a comment on yahoo from a user words this perfectly:

“Breast cancer is a deadly disease, with disfiguring surgery, grueling treatments and no cure. Sexualising breasts in this way, and calling breasts by childish names, just adds to the popular notion of breast cancer as a trivial and somehow ‘sexy’ disease. There aren’t similar shirts for bowel cancer, or lung cancer. Nobody is walking around in ‘Save the bollocks’ shirts for testicular cancer . We should be campaigning for breast cancer awareness because it’s a deadly disease…not because we want to save ‘tatas’. …I’m not saying we should be…humuorless about cancer; I’ve had breast cancer and I’ve had a mastectomy, and dark humour – what I and my friends who’ve had cancer refer to as ‘tumour humour’ – kept me going ….  But I find slogans like ‘save the tatas’, ‘save second base’ and ‘I love boobies’ insulting and demeaning. And the images that usually accompany them somehow all the more inappropriate as 80% of women diagnosed are over 50 and the average age at diagnosis is over 60.  There’s no denying that breast cancer is trivialised by all the pink fluffy nonsense that surrounds breast cancer awareness and fund raising, and this trivialisation gives the impression that breast cancer is a less serious disease than it is. And slogans like this play their part.  What’s wrong with calling breasts ‘breasts’ and having a slogan that actually has something to say. If it were my workplace I’d suggest ’80 over 50′ or ‘One in eight’.”

let’s not forget that men can also get breast cancer.  yes, we have BREASTS, but they have pretty much the same tissue too, and while men aren’t getting it in the numbers women do…talk about a sexist campaign.

 

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~ by hollaphonic on 10/06/2011.

2 Responses to “the sexism of awareness.”

  1. Dude. Excellent.

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