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Busted

Monday, January 28, 2002

Dear auntie.com,

I published a fine art breast health calendar to encourage health awareness and action. It includes health tips and breast self-examination reminders. It also features beautiful, non-sexual images of ordinary breasts.

I am shocked by how many women die of breast cancer, and I feel that our culture's breast taboo is a contributing factor. I figured that if we can't talk about breasts, or look at breasts, then we're less likely to take care of them. So, in a sense, I was hoping to "take back the breast" to open the floor for discussion and provide a health tool for women to use daily.

"Where would I hang it?" That's the question I hear most from consumers. When I suggest the kitchen, they respond in horror: "But I have children and a husband." To this I say, "Do your children and husband watch television, play video games, read magazines, see movies, flip through the Sun, watch sports or shop at the supermarket?" The sexualized breast is commonplace. But the normalized breast in a health-promotion context ... now that's scary?!

When I can explain the point of the calendar to people, it sells well. But that's extremely labour-intensive. I have offered it to dozens of health organizations that I hoped would champion the prevention cause and have been rejected over and over: too controversial.

I'm at my wits' end. How would you bridge the gap between a healthy tool and Canadian breast owners?

- Busted

 

Dear Busted,

Your best bet is to join up with a breast cancer action group. Willow and Breast Cancer Action are the two that I know. These are feminist-based groups, and your auntie is sure they'd be over the moon about your calendar.

I visited your calendar's Website. It seems from the media coverage you got (congrats on that), you approached the staid Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Such a big agency must answer to a board of directors usually full of business people who know nothing about feminist approaches to breasts and cancer. Such agencies must always worry about alienating their well-to-do funders. On top of that, they don't need your support as much as the grassroots groups do. A feminist action group will promote the calendar and make much better use of its fundraising potential.

Your auntie is proud of your initiative and imagination. Next time, you might try and find a group that works in the area and shares your sensibilities before plunging ahead.

The best places are where angels fear to tread.

Cheers,
auntie.com