Posts Tagged ‘breast cancer’
So I’m all about curing breast cancer and raising awareness about the causes and effects of it (for more info, see my review of Manmade Breast Cancer). But the methods used to raise awareness about breast cancer bother me.
Breast Cancer Awareness month is supposed to be about women’s health, but it really just ends up being another way for society to focus on breasts. In many instances, raising awareness about breast cancer involves separating the breasts from women’s bodies. We love breasts, but not really the women attached to them. The slogan “Save the Tatas,” while catchy, focuses on one part of a woman’s body instead of the affects of breast cancer on women or society.
In addition, Breast Cancer Awareness month has pretty much turned into a marketing tactic. Marketers objectify women’s bodies and focus on one part of a woman’s body for the purpose of sales, not really for the purpose to raising awareness about breast cancer and women’s health.
I think Deeky summed it up great in a post on Shakesville:
Hey, boobies! Yay for boobies! Save the boobies! We love boobies! The women they’re attached to? Not so much.
This is not to say that Breast Cancer Awareness is altogether bad. The Walk for a Cure raises a lot of money for research. It does get people talking about women’s health, but not always in a positive way.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a guy say something along the lines of: “I’m aware of breasts all year long…hehehe.” It has just kind of turned into a joke or a way to further objectify women’s breasts.
I first read Manmade Breast Cancer for Intro to Women’s Studies, but it was so good that I have read it again since then. This book is all about how the environment, politics, race, and culture intersect on women’s bodies in the form of breast health.
From the back cover:
A new understanding of humanity and feminism from the starting point of breast health is the ultimate goal of Zillah Eisenstein’s political memoir of her family’s experience with breast cancer. The well-known feminist author brings together a critique of environmental damage and the health of women’s bodies, gains perspective on the role race plays as a factor in breast cancers and in political agenda, links prevention and treatment, and connects individual support and political change.
I was not expecting to be reading a book about breast cancer in my intro to women’s studies, I was thinking that would be more of something that would be covered in a women’s health class. But after reading the book and seeing the intertwining of personal/family stories with the intersectionality of breast cancer, I realized why our professor had us read this book. This book shows the many ways in which sexism (and other forms of oppression) work their way into the very personal — the body — and how different forms of oppressions are intertwined.
This is not just a read for people interested in breast cancer, but for people interested in seeing how women’s lives are affected by all of these intersections. It’s a great book that is well written by incorporating different kinds of writing — from personal stories to political investigations.