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Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft tries to balance her traditional Mexican-American cultural heritage and Catholic identity, personified by her grandmother La Lupe, with her roles as a young wife and mother.

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October 15th, 2010

i love boobies

 
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boobies-flashThis summer when we were visiting my family in El Paso I got to meet the boyfriend of one of my cousins.  She’s a younger cousin who just graduated from high school.  When I met him I immediately noticed the bracelet that he had on that said “i love boobies”.  I rolled my eyes and thought how tacky.  You’re meeting your girlfriend’s family and you wear something like that.  Then after him hanging around all day he brought our attention to the bracelet.  He took his arm out and waved it over the dinner table asking us if we had seen these bracelets.  He informed us that the bracelet was to support breast cancer.  In my head, my response was, “My a**.”  A guy in his late teens, early twenties is wearing something with the word boobies on it because he is truly committed to supporting breast cancer awareness.  Sure.

We all kind of nodded and went on with dinner.  I didn’t think much of this event at the time but recently I have seen an onslaught of inappropriate breast cancer awareness things that I just have to say something about.

I am completely in support of breast cancer awareness and I do applaud how breast cancer awareness propaganda has really made it trendy.  You can buy almost any item — jewelry, clothes, mixing bowls, coffee mugs, stamps, police cars — in pink to support breast cancer research.  This fundraising is smart because people are going to buy these items anyways so why not throw a few extra dollars to breast cancer research.  I mean, come on, even the NFL had breast cancer awareness day where these huge, athletic men wore neon pink shoes in support of the cause.

What I do not like is the further objectification of women in the name of wanting to campaign for breast cancer awareness.  I think it is a fair assumption to make that if you were to pick one part of a woman to really objectify it would be her breasts.  Our society is obsessed with breasts.  Are they too big?  Are they too small?  What kind of bra can I wear to enhance my breasts?  How much cleavage can I get away with showing?  It is a common experience for women to notice men staring blatantly at their breasts.  Of course, because of this, breast cancer survivors who have to have one or both breasts removed really go through a lot of emotions and grief because breasts can be such a big part of a woman’s identity.  I don’t want to diminish or take away from what a struggle this is.  I’ve known people that have had to deal with this so I am not trying to be flippant about the toughness of the situation.

But, I think that maybe breast cancer awareness groups have hit a wall in how to further promote their cause and are now just grasping for something more shocking.

I was driving behind a car that had one of those yellow “Support Our Troops” ribbon car stickers but instead of a ribbon it was a bra in the shape of the ribbon with the words “Support Our Boobs.”

I agree that women should not accept what society says about breasts (that they are just for attracting men and make women sex objects) and really reclaim the beauty and dignity of the body but selling “i love boobies” bracelets is not doing this.  At first I saw high school boys start to wear these bracelets.  While some may have personal experience with breast cancer in their family, I guarantee that most teenage boys buy these bracelets because it is sexually suggestive.  Then, to make things worse, I now see a lot of high school girls also wearing these bracelets.  The response these girls are giving the boys is it is ok to objectify them in this way.  There is too much media out there telling our teenage girls that their self-worth is based on their sexiness and whether or not guys find them attractive.  I see the effects of this every day.  And for a breast cancer awareness group to be adding to this, it’s just so outrageous.  This campaign specifically made these bracelets because they wanted to target young people and get them involved in breast cancer awareness.  They knew young people would respond because of how sexual the slogan is.  How is this ok?

I am positive that if testicular cancer awareness groups started selling bracelets that said “i love balls” and high school girls started wearing them, there would be outrage.  Or if someone had a car sticker of men’s underpants with the wording “Support Our Balls,” people would be offended.

It is an extremely worthy battle to fight, trying to get the word out about breast cancer awareness.  But we can’t win the battle to lose the war against society telling women that they are sex objects that can be reduced to their cup size or…boobies.

