As some of you might know, I was recently asked to participate in a radio discussion on an NPR affiliate radio call-in-talk show called, “HearSay with Cathy Lewis,” the subject being some of the provocative breast cancer awareness campaigns/ads that continue to dismay almost on a daily basis it sometimes seems. This invitation came about as a result of my recent article on Huffington Post called, “Where’s the Feminism in the Awareness?”
I was simply going to share about this experience on Facebook, but not all readers use Facebook, plus I realized I had a few things to say about this topic AGAIN.
There seems to be no end to what many would call the tasteless breast cancer awareness ads and campaigns that continue to pop up. Of course the “tsunami” occurs in October, but now the “tidal wave” keeps “washing over” us all year long.
I’ve written about such breast cancer awareness campaigns/ads before and have also shared photos of some of this questionable stuff, so I’ll spare you the visuals this time. Here’s one earlier post on this topic in case you’re interested. Sadly, I have more.
Without a doubt, many breast cancer awareness ads and campaigns are indeed sexually provocative. Sometimes it seems they keep trying to out do one another. Sex sells; it even “sells” breast cancer awareness. Proponents of such ads and campaigns argue that grabbing the attention first is what matters. Meaningful conversation can start later.
So does this kind of logic work for you?
Does the end justify the means?
I say no; it does not. Objectifying women is wrong. Trivializing a deadly disease is wrong.
Frankly, I’m a bit tired of the let’s lighten up cancer excuse that seems to be the prevalent reasoning behind the existence and marketing of many such provocative breast cancer awareness ads and campaigns.
I say some things shouldn’t be lightened up or trivialized. Breast cancer is one of these things.
Here’s the link to the whrv/npr HearSay talk-radio discussion. Simply click on the download episode link further down on the page. The whole show is 50 minutes or so and well worth a listen, but granted, I am biased of course. I was impressed by the other two guests, the host and the listeners who called in as well.
If you don’t wish to listen to the whole thing, I’m on at around the 7:55 minute mark the first time, the 29:45 minute mark the second time and the 50 minute mark for closing remarks (which I did a really poor job of by the way…oh well, it is what it is, as they say…). Since this is my blog and you’re reading this, I’m assuming you want to listen to what I had to say, though again, the entire discussion is worth a listen.
If you choose to do so, thanks for listening. Just for fun, you can click on the radio to listen too!
And I have to ask:
Does the end justify the means?
Note: Gayle A. Sulik, Ph.D. and author of Pink Ribbon Blues, has written two compelling essays for Psychology Today which delve into this issue far better than I can here. The first is called, ”Do Sexy Breast Cancer Campaigns Demean Women?” Her follow-up essay, ”Sexy Breast Cancer Campaigns Do Demean Women. So What?” takes things a step further by explaining why it does matter. If you want to learn more about this issue, check them out.
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