As the focal point of a burgeoning health social movement, the pink ribbon promoted solidarity and visibility of the Cause even as the pretty, pink, and non-threatening symbol evoked traditional gendered qualities such as nurturance, emotional connection, and feminine appearance.
Public interest in the Cause gave way to commercialization and an excessive array of feminine product placements—anything from jewelry, clothing and cosmetics to figurines, toilet paper, and pink appliances.
Primarily functioning as a logo for the breast cancer brand, the pink ribbon helped to transform breast cancer activism into pink ribbon consumption. Trending perfectly with a culture that commodifies almost everything, from the most intimate aspects of social life to the war on breast cancer itself, breast cancer advertising and a new genre of trendy awareness campaigns use sexual appeals as a way to get attention and raise money. Some even claim to be educational, vital in the pursuit of a breast cancer cure, and instrumental in helping to save lives.
It is a type of objectification, which portrays people as objects to be looked at, ogled, or touched , commodities to be purchased, used, discarded, or replaced, or any way that dehumanizes a person.
Sexy breast cancer awareness campaigns use a variety of objectifying techniques. Breast Cancer Awarness Ad 1. A portion of the proceeds is used for fundraising. The Breast Cancer Foundation series in Singapore takes a similar approach, featuring painted bodies that highlight exposed nipples as a key feature. This particular ad objectifies both the breasts and the buttocks simultaneously.
Making Strides Chest-Level Video 2. Hone in on the breasts. A porn site offers to donate a penny to charity for every 30 "boob-themed videos" watched. Jingle Jugs for life sells adult novelties i. A fundraising advertisement 3. Use objects in place of breasts. Cupcakes, hooters, ribbons, and any manner of items stand in for actual breasts in awareness campaigns and fundraisers.
Objectify breasts with language. Sexually objectifying imagery is reinforced with trivializing language that further sexually objectifies women. There are hundreds of slang words for breasts.
How many of them are used in breast cancer awareness campaigns? Jugs, rack, melons, hooters, coconuts, funbags, headlights, cans, knockers, tatas, boobies, second base. Depict breasts as things to be touched or groped. Numerous awareness campaigns position hands on breasts. The campaign is for the UK-based organization CoppaFeel! Show women to be objects of the male gaze.
Las Vegas restaurant promises to "Save 2nd base" while providing an open bar to guests in pink bathing suits. Komen for the Cure. They just do it in the name of awareness and fundraising. Beyond immediate distraction, sexy imagery has not been found to stimulate thinking. Advertising targets the subconscious , not the conscious. Advertising reinforces the message that sexual appeal and physical perfection can and must be attained thereby playing upon an inner critic that incessantly desires approval.
Sexy campaigns also support the notion that women — even those who experience bodily damage and trauma due to treatment for breast cancer—are less important than their sexual appeal.