Harvard Cancer Society Sexualizes Cancer

Signs reading “Save Second Base” flooded campus hallways and public areas over the past few weeks. Bras hung outside the science center under the appeal, “Save Second Base”. While the purpose of increasing awareness about breast cancer is admirable, True Love Revolution believes that the sexualized approach was both demeaning and immature.

The Harvard Cancer Society used a sexualized campaign to raise awareness for breast cancer, but many students’ disapproval of the use of bras, sexualized facebook messages, and objectifying posters is encouraging. There is no need to objectify women to raise awareness about breast cancer. In fact, making cancer merely a sexual concern diminishes the importance of this incredibly serious disease. Should we only care about breast cancer as it relates to our own sexual gratification? Of course not, so why use such a degrading tactic to promote what should be a practically universal concern?

Sandra Korn, ’14, wrote in the Harvard Crimson about how the society’s campaign is offensive and unhelpful:

Breast cancer is not a sexual issue. It has nothing to do with femininity or female sexuality. In fact, around one percent of breast cancer patients are male. Raising awareness about breast cancer by displaying hot pink bras and joking about where we place our handbags not only demeans the experience of males and non-gender-identified people suffering from breast cancer but also equates breast cancer with sexual activity or sexual allure. This association could make many women uncomfortable, especially those enduring cancer themselves.

She also writes,

The Harvard Cancer Society should reconsider its marketing strategy for future breast cancer campaigns, and intelligent college students should think more critically before advocating “sexy” causes that might nonetheless be offensive or demeaning.

Follow this link to read more.

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