Fight for a cure, but end the objectification of women


The Appalachian Online

The Appalachian

Save the ta-tas! Surely every student at Appalachian State University is familiar with this phrase. The pink ribbon has become a fashion staple, but students should be more aware of what they are wearing.

Unlike the recently controversial Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation, whose CEO earns a higher annual salary than President Barack Obama, the Save the Ta-tas Foundation donates a percentage of its profit from every item sold to fighting breast cancer.

The Susan G. Komen foundation was recently under fire for revoking grants to Planned Parenthood forbreast cancer screenings, according to

In 2008, Save the Ta-tas Foundation was created by Julia Fikse, who had a dream to cure cancer with playful humor. Unfortunately, Fikse’s fight for a cure has come at a cost to feminism that isn’t remotely funny.

The most popular breast cancer slogan might be Save the Boobies. It’s exciting to see so much support for an important health issue. It’s disappointing that it took the sexualization of a disease without a cure to do so.

Sexualizing breast cancer has gotten the attention of many men and women. The fact that people get more excited about saving a pair of breasts than saving a mother, daughter, wife, lawyer, doctor, teacher, best friend or just fellow human being is downright disgusting.

Cancer shouldn’t be sexualized, because it is not sexy. Breast cancer is painful and scarring; it steals lives. It is the No. 2 killer of women in the cancer field, and actually No. 1 for Hispanic women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sexualizing this disease is disrespectful, because breast cancer victims are fighting for their lives, not just their breasts. A witty I Love Boobies T-shirt is in not honoring someone who is battling or who has lost their fight with this horrible disease.

That’s not to confuse a lost fight with a lost battle. Tees like those created by Save the Ta-tas Foundation imply to women that losing their breasts is equivalent to losing everything.

Women who have had mastectomies have not lost their fights with cancer. According to a September Stanford University study, 81 percent of women who had double mastectomies in 1998 were still alive 10 years after their diagnoses.

These survivors deserve to feel sexy and powerful without their breasts, despite the changes their bodies have faced. These women have lost a battle, but they have won the fight against breast cancer. They should be proud of a noble choice to save their lives before they saved the ta-tas.

Not only is this campaign disrespectful, but it gives men the wrong idea. Males shouldn’t be taught they should care about breast cancer because they care about breasts. They should care because their loved ones could be lost to breast cancer, and they themselves can get it, too.

So why don’t more people realize how objectifying this advertisement campaign is? We see objectifying campaigns all the time. Women are sexualized to sell Hardee’s burgers, sports cars, electronic devices and now funding for a cure for breast cancer.

Unfortunately, in this sex-sells society, it seems the sex we are selling caters to men the majority of the time. If we’re going to paint breast cancer pink, shouldn’t we come up with something hot to sell testicular cancer, too?

As a society and as human beings, we should continue to search for a cure for breast cancer. We also should try to cure our sex-sells attitude.

If there is one time when a woman definitely shouldn’t be viewed as a sexual object, it is when she is fighting for her life.

Miles, an undeclared sophomore from Rock Hill, South Carolina, is an opinion writer.