Something I’ve heard my fair share of in my lifetime is this:
“Are you a boob guy or an ass man?”
Of course, this exchange generally takes place between my male friends and acquaintances. The question, obviously, refers to whether he prefers breasts or butt on a woman. 4 out of 5 times, he’s a boob guy.
As part of Breath Cancer Awareness Month, I’ve been seeing a lot of posts going around of Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr. Some are pictures of survivors and happy things. Some are the “I ❤ Boobies” merchandise. And some are shirts and clothing that say “Save the Boobies”, or “Save the Tatas”, or more disgustingly “Save Second-Base”.
How about no.
That last one particularly irked me when I saw it the other night. And here’s why.
- Breast cancer treatment largely involves the removal of breast tissues. Technically, in order to save the woman, you cannot save the boobies.
- Saying things like “Save the Boobies” could make survivors feel bad about themselves. They lost something that they were raised to believe at least partially defines their worth (which is wrong on a whole other level). I’ve always believed that this saying needs to be changed. To what, I’m not sure. But it needs to be.
- Saying something disgusting and misogynistic like “Save Second-Base” does not focus on the woman. It does not focus on healing the woman and saving her life. It focuses on men. It’s not saying “Let’s get together so that you can be alright and live another day”. That shirt says, “Let’s get rid of this virus so I can play with those fun bags.” Which, if she gets properly and wholly treated, will not at least entirely be possible.
Another thing often not stated is that men get breast cancer too. Though it’s about 100 times less common, it still happens.
I would be devastated if I got breast cancer in particular. Sure I’d be devastated if I got any kind of cancer, but it’s breast cancer in particular. It’s because I’d know I would have to lost my breasts. My boobies. My girls. The twins. These things attached to my chest that I was raised to show off and be proud of as part of my womanhood.
Since puberty I’ve always been sexually confident. Not in the sense that I’d go around having sex, but that I grew breasts relatively early. For some reason, that gave me confidence. And they still do. They’re a nice decent size, they’re perky and squishy and fun. What’s not to love about boobs?
With the way I was raised and with what society has taught me, I would feel less “valuable”. I hate myself for thinking it because I know it’s not true, but I’d feel it anyways. I was raised to believe that I should have big breasts and be proud of them to attract a man and feed my children and just be some nice accessory. I’ve always valued my breasts. I never thought of myself as being defined by my breasts, and I know that if I get breast cancer I would rather live than look busty, but I would not be happy.
My mom’s friend’s mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was a very long time ago. All I remember is that she went from having long curly hair to being bald, and another day she only had one breast. And she was very, very sad.
I’m not good at talking about things I’m not fluent in. I’m not good at talking about things that make people upset because I try to choose every word with the utmost of care. For lack of better things to say, I found these particularly powerful pictures.
To anyone with breast cancer, to a survivor or someone that knows a survivor, to anyone that knows anyone that didn’t survive, I’m sorry. I’m sorry for your loss and what you’re going through. I’m sorry if anything I said was wrong or offensive. I pray for your happiness and recovery, and I hope you know that you are loved and supported and that you are beautiful.