Breasts, Bras & Beyond (6) – Breast Cancer & a Provocative Ad Campaign
July 9 is celebrated by some as “International No Bra Day”. This week, I take the great opportunity to look into the world of “Breasts, Bras & Beyond”.
Today I bring you some information on Breast Cancer and “Obssessed with Breasts” (this is perhaps the most unforgettable breast cancer ad campaign yet).
A Little About Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is now the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Breast cancer is a condition in which cancer (malignant) cells are found in the tissues of the breast.
At this time, no one knows the cause of the majority of breast cancers. There are many theories, including an inherited tendency, genetic mutations and environmental exposure; pesticides, and even bras (though many feel it is the metal in the bras and not the bras themselves); however, the cause of breast cancer is the subject of ongoing research. Every woman is at risk for developing breast cancer. Breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than in men. Following skin cancer, breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women.
While many risk factors have been identified, approximately 70 to 80 percent of breast cancer cases occur in women with no readily identifiable risk factors. Factors associated with an increased risk of female breast cancer do include: Increasing age: 75 percent of cases are diagnosed in women greater than 50 years of age; previous history of breast cancer; family history of breast cancer; prolonged estrogen exposure; genetics; and lifestyle behaviors, as well as hormonal therapy used to treat other medical conditions and radiation therapy. The primary risk factor associated with male breast cancer is advancing age.
“Obssessed with Breasts”
-This is perhaps the most unforgettable
Breast Cancer Ad Campaign yet-
The Breast Cancer Fund in 2000 launched “Obsessed with Breasts”, a campaign designed to raise awareness of the realities behind mastectomies and challenge the objectification of womens breasts. Three large full-color ads were placed on bus shelters in the San Francisco Bay area in January and February 2000. The ads were designed to look like Victoria’s Secret (It’s No Secret), a Cosmopolitan Cover (Mastectomy), and an ad for Calvin Klein perfume (Obssessed with Breasts).(Info Source)
One ad features a model in her bra and panties, revealing a scar from breast removal with mastectomy. The ad reads, “It’s no secret society is obsessed with breasts, but what are we doing about breast cancer?”
In a press release by The Breast Cancer Fund, the organization said, “The ads challenge the obsession with the female breast as an object in the belief that until our culture more appropriately honors women and their bodies, we will never defeat a disease that attacks its most profound symbol of sexuality and nurture.”
According to The Breast Cancer Fund, the goals of the provocative ad campaign are to increase public awareness and involvement in breast cancer issues, to replace the fear of breast cancer with the desire to act, to educate and provide ways for the public to help fight the disease, and to promote discussion about breast cancer among children and young adults. In a press release, The Breast Cancer Fund likened their unveiling of these realistic images of breast cancer to “Saving Private Ryan” unveiling the realities of World War II.
The ads caused controversy in the San Francisco Bay Area. Two posters were removed after residents complained. Outdoor Systems, a billboard company that originally donated ad space in 20 San Francisco bus shelters, has refused to use the ads. According to a company spokesperson, Outdoor Systems found the graphic nature of the ads unacceptable. A spokesperson for the American Cancer Society (ACS) applauded The Breast Cancer Fund for the daring ad campaign but noted that ACS prefers to promote breast cancer awareness in more conventional ways (e.g., through educational messages).