Insensitive

1 Dec

This has already been brilliantly summed up by a new favourite discovery Boganette, but I feel the need to add my two cents.

A new breast cancer awareness campaign has been launched by online magazine/blog/girly website NZGirl. The tagline of the campaign is “I’ve got a lovely pair”.

Well. That’s nice for all the lovely young women with lovely pairs of boobs that are healthy and cancer-free but what about those of us that do not have a perfect pair? I find it a tad insensitive.

Their aim is to raise awareness of breast health and help towards prevention. Considering I followed a link to the campaign page, but completely missed their article on “breast aware tips“, it is a bit of a fail. On the other hand, I agree that it will be a great success if this campaign leads to even just one young woman checking her breasts and finding a lump that she may not otherwise have found (and I know this to be the case now). I’m not amazingly upset with the campaign (much respect to several of my great Twitter friends have posted their pairs up), but I just think NZGirl could have been a little more sensitive.

My real beef with it is that it doesn’t help those of us that are currently battling, or who have battled this disease. It is hard enough trying to feel good about yourself with a giant scar in place of a boob, and only enough hair on your hair for a very bad combover, without having lovely perfect pairs of titties on display. But perhaps that is not their intention. Their intention is to raise awareness, not help sufferers (this Twitter exchange between NZGirl’s director and I kind of sums it up I think). And if you’re judging this awareness-raising by the amount of traffic they must be receiving then it’s a fantastic win, as their site was down half of this evening.

Here you can read some of the debate on Stuff.co.nz. The fact that NZGirl said they hadn’t consulted with breast cancer survivors or sufferers prior to the campaign launch appears to be contradictory to what they say here – though they say they talked to people affected by breast cancer which I guess could be people that know, or are related to a sufferer, survivor, or someone not so lucky. If they did consult with people like me, then perhaps they wouldn’t be receiving such wrath, although there seems to be a heck of a lot of people supporting them too. However I will concede that the market for campaigns like these is not those of us that already have the disease, but those young women that could be at risk.

I was also slightly miffed at another comment made on the Stuff article, by the chief executive of the NZ Breast Cancer Foundation – “Our focus is on the health and wellness of breasts so a lovely pair of breasts to us is a healthy pair”. I guess I’ll take my (un)lovely (half of a) pair of (un)healthy breasts and sit in a corner wondering when anything is going to be done to prevent young women like me getting this disease (another blog post is in the brewing about this issue).

I agree with the lovely Kate (a fabulous survivor) and don’t think the campaign was constructed with malicious intent, but it could have been carried out a bit better. Why not just post the breast care tips article, promote the heck out of it, make a donation to a breast cancer charity, and leave out the boobie shots. Or get people like Kate and I to get gorgeous portraits taken and post them up (like the amazing SCAR project – thanks to Bex for the link). Perhaps we’ll do our own campaign. I’ve been thinking about doing something like that, maybe getting body painted and some cool photos taken. Maybe a calendar. Anything where 100% of the proceeds go towards a good cause, and where the people behind it don’t benefit off the back of it (like massive increases in website traffic taking your site down).

Read more about pink-washing

Another great blog post on this subject: http://atouchofthecrazy.wordpress.com/2010/12/02/compassion-fail/

10 Responses to “Insensitive”

  1. Stef December 2, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. Like you I think there are better ways of a) raising funds and b) promoting breast awareness for early detection than just posting pictures of breasts to be voted on.

    • Kylie December 2, 2010 at 3:53 pm #

      Hi Stef – thanks for your comment. Totally agree that there are much better, more tactful ways of raising funds for this cause. Read your post which was great :) Have posted a link to it on this article too.

  2. Boganette December 2, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    I thought I’d replied to this but I guess I didn’t. Thank-you so much for sharing your story Kylie. It’s sad that voices like yours are getting lost in all the hysterical ranting about women being prudes who hate breasts if they don’t support the campaign. Your story is exactly why I’ve spoken about about the campaign. Breast cancer is about women. It’s not about ‘tits’. Thanks again, and I have you in my thoughts. Kia kaha.

    • Kylie December 2, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

      That’s exactly it. It shouldn’t be about boobs. It should be about women and health.

    • Kylie December 2, 2010 at 4:19 pm #

      And men too – it is rare but it does happen.

  3. Sarah December 2, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    Hey Kylie great blog. There is a calendar that my workmate is selling on behalf of breast cancer trust called black pearls I couldn’t find a link to the recent one but here is some info http://www.breastcancer.org.nz/reconstruction.htm#BRC3 there original cause was the gov taking survivors off the waiting list for reconstruction surgery

    • Kylie December 2, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

      Thanks Sarah – would love to buy a copy of the current one! A brilliant cause.

  4. JBBC December 5, 2010 at 2:26 am #

    I too find this campaign offensive and thanks for writing such a great blog post explaining why this is so inappropriate.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Friday Round Up « Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer - December 5, 2010

    [...] to upload pictures of their breasts – healthy, young breasts one assumes. The writer of A lump in the road writes a great post on the insensitivity and downright offensiveness of the campaign and refers to [...]

  2. Halfway there « A lump in the road - January 9, 2011

    [...] lot else has been going on other than chemo mind you. After writing this post about an infamous breast cancer awareness campaign gone wrong (in my opinion, and several others as [...]

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