Two weeks ago Dear Hubby and I attended a football game at our son’s college. My son doesn’t play football. He plays the tuba in the marching band. It was one of those warm, gorgeous blue-sky fall days. Plus it was homecoming, so of course the stadium was packed with spectators. As fate would have it, a man wearing a black t-shirt sat down a couple of rows in front of us. In large bold pink letters across the back of it were the words, “I support breast cancer awareness.”
Immediately Dear Hubby looked at me and said, “Well, that’s nice. Maybe you should take his picture.” He’s getting more used to me whipping out my camera wherever we go and snapping pictures of who knows what.
Hmm… Not so fast, I thought. I knew better. Besides I didn’t really want to draw attention to myself during the middle of a football game by zooming in on some strange man’s t-shirt which I was immediately “suspicious” of anyway.
Sure enough, a while later the man got up, turned around slowly to face the crowd, stretched his arms up high as if to say, “notice me,” and boy did we. On the front of his black t-shirt also in bold pink were two large pink hands cupped over the breast area of the t-shirt and of course, there were the words, also in pink, “I’ll Help Feel Your Boobies!”
Dear Hubby was embarrassed and said something like, “Oh, I didn’t know there was stuff like that out there.” Like I’ve said before, he doesn’t read my blog.
He wasn’t the only one embarrassed. Other people sitting around us were too. I could tell by the way they looked at the man and pretended not to look at the same time, then snickered and whispered to whoever was sitting close to them. People were ill at ease. People were distracted from the game!
That’s when it hit me. That’s what this type of t-shirt is, a distraction and in my opinion, not the right kind.
T-shirts like this distract from the seriousness of a deadly disease like breast cancer. They distract from the realities of breast cancer. They distract by demeaning and trivializing women’s bodies. (Again, why is this okay?) They distract from meaningful awareness. Heck, they even distract from a football game.
Organizations like Feel Your Boobies, Save the tatas, Keep A Breast (I love boobies campaign), Project Boobies and all the rest would say, that’s right; that is our goal. We want to be a distraction. We want to lighten up cancer. We want to distract from the seriousness of it. We want to grab the attention of a younger crowd.
I still say the younger crowd deserves better and by the way, the man wearing this t-shirt was not a member of the younger crowd.
I stand by the words in my earlier post about Feel Your Boobies.
Such tactics distract for all the wrong reasons. And like I’ve said before, I probably wouldn’t care so much if such organizations were delivering truckloads of dollars for research, but that does not appear to be the case.
I realize these t-shirts aren’t all that important in the scheme of things. I do believe in a person’s right to wear what-ever-in-the-heck they’d like. I just get irritated when such items are worn in the name of “breast cancer awareness” as if by wearing them something profound is being accomplished.
Finally, I’ll just mention that originally I was going to dig up more photos of the various silly t-shirts and bracelets that are out there and then I said to myself, no. Not this time.
I’m going to post photos of my son’s marching band instead.
What do you think?
Are such t-shirts, bracelets etc the wrong kind of distraction?
Or is any kind of “awareness” a good thing?