"Awareness" Has Officially Jumped The Shark

At this point, campaigning for breast cancer "awareness" is kind of like asking people in America if they've ever heard of that one Jesus dude.  A veritable sea of pinkwashing, ribbons, and Susan G. "Only we can use the phrase "For the Cure" and we will spend your donations suing everyone else who tries no matter what disease they're focused on curing - oh and our specially-commissioned perfume contains a toxin known to increase one's risk of breast cancer but we don't give a shit" Komen floods us every October.  You would have to be living under a rock in the ass-crack of nowhere to be unaware of breast cancer by now.

Even so, there are less-offensive and -annoying ways to go about promoting "awareness" at which I will only roll my eyes... and then there are...well...this:

A kiosk in a shopping mall, displaying tote bags, shirts, and an assortment of other items, with pink heart-shaped balloons tied at each corner and a sign across the top saying "BOOBIES ROCK" flanked by pink ribbons
In case you can't see the sign clearly, here:

A close-up crop of the sign from the previous image, reading "BOOBIES ROCK for breast cancer awareness"

My mom and I went to the mall yesterday - thank you for buying me a massage, lunch, and a bottle of delicious alcohol, Mom! - and as we were meandering in the general direction of the entrance to leave, she said "Oh. My. God." and stopped.  So I looked where she was looking, and dead ahead of us was this monstrosity of a kiosk.  I grabbed my phone and started snapping pics of this awful piece of awfulness as we prowled around the kiosk, taking in the full force of the WTF on display.  Because lest you think that the name of the kiosk is the worst part, let me reassure you: we have only just begun our tour of this thing.

A black t-shirt hanging on the kiosk, reading "i [heart] motorboating" in large print and beneath it in small print "for breast cancer awareness"
For the blissfully ignorant, "motorboating" refers to shoving one's face between someone's breasts and shaking it back and forth while making "pbbbbbbbth" noises.  Fucked if I can figure out *why* you would do this, though.  I think it's supposed to be funny?  o.0

But I had no idea motorboating also had magical powers of increasing awareness of breast cancer!  Magical, I say!  Motorboat for breast cancer awareness!  Shoving your face into someone's cleavage and making silly noises is the best way to make them aware of the potential for cancer lurking there! 

Unless of course it's just a eyeroll-inducing lol-tastic excuse to give your motorboating jokes a sheer veil of legitimacy. 

A black can-cozy emblazoned with the main logo for "BOOBIES ROCK! for breast cancer awareness", with pink sparkly tinsel coming out of the top
This was the main logo.  There were stacks of t-shirts with this design, wristbands, tote bags, cup-cozies, everything. 

I did a little research on "Boobies Rock" before I started writing this.  It's apparently a company that purports to be, in essence, marketing breast cancer "awareness" (Fuck it, I'm going to make this post into a drinking game.  Take a shot every time I say "awareness".  With luck, I'll pass out before I finish.) to the younger crowd.  Their Facebook is full of event invites to trendy cocktail parties "for the cause", and their mission statement, taken from their blog, reads...
Our mission is simple; to create awareness through fun, fashionable and humorous clothing and accessories.
Which I'm pretty sure translates to "Hey, we have an excuse to make boob jokes on t-shirts because AWARENESS you guys!"  (take a shot)

Another hanging black t-shirt, this one reading "i [heart] hooters!" in large print, and in small print underneath "that's why I support breast cancer awareness"
Support breast cancer awareness (take a shot) because you like hooters, not because you give a shit about people struggling for their lives against a deadly disease!  That's not dehumanizing at all!

A red t-shirt with the Kool-Aid jug guy and text reading "Nice Jugs!" 
This one didn't even have word fucking one about cancer that I could see - there's a little black bar that had some kind of text but it's tiny and unreadable, you'd basically have to stick your face to someone's torso to read it if it were on a person.  The AWARENESS (take a shot) excuse is wearing away, I see.  And the Kool-Aid guy, really?  Please stop mining my childhood for your shitty t-shirts.

The piece de resistance: a black vinyl tote bag with a big pink-and-white ribbon, with pink and white text overlaying it reading "ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING!"
So: boob joke, boob joke, boob joke, boobies! - and the one piece of merchandise that seems to be aimed at THE PEOPLE FOR WHOM ALL THIS AWARENESS (take a shot) STUFF IS DONE, you know, breast cancer sufferers/survivors, REMEMBER THEM?  Yeah, the people this cause is supposedly supporting and helping?  Lol, I know, it's so hard to remember PEOPLE when you've got BOOBIES on the brain.  All the tiny violins for you.  All of them.  ANYWAY!  The *one piece* of this crap that is actually *about* people directly affected by the disease you're cracking boobie jokes about...

