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That’s the theme of a new breast cancer “awareness” campaign, and Kate Harding is not amused. Here’s an excerpt from her fantastic post at Jezebel:

… This boobtastic Rethink Breast Cancer ad “and a couple more like it,” according to the LA Times‘s Dan Neil, “seem to answer a question that must have nagged breast-cancer-awareness advocates: How to get men to care? With rare exceptions, men don’t suffer from breast cancer. The earnest, sad-violins spots invoking moms and grand-moms of the past probably haven’t gained much traction among men.” Of course not! Why would we ever expect men to care about their moms and grand-moms dying of cancer if the issue isn’t marketed to get their attention? (And they say feminists have pathetically low expectations of men.) Says Neil on behalf of Dude Nation, “These ads make the equation explicit: More breast cancer equals fewer awesome breasts. Brilliant. Where do I send my check? The only people who could object to such ads are advocates for other kinds of cancer awareness. ”

Setting aside the implication that the average straight male has thus far been too fucking stupid to connect the dots between breast cancer and “fewer awesome breasts” : what was I saying about low expectations? : there’s actually a pretty good reason to object to the ads, regardless of any affiliation with other cancer awareness projects. However devastating mastectomies may be, the somewhat larger point here is that breast cancer equals fewer awesome women. And if that point is lost on Dude Nation, the problem is not with the ads, it’s with a culture that says women’s primary value lies in our sexuality. I mean, seriously, is it even possible to illustrate that any more clearly? Dead human beings of the female persuasion = meh. Lost tits = crisis! …

–Ann Bartow

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