October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Pink ribbons were sported on shirts and “think pink” sporting events were held almost daily. Many car decals and t-shirts supporting breast cancer research could be seen wherever you went. Two of the most popular campaigns around often use the slogans, “Save the Tatas,” and “Save Second Base!” Although I think “Save Second Base” is a cute slogan for baseball games supporting breast cancer research, my more sensitive side can’t help but think that these slogans are really inappropriate.
I feel like “Save the Tatas” is seen on more cars than any ribbons supporting a family member or saying, “I’m a survivor” as a symbol of hope for others suffering from this horrible disease. Although these things do work towards raising awareness, I want to see more stories of survival and triumph over this disease.
It’s sad that women have become so overly-sexualized that saving their breasts is the center of a lot of breast cancer awareness campaigns. It’s no wonder breast cancer survivors are often so afraid to get mastectomies when even campaigns to save them have negative connotations about losing their breasts. Many women feel insecure and endure terrible harassment when they choose to get a mastectomy to beat cancer. It breaks my heart that these brave women who have stared death straight in the eye are still looked down on and talked down to just because they chose their health over a secondary sex organ.The most important thing is that the woman is healthy again, not that she has breasts and maintains a “womanly figure.”
Being healthy is more beautiful than anything in the world. Female cancer survivors often have to make difficult decisions such as shaving their hair off, removing their breasts and often times it can be near impossible to feel beautiful when you’re that sick. That shouldn’t even be a worry! No woman should ever feel pressure to be beautiful in a time in their life when they’re fighting just to make it to tomorrow. All she should be worried about is kicking cancer’s ass and returning to her old inner self. There’s no reason and no excuse that these women should be put down when they’re some of the toughest people on the planet.
It’s time we all start focusing on the person who is living in the body wracked with cancer. That person can’t live without their body, but they can live a healthy, normal life without their breasts. My hope is that women will not have to think twice or be insecure if they’re faced with having to get a mastectomy.