Breast cancer awareness should not sexualize women

Valeria Pizarro

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to care. A time where pink is a color men can wear with no fear of being emasculated.

It is an alleged time — as Tyler’s on the Drag put it, decorated with a modest drawing of a pink ribbon — to “help save second base.”

There is much more to supporting breast cancer victims and survivors than buying pink things and the hope of having fun times with a person’s body parts. Liz Elsen, assistant director of the Gender and Sexuality Center, said it’s misogynistic to focus breast cancer awareness on the sexual fantasies of men.

“It is unfortunate that the attention seems to be sexualized and focused specifically on the breasts and not the whole woman,” Elsen said. “It would be wonderful if people could focus on humanity.”

Usually,­­ when it comes to saving someone’s life, regardless of the danger they might be facing, heroics are not conditional. There is no “compensation” or “material gain,” much less anything sexual in nature. Saving someone’s life, in my opinion, should only be about saving someone’s life, and it should be no different for women.

When people market buying pink things as essentially helping “save second base,” it reduces women to what they can provide to men, according to Ixchel Rosal, director of the Gender and Sexuality Center.

“It’s setting it up that the problem with breast cancer is that it makes women less sexually available and desirable to men,” Rosal said.

Marketing such as that brought to us by Tyler’s objectifies women and sexualizes them in the context of breast cancer awareness. To begin with, objectifying women is bad. Sexualizing everything about women is also bad. Now to add these two bad things in the context of a deadly disease? Awful.

Promoting breast cancer awareness shouldn’t require offering men something in return.

Pizarro is an English sophomore from El Paso. Follow Pizarro on Twitter @preciosx.