Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Heidi and I have uploaded an image to the 'Lovely Pair' campaign on www.nzgirl.co.nz where women are encouraged to 'get your boobs out for a good cause' - for every 50 sets of breasts uploaded nzgirl will give $1000 to breast cancer research.
Detractors say that this is a cynical way to bring traffic to the nzgirl site. Well it is a marketing campaign so yes that was probably the point and it's certainly had a massive impact on traffic. Detractors also say it sexy-fies breast cancer, degrades women and puts pressure on them to look a certain way. I disagree.
I do agree that young girls and women face incredible pressure to look a certain way, but not because of this inventive initiative by nzgirl. I believe this pressure comes from the media all around them - magazines, music videos, TV are all dedicated to images of 'perfect' and often enhanced, breasts.
For New Zealand women to see the hundreds of pairs of breasts that are being uploaded by ordinary women just like them is fantastic. I loved seeing the different shapes and sizes of breast and of nipples - every one unique - just like the women who posted them. The photos uploaded by women that show the scars of surviving their cancer battle are powerful and moving. I wonder if there is some small liberation in having a platform to show the world?
Some of these images have unfortunately and perhaps inevitably ended up on porn sites. The women uploading their images live in a digital world. They understand the risks and are aware of the possibility of any image of them posted on the web, appearing later in an undesirable place. For us, our image is not pornographic (nor do we believe are the others appearing on nzgirl) and will be quickly dismissed and bypassed by anyone seeking such.
The great pink-wash debate is also raised in a campaign like this. "No one talks about the deaths from colon cancer" they cry. Again I tend to agree. But I can live with pink-wash and see it for what it is. It's like the puppies at the pound, the ugly one will still be left at the end of the day. Breast cancer is the cute fluffy puppy that will always be picked by companies looking to give something back to a charity organisations.
The question for me, is should it have been done in the name of breast cancer? Would it have been better to simply say "get them out and be proud of them" and simply make the charity donation anyway? Possibly.
At the end of the day they are just breasts - functional, beautiful, breasts and while the campaign might have it's flaws, the nzgirl team have their heart in the right place and they are getting off their backsides and doing something that appeals to and educates their demographic. And that's why we included our image.
Footnote: My mother is a breast cancer survivor so I will always be motivated to raise money for breast cancer research wherever the opportunity presents itself.