Save the Women

The real problem with the ‘Save The Boobs’ slogan

By tess alekseev

This month, you’re likely to see slogans like: “I Stare Because I Care” and “Save The Boobs!” While, yes, the messages are well-intentioned and (seemingly) very pro-feminist, the harsh reality is that these slogans only serve to make women affected by breast cancer feel even more isolated.

Why do the slogans have to focus so much on the breast, and not the woman? The fact is, most affected women have to undergo mastectomies, or breast removals, to get rid of the cancer. In order to save the woman herself from cancer, the breasts have to be sacrificed.

Yes, sex sells– and that’s likely the reason that “Save the Boobs” was taken up as a slogan for breast cancer awareness in the first place. But the problem also lies in this, as placing so much emphasis on male desire and so little on the woman’s life reduces her to nothing more than a breast. This isn’t to say that it’s wrong to campaign to “Save the Boobs!” but that it is wrong to let a secondary sex characteristic dwarf the importance of a woman’s life.

Breast cancer awareness has changed from a pro-women organization to a pro-boob parade. It’s no longer focused on support for breast cancer’s victims, it’s focused on sexualizing them. When women’s breasts are removed for their health, virtually no awareness goes to them and how the removal of their breasts could affect them.

The women who undergo mastectomies come out from under the knife alive, but no longer living the same life as before. They are missing their breasts, which are what people seem to actually care about — and while it could have been argued that “Save the Boobs” cares for the children that can be breastfed, slogans like “I Stare Because I Care” undermine that. You don’t stare at a woman’s breasts while she’s feeding her children — on the contrary, it’s generally looked down upon to breastfeed in public. 

Cancer is hard enough to survive. Let’s not make it harder to lie after its effects.