It’s not even October yet, and I’m already dreading the upcoming pink-washing assault. I despise with a passion of a thousand fiery suns the following phrases: save the ta-tas, save the boobies or save second base. I am pretty sure if I ever saw someone wearing a t-shirt or some kind of apparel with those phrases on it, I might have a rage stroke. That’d be it for me. Dunzo.
Here lies Lara. Her rage caused her to burst into flames.
When it comes to breast cancer, screw the ta-tas, boobies or second base. The focus should be removing the cancer from the woman’s body, and oftentimes that means a single or double mastectomy. You know – not saving the breasts.
After all of my doctors recommended to me at my one-year checkup to have a double mastectomy because it looked like my cancer was attempting a come-back, I didn’t look at them and say, “No, I don’t accept your recommendations. You figure out a way to save my breasts. You hear me, doctor? Whatever it takes, and I mean whatever, you save my breasts!”
Hell no. I gave them one shot when I had an initial lumpectomy, but that turned out to not be enough. I didn’t want to have a double mastectomy (though who does?). I sobbed the night before my surgery. I asked my doctors repeatedly if this was the right decision to make. It’s a shitty situation to find yourself in, to have to decide to surgically remove a body part. I felt I had no choice but to have this surgery, and it destroyed me. If it was between me and my breasts, then of course I’m going to pick my life.
Since I had a double-mastectomy, does that mean I failed? Does that mean I am less than a woman since I technically don’t have breasts anymore, although I do have fake ones? Where’s the “It’s Okay You had a Double Mastectomy” awareness campaign? Where’s the “Free Side Hugs because you had a Double Mastectomy” campaign? Someone needs to start a “It’s okay – you’re still beautiful after a Mastectomy” campaign. I know, I know. Not catchy enough. Come on, Huffman. Think!
These cutesy or provocative slogans are offensive to me because they reduce women to a single body part – our breasts. The body part that could very well mean our death. It gives the clear message that the focus should be on saving our ability to be sexually attractive to the opposite sex. I did have a guy, some friend of a friend, ask me, “Did they save it all?” after I said that I was undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
His question floored me, so of course I had to berate him for saying something so stupid and offensive. “Save it all? You mean my breasts? Wow… Wow, congratulations. You’re the first person to ask me something so incredibly offensive and just weird.” The guy sputtered and left me alone, rightfully so.
If someone is reading this and thinking, “Lighten up. If it raises awareness, then who cares how it’s done?”
Well, I care. This disease took my mother’s life, and it has left me forever scarred. Why should I have to forfeit my dignity for the sake of awareness? Breast cancer can take your breasts, your hair, your sex drive and/or your life. It’s a deadly disease that claims approximately 40,000 lives each year, but time and time again, the focus is about saving our sexual desirability. Fuck that noise.
Also, why can’t people say breasts? It’s always boobs, ta-tas, jugs, hooters, rack, boobies, etc. Dear goodness, I had breast cancer – I did not have boobie cancer. “What type of cancer did you have, Lara?” “I had stage-one boobie cancer.” Lolwut? A family member close to The Boyfriend just died of prostate cancer. He didn’t have wiener cancer. Seriously, can we discuss a disease with a sense of integrity and maturity?
For four years now, I’ve been waiting for someone to really explain to me how shirts like these increase awareness for breast cancer in the first place. To me, they just raise awareness to the fact that women have breasts.
One of the slogans I have never understood was “save second base.” Why is it even appropriate to use a slang term for getting felt up, because that’s what second base means, and use it for breast cancer awareness campaigns? “Let’s save all the boobies so a woman can always get felt up!” After my double mastectomy, I have zero feeling in my chest, so second base has been crossed off for me. You know what, though? Screw second base – hit a triple or just run home. There, problem solved.
Besides, how is wearing a shirt that says “Save the Hooters” increasing awareness for anything? How does a men’s shirt offering to check ‘em for you fight the good fight? Oh, this one is my personal favorite – a “funny” breast cancer awareness shirt for men. (Yeah, dude. Breast cancer is a riot. I laughed all the way to the chemo ward.) Or how does a men’s shirt telling us to SAVE MOTORBOATING help a patient undergoing chemo? It doesn’t, obviously, but it apparently challenges young men to try to think of the most offensive breast cancer awareness stunts, like this one. You know, because boobs.
The reality of it is that these campaigns are the result of folks wanting to make tons of money by selling T-shirts by vaguely saying money is going to a “good cause.”
A November 26, 2012 Post-Tribune article reported that a marketing presentation from the for-profit company, Boobies Rock! (gross), put its “gross revenues for 2011 at about $1.1 million with net revenues of $400,000 and unspecified ‘total commitments’ at just over $250,000.” The following year, a July 8, 2013 9News.com article stated that Adam Shryock, used “Boobies Rock! profits to buy a BMW, subscribe to online dating service friendfinder.com, and even pay bar tabs and Molly Maids cleaning service bill.” The article also reported that “some breast cancer charities supposedly ‘partnered’ with Boobies Rock! Received donations as small as $100.”
Breast cancer isn’t a joke, and what I and so many others have been through isn’t funny. It’s time we start taking a life-threatening disease seriously and showing respect and compassion to those who are currently going through or have been through treatment.