October is about women, not breasts

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October is a beautiful month when breast cancer awareness campaigns manage to remind the women of the world that they are only as important as their breasts.

This twisted belief reminds people every year that we need to raise awareness for breast cancer to “save the twins” or “save second base.”

And what about the lives of women? Breast cancer is the deadliest form of the disease among women after skin cancer, and there is nothing beautiful or celebratory about it. It can end the life of a human being, or change it forever.

According to CBSNews.com, around 30 percent of all breast cancer survivors end up losing their jobs after they recover. That is just one example of how this ugly disease can ruin the lives of survivors.

by Flickr user Susan G. Komen

It seems like “Pink October” revolves too much around women’s value as wives, daughters, and mothers, but not focused enough on their lives — the importance of them personally, and the pain that they are going through dealing with breast cancer.

What do we do to support women whose lives have been devastated by breast cancer? We sell T-shirts to “raise awareness” by using numerous sayings that all usually come down to saying, “save breasts.”

Women, who could lose their hair and possibly one or both breasts, don’t need to see or hear “supporters” talking about how much they adore breasts. Support survivors because they need the strength and positivity, not because you are a fan of boobs.

The donations and awareness created by the sexualized, inconsiderate advertisements and campaigns does not make it okay to degrade women. The excuse that ‘sex sells,’ or any other excuse, is sexist and unsympathetic towards survivors and victims of cancer.

No other disease has been sexualized like breast cancer. From the feminine pink, to it being the only cancer awareness month that gets severe national attention, it is safe to say that many ideals about breast cancer awareness month can be adjusted for the sake of not sexualizing a disease.

October isn’t about meeting the needs of straight men or anyone who would like to be edgy because their shirt says “boobs” on it.

by Flickr user Susan G. Komen

Peoples’ ignorance regarding others’ differences is that they think knowing or seeing a breast cancer survivor who supports the sexualization of breast cancer awareness campaigns makes it okay to turn the other cheek to women who are offended by these campaigns.

Why not wear a shirt with guidelines for a women on how to perform a self-mammogram test to check for lumps? Is that not equivalent of having the word ‘boobs’ in big letters across your chest?

If you believe pink campaigns like this will remind a survivor of how beautiful they are, then why not tell them that through shirts saying “all survivors are beautiful”?

Whether it is a sports league selling pink “breast cancer” jerseys and hats, or a local event that is selling “pink” for money, people will continue to ignore the outcry against pink campaigns, as long as they believe that research is getting funded.

Don’t be afraid to listen to survivors and women battling breast cancer, because ignoring their voices will only continue to lessen awareness of sexism against women by campaigns that only see breasts — not women.

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