This series of PSAs has been circling the internet. It’s 4 well-known DC Superladies feeling themselves up. I mean giving themselves breast exams. The more feminist-slanting nerd news sites have been claiming the series to be lacking in offensiveness as well as non-exploitative.
When I first saw the images my reaction was a Kara Zor-El level of rage. I wanted to smash everything. But I couldn’t figure out why. I agree every reminder we can get to have breast exams is helpful. Of course awareness should be most important. So why was my knee-jerk response anger?
Finally, the readers over at the Mary Sue explained my feelings to me. Some of their enlightening comments pointed out the face cut-off, the lack of focus on the need for exams, and that it is possibly reinforcing the idea that breasts are the most important part of superheroines. One male reader hilariously comments that maybe the images should not look like “little boy wank off material” if we want to truly promote awareness. My other favorite comment is the impossibility of doing a proper breast examination with a suit on.
I realize the positives in this, believe me. It DOES remind women to do their monthly exam. However, it also reinforces Breast Cancer as affecting what is apparently their most important aspect: their breasts. This is in line with the “I [heart] boobies” campaign. While I understand that the color pink and this tongue-in-cheek slogan are doing their part to bring in millions for breast cancer research, I find the focus on “boobies” to be offensive to victims, survivors, and anyone in the life of someone affected by Breast Cancer.
Also, where is the instructional on how to do your exam? There is a long tradition in comics to come out with sometimes hilarious extras, including instructionals. This is an opportunity missed. To me, this looks like a company profiting off a market of charity by fan-servicing to a culture of mastoconcupiscience (obsession with breasts). And we are supporting them.
Emotionally, mentally, and physically, there is so much more to this cancer than just our beloved tits. How about we have a campaign proving that we care about all this terrible disease stands for, and not just the only thing that apparently counts us as women.
I think there is a guilt inherent in our culture that is a huge money maker for many companies. We are privileged, and we feel ashamed for taking advantage of that. I could get into an entire liberal agenda on companies that make money off of our guilt- but that’s not what this blog is about. It’s about geekery, and feminism, and as women, I believe we feel the need to instantly view anything and all things supposedly created to raise Breast Cancer awareness as good. Because Breast Cancer is killing us, and we don’t know why. But I encourage people to think twice before throwing your weight into backward progress.
I excitedly await your Prostate and Colon Cancer awareness spreads, DC.
In the end, you should decide for yourself. For the opinions that set me off, please read The Mary Sue, DC Women Kicking Ass, or Google search it. Most major nerdy news sites should be/are covering the PSAs.
- BiA out