Feminist Current

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Feminist Current was founded by Meghan Murphy, a freelance writer and journalist who has been actively engaged in the feminist blogging community since 2010 and has been producing feminist radio since 2007. Meghan is from Vancouver, B.C., Canada, holds a Masters degree in Women's Studies from Simon Fraser University and is completing a graduate degree at the University of British Columbia's School of Journalism. You can find more of her writing in Ms. Magazine, Herizons Magazine, The Tyee, Megaphone Magazine, Good, and at rabble.ca.

The end is nigh. And the proof lies in Breast Cancer 'Awareness' Campaigns

| October 25, 2012

Well this is it. The end is upon us.

By now you’re probably near-bald from tearing your hair out over the effed-upedness that we are subjected to every time Breast Cancer Awareness Month rolls around. Suddenly we’re inundated with pink crap as every company around tries to glom on to the breast cancer epidemic in an offensively opportunistic fashion.

From makeup, to laptops, to Swiffers (clean for the cure!), to ugly-ass jewelery, to one million stupid pink candles, it’s fair to say that pinkwashing has gotten totally out of control. And as if the feminizing pinking of absolutely everything (because breast cancer is so soft and delicate and lady-like) and the concerted efforts to make breast cancer all about consumerism directed very specifically at women (because effecting change can only be done by buying more stuff), there must also be, of course, the pornification of women’s cancer diagnoses (because why the should anyone care about women unless they’re fuckable?).

First we get these idiotic ‘Save the Tatas‘, ‘Boobies Rule‘, and ‘Touch Some Breasts‘ campaigns/businesses which sexualize breast cancer by making women’s suffering about the male gaze (classy!). Then there’s this horrible video which came out of Chile recently that tries to get men on board by reminding them that breasts exist only for male pleasure. Which is, of course, why they matter. Get it? Women don’t matter — it’s their sexualized body parts that are important (are we starting to understand how objectification hurts women now?).

And finally, I somehow managed to miss the worst of them all earlier this month (clearly I’ve started blocking this stuff out as some kind of coping mecanism) — the icing on the porn-culture-is-everywhere cake — having realized that they weren’t exploiting absolutely every aspect of women’s lives, Pornhub.com jumped on board (not linking to the campaign page, nope, no way) the breast cancer awareness train.

While originally the company tried to partner with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the organization (which is capable of making ethical decisions every once in a while, apparently) refused to align themselves with Pornhub and said they wouldn’t accept any donations from them. Apparently they are still looking for a charity to donate to.

Corey Price, vice president of Pornhub says, pervily: “Our viewers will be raising money and awareness by doing something they already love: watching porn.”

Uh huh. Right. For sure all those dudes are “raising awareness” about breast cancer via masturbation – the cure for everything.

So now porn is being presented as something that saves women’s lives. Or at very least cares about them. I’m thinking this is what the end of the world looks like.

The problems with awareness campaigns have been well documented. Most of these campaigns either don’t actually do anything and some of the companies who use ‘breast cancer awareness’ in order to sell products are actually part of the problem. Awareness campaigns tend to focus on unproductive solutions that ignore and distract from the root issues.

Organizations like Breast Cancer Action point out that “despite better treatments and increased access for many women, 40,000 women still die from the disease each year. A woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every two minutes. In the 1960s, a woman’s lifetime risk for breast cancer was 1 in 20. Today it is 1 in 8.”

What the hell is going on here? Is it possible that we all just aren’t watching enough porn?

Well, no. In fact porn is not the missing link.

While awareness campaigns and pink ribbon crap are on the rise, so is breast cancer. The reality is that we still have minimal understanding around causes of breast cancer, though we do know that “involuntary exposures to toxins in the environment” are a factor. Toxins and environmental factors are not addressed by awareness campaigns or pink ribbons. I assume this is because these issues have nothing to do with masturbation or profit. If only there were a way to sex up carcinogens.

Pornhub hates women. Which makes it all the more sickening to read statements such as this one,  from their actual press release:

It doesn’t matter if you’re into itty-bitty-titties, the perfect handful, jumbo fun-bags or low-swinging flapjacks, what matters most is that your kind and selfless gesture will go a long way towards helping our sisters to find a cure.

“Sisters”?? Go die.

Porn culture is the beginning of the end. If we aren’t talking about the objectification and sexualization of women as a key issue in the feminist movement then we may as well give up.

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Comments

This is one of the seamier aspects of the entire cancer fundraising industry, which itself is a huge public relations con game and a big money-maker for professional fundraisers. Even the tiny percentage of fundraising funds that actually go to cancer research are subsidizing a huge, privatized medical establishment. 

If they ever find a cure for breast or any other cancer, don't expect your financial contributions over the years will entitle you to any share of the megaprofits that private corporations will reap from it.

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