Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Save the Boobs

Sort of NSFW

The above ad, and several similarly low-brow ads just like it, has recently generated some serious controversy, and feminists are outraged that this organization, Rethink Breast Cancer, would have the gall to release it. Media Curves conducted a survey which concluded that 62% of women found the ad offensive; one woman claimed "It looks like it's a Victoria's Secret or a bathing suit ad. Not an ad about women's health." Meanwhile, Rethink Breast Cancer's founder, MJ Decoteau, defended the ad, claiming, "had to find a way to reach young people who believe they're invincible to a disease that, in reality, is the leading cause of cancer deaths in young women...Young people are picking up pamphlets with a 65-year-old woman on the cover and probably tossing them out."

The jokes have all been made that the only way you could be offended by this if you are pro-breast cancer, but obviously it's very easy to see how this ad is making their point through objectifying women. Personally, I'd agree, but I, and I hope I don't just sound like a horny bastard here, think this is one of those times where it's an 'the ends justifies the means' sort of thing. Breast cancer has a twenty percent mortality rate in the United States, and it will strike about one out of 230 women by the time they're thirty years old. That's one out of forty-six women dead before their life is half over. Information has to be delivered to the younger generation, and this is the sort of thing that will catch their attention. And even though this commercial is "geared" towards men (Media Curves reports only 40% found it offensive), it doesn't seem to have created a spark of interest compelling them to look into the subject matter, but what it HAS done is create a lot of media buzz which has spread the word about the infamous ad. Remember, there's no such thing as bad publicity. To me, this is a far cry from a soaking wet Paris Hilton writhing on the hood of a car to sell burgers. For what it's worth, that Media Curves survey found that 82% felt that it was an effective PSA.

This ad is nothing new from Rethink Breast Cancer, who's currently gearing up for their second annual Breast Fest in Toronto, and support an extensive research grant referred to as "The Boobyball". Another ad refers to breasts as "hooters" and "tatas". This trend of "objectification" seems to be their gimmick, and for better or for worse, has set them apart from the rest of the pack. Now, I really can't see too many more breast cancer organizations attempting this path of advertising, but I'd imagine Rethink Breast Cancer probably has a few more gags to pull in the name of women's health.

ABC News
Media Curves Survey
Imaginis Statistics

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