While my research agenda falls firmly in the topic of women's health I'm not very interested in conducting research on breast cancer. And while my research focuses on women as mothers I'm not very particularly interested in breastfeeding as a public health issue or as a women's rights issue. This is not to say that either of these topics are unimportant. I believe they are and I encourage others to take up the mantle. It is just that there are only so many topics a person can research in their lifetime and women's breasts don't do it for me.
But this is October and every October we are all subjected to the pinkification of breast cancer awareness. Football players start wearing pink jerseys, every purchasable item comes with a pink ribbon (including pink ribbons tattooed on eggs - a most unfortunate visual), and we are beseeched to "save the tatas."
This year someone started a FaceBook meme to make October 13th National No Bra Day (which for the last 3 years has actually been on July 9th). The meme states that women should not wear bras on this day as a way to bring heightened awareness to breast cancer. Now I'm not exactly sure who is left in the Western Hemisphere that is not aware of breast cancer but I think it is pretty obvious how insulting No Bra Day as a breast cancer awareness campaign is for women who actually have breast cancer (or have lost a loved one to breast cancer). If you're not sure, read this.
It is also equally obvious from these campaigns that we are only interested in breasts when they represent women's sexualized bodies. Breasts when they represent women's ability to feed and nurture their children are still seen as revolting and offensive. So we are encouraged to take off our bras to promote breast cancer awareness but we are vilified when exposing a breast to feed a hungry child. That breastfeeding actually reduces a woman's risk of breast cancer seems to be besides the point.
But those who know me well know that it is not the exploitation of women's breast as sexual objects or the explicit association between breast cancer awareness and the hyper feminine pinkness of the campaigns that really gets my goat. No it is how the pink ribbon overshadows and obliterates the purple one. October is also domestic violence awareness month. Domestic violence is actually a far bigger threat to women's (and children's) health and well-being than breast cancer AND there is an actual need to raise the public's awareness of the issue.
So today I suggested a different meme on FaceBook. Let's leave No Bra Day (if we have to have one) on July 9th and make October 13th "No Beatings Day." I would also accept "No Rape Day." I think either one would do far more for the women in this country than going au naturale for a day. Now if I could just get someone to come up with a logo.
**********cross-posted on livedmothering.com**************