 
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The Author : Vanessa Gonzalez Kraft
Vanessa, a Notre Dame grad, loves the Catholic Worker Movement, Catholic education, and overbearing Mexican mothers, which she may or may not be. She lives in Austin with her husband and three daughters and is a freelance writer. You can find Vanessa at v.kraft.im or follow Vanessa on Twitter @laluped.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • d

    I take exception to the people who disagree with the author because they feel that she is propagating “American Prudishness;” no where in the article does the author write about not discussing “boobies,” or that there is something inherently wrong with talking about the human body. Her point is that-as the poster who is a High School teacher pointed out-is that many young people wear this stuff for the “giggle factor.” I have three older-teen sons, some of their friends have “I Love Boobies” T-shirts that are not cancer awareness related-they are very well-aware that while they can’t wear the grey or black ILB t-shirt to school/college, they CAN “get away with” (as was reported to me) wearing one that says the same thing if it is pink or has pink lettering.
    As a colon cancer so-far survivor, I would also like to comment on the “pinkness” of everything-it is old, old, old, and does women everywhere a disservice; people seem to think now that the only cancer that women get is breast cancer. 100% of people who have found out that I have cancer immediately ask me if I have had a mastectomy, or if “It was in both” I have friends who have or have had all kinds of cancer, but no one even asks-they just start giving them “pink” products. I have friends who have survived BC and are sick of ONLY being given pink things-think before you act, people! I would also like to comment that just because soemthing has pink, is pink or has a “Boobies” or Cancer comment, does not necessarily mean that ANY money goes to cancer anything; some less-than ethical people know that these products will be bought more readily than non BC “awareness” products. AND one final thing; women die more often from cardiac issues, obesity-related issues and through violence more often than cancer; why don’t we have more awareness products about that? Because none of those topics can be “cute-ed out” like “Boobies” can.

  • Jen

    Okay, I am a Mom of 5. Three are girls. My Mother had a breast cancer scare a year ago. I also found these “boobie” slogans crude. But, after some time I see that it is meant to be cute, to take the “elephant in the room” and make it something we can talk about. They saved my Mother’s breast. She was sooooo thakfull, and yes she was MORE thankfull that she has her life. It is kind of like the web site this is on “Busted Halo” that is making cutsie something that is serious. What makes us sex objects are the relentless adds, magazines, TV shows with barley dressed women, and the WOMEN that willingly show it all off. I personally grew up hating my “boobies” they were always getting me attention I did not want. I had a womens liber for a Mom and was always mad if any one looked at me. The fact is… a womans body IS beautiful and sexy. God made us that way. No we should not take it to far. To far are the bra adds that have the modles in the bras for all to see, including my young chidren. In my humble opinoin “save the boobies” is getting many, many people to learn about breast cancer in a more up beat fashion. If it gets a few JR high or high school kids to give a little to the cause, so be it. I can think of may other more offencive words they could have used. I do wish the entire sprectrum of cancer was being so well funded. On a presonal note I have a 6 month old and she often wears a baby t that says save the ta, tas. When I carry her around everyone smiles. It is a light hearted way to get your subliminal mind to to take note. Now, if they start showing breast all over the place…. well, that would be another story. Lighten up, don’t spend your life being offended by things that are doing good. We have sooooo many other battles to fight.

  • Serendipitous reader

    How about wearing a more provocative slogan on the back bumper of your car. I found a “Pro-Life” bumper sticker from the crossroadswalk.com organization. Sure to stir up much more attention & reflection than the above mentioned bracelets.

  • Fred

    I teach high school math and science. This is a controvesial issue in our school. As a teacher of 24 years, I am quite certain that our students’ motive for wearing the bracelets is not to promote breast cancer awareness (even though this is what they readily claim). My geometry and chemistry cannot compete with “boobies.” This is a distraction to the learning atmosphere. The students in my school who sport these would refuse to wear a pink T-shirt that simply states “I support breast cancer awareness.” My opinion is that the slogan “I love boobies” reduces women to sex objects. No I am not prude about the body. I teach human anatomy and the body does not intimidate me. Where do we draw the line? There is great value in a certain degree of social decorum. I would certainly have strong reservations about a slogan that stated, “Let’s get it up for erectile disfunction.” If you want to support medical research, make a donation and wear a pink T. Best wishes.

  • Bernie

    I agree 100% with the author- very tacky and degrading to a very worthwhile cause. Let’s get back to the basics people-RESPECT! And , I am not a prude but I was taught to be respectful and have manners…

  • chapur

    Check out 1969 case Tinker vs Des Moines School District. Supreme Court upheld rights saying students rights don’t end at the school door. Schools would have to demonstrate more than a disire to avoid “discomfort & unpleasantness” hhhhhmmmm Interesting!

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