...is a condescending piece of The Secret horseshit.

I'm not particularly surprised, but I am absolutely appalled.

Attitude is Everything?  That's the "encouraging" message you want to send to those struggling with a deadly disease?  Think Positive! while you're racing time to see if the treatment can kill the cancer before the cancer kills you.  Attitude is Everything! so I guess if you are going broke from medical expenses you just gotta look on the bright side and everything will be better.  What the cockjuggling fuck is this shit?

I will say that, flipping through their FB page, I see that they donate some of their profits (there's no specifics about how much or what percent of their income from sales is going to these donations) to a number of local- and state-based orgs who are focused on patient support, increasing access to quality care, etc.  And these are absolutely good orgs, not the "AWARENESS" (take a shot) kind.  So that's a definite plus.

But when you're making the money you donate by selling boob-joke shirts that completely eliminate the person in favor of LOL BOOBIEZ, I have to question whether the funds raised are worth their social cost.  The more people see of this "Save the TaTas" type of crap, the more we turn breast cancer into a boob joke instead of a serious illness.  The more we go "lol boobiez" the less we pay attention to the environmental causes and the less we focus on trying to hold accountable those whose products and manufacturing techniques contribute toxins that raise the incidence of breast cancer, even as they slap pink ribbons on their packaging for one month out of the year and reap the benefits of increased positive consumer regard.  The more we think of breast cancer as threatening the all-important titties instead of threatening people's lives, the harder we make things for survivors who have had to have partial or total mastectomies to save their lives.

Because sometimes, with this disease, you have to lose the breasts to save the person.  Because the person's life is more important than their breasts.  And if you can't figure out how to raise money without turning that priority order around, it's probably better for everyone if you just stay out of breast cancer awareness movements altogether.

(take a shot)


Teaspoon said...

I would like to say something intelligent, but I drink I'm too thunk, now.  Instead, I will just make a hand sign of solidarity and try to figure out which of these three shot glasses is the one I started with, and where the frack the other two came from.

Jadelyn said...


Maverynthia said...

We must protect the man pillows at any costs, for that is the ONLY important thing about women! Urgh seriously, first the gender breast cancer with pink now this? >_<

RachelB said...

Thank you for this post. Yarg, "save the tatas" makes me grind my teeth. Because I know that radical mastectomy generally has a longer recovery time and more swelling than lumpectomy-- there are sensible reasons to choose a less radical surgery if you can.

But this slogan doesn't focus on complications, or recovery time, or any of the things my mom and grandma were concerned about when considering their treatment options-- it's all about preserving women as symmetrical objects (to which, ugh). Nor does it acknowledge that sometimes the longer recovery time of a mastectomy is worth it. I am very glad that I got more time with my grandma. And although she was hella annoyed by the drainage tube phase, she seemed to like one-boobed life just fine.

CaitieCat said...

Well said, Jadelyn!  It's good to see some critical analysis of this kind of stuff, because the pinkwashing thing (like greenwashing) is just out of control.  And the using it as an excuse for objectification?  That's just freaking repulsive.  :/

Jadelyn said...

It started with "Save the TaTas" and has gotten exponentially worse from there.  It's like everyone is celebrating having an excuse to say "BOOBIEZ" as many times as possible one month out of the year.  (As if they don't the rest of the time...?)

Jadelyn said...

Seriously.  There are nuanced ways to discuss how difficult full mastectomies can be - but BOOBIEZ is not it.  It's a "joke" that once again reduces women to objectifiable parts for the enjoyment of others. 

Jadelyn said...

It counts as critical analysis when I'm saying "take a shot" every other paragraph?  Schweet! ;-)

vickiea13 said...

Well damn girl, next time post the info about the shot first!  I could be a whole lot happier right now.  On a serious note, it was very well said and written.  Thanks!  And you're welcome for lunch and massage!

Jadelyn said...

Lol, I'll do that next time.

Maverynthia said...

But now they can say BOOBIEZ and "Let's objectify women to a pair of fat balls FOR A GOOD CAUSE!!11" Hell I'm planning on getting rid of my breasts "for the cause" because my family has a history of breast cancer.

Jadelyn said...

Eep.  I wish you well with that. 


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