September 25, 2009

"Save the Boobs" — it's a breast cancer public service announcement, so you can't complain?

First, here's the PSA:



And here's a "making of" background video:



Here's Dan Neil writing about it in the L.A. Times:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a new crop of public service announcements leverage male lechery to an astonishing degree. The latest and greatest is a spot called "Save the Boobs," from the Rethink Breast Cancer charity...

If this were a Budweiser commercial, the bluestockings, psalm singers and family focusers would be going completely mental, but in this case the morals police have no grounds to object unless they want to come off as somehow pro-breast cancer.
No grounds? If you have one good cause, it's supposed to be perfectly okay to undercut other causes? And why does Neil imagine the opposition to sexist advertising as coming only from bluestockings, psalm singers and family focusers? Is feminism in such deep eclipse?
In recent years, the increasing frankness of breast cancer PSAs has been a bright spot of adult sensibility in what is Americans' generally neurotic relationship to the female anatomy....
Well, I would have thought that feminist critique is adult and is (or at least can be) non-neurotic. But Neil does get around to talking about feminism:
Feminist film theory has a name for the camera's eye here: The "male gaze," which is to say, the camera's view is that of the male spectator and unseen protagonist regarding the female as an object (cf. Laura Mulvey's "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"). This is the camera's-eye of pornography and it's inherently misogynistic. The "Save the Boobs" spot spoofs the male gaze and turns it into something positive.
So it escapes the misogyny charge because it's got a good cause or because it's a spoof? Those are 2 different things. And yet, as a matter of feminism, I don't think either good cause or spoof gets you off the hook.

127 comments:

AllenS said...

I can hardly wait for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Maybe Chip can make a video.

WV: mulat

New hair style.

John said...

Ann, I'm sure this is very obvious to you, but can you describe why you think the ad is sexist?

Is it that it shows a woman's breasts?
That it claims that men like looking at breasts?
That it treats the idea of men looking at breasts as comedy?

Explain it to me like I'm six years old.

paul a'barge said...

That model has one bodacious set of tah-tahs!

traditionalguy said...

What a beautiful sight. Two more good reasons to fight the Moslem's claim that Sharia Law shall rule over the women of our world. Sex differences themselves are sexist if you say so. But the attempt to ignore the differences in design between men and women is futility. Of course showing of respect to a woman does require leaving off demeaning salacious comments in a structured authority context where "Being a Female" can be too easily used as a put down. But female beauty still has a inestimable value that men rightly refuse to ignore.

Salamandyr said...

I'm not sure it "spoofs" the male gaze, or turns it into something positive. It still revolves around presenting women as something to protect for men's benefit.

Heck, the entire focus on breast cancer centers around the male protective instinct. If it wasn't we'd have programs and charities full to bursting for prostate cancer research.

pduggie said...

why is the guy in the pool in a giant floating vagina?

daubiere said...

i guess it takes a family focuser to see the primary function of breasts: the nurture of children. adult male & female pleasure is just a bonus but for the la times crowd its all about the bonus. leave that boring baby feeding shit to the christianist red staters. show us your tits!!

leche-ry indeed.

campy said...

Well, I'm sold. Let's make the already huge spending gap between men's & women's diseases even wider.

Meade said...

John said...
Explain it to me like I'm six years old.

Johnny: Anytime you feel your “uh-oh” feeling, or you're worried about something or someone, you know you can talk with a grownup you trust to help you figure out WHAT TO DO!

If mom or dad says you need to be home at a certain time, and you have trouble or think you’ll be late, you need to call ahead of time and talk it over with your parents, so they won’t be worried about you!    THINK AHEAD!

HERE’S A SITUATION – WHAT DO YOU THINK?  Let’s pretend you’re not allowed to be on the computer at your house, but your friend says it’s ok to go on the computer at their house.  So you both go on the computer at your friend’s house, and you’re talking with somebody you don’t know.  What if that person – the person you don’t know – says “let’s meet somewhere!”   WHAT WOULD YOU DO?  

DON”T GO TO MEET THEM – AND TELL A GROWNUP WHAT HAPPENED!

pduggie said...

@salamandyr How is arguing for the self-interest of men in protecting women not "something positive".

Its only positive if men do so disinterestedly? Or if men fail to protect?

What would a "positive" *PSA* that was aimed at men look like? (We're talking PSA, not a lecture, book, etc)

rhhardin said...

And yet, as a matter of feminism, I don't think either good cause or spoof gets you off the hook.

Let's take another look at that hook.

ironrailsironweights said...

Maybe it's just my perception, but the girl's funbagos seem asymmetrical, with the right one larger than the left.

Notice how the man on the pool float takes a big bite of a hot dog. Mixed metaphor, or what?

Peter

Robin said...

"If you have one good cause, it's supposed to be perfectly okay undercut other causes?" Yes. See feminist support for Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Barack "Sweetie" Obama, and all forms of Islamic oppression, er, "cultural differences", of women.

"Is feminism in such deep eclipse?" Yes. See above.

Shanna said...

This reminded me that I needed to check out the date for this years race for the cure next month, and in googling I found out some guy made a stink about it this year because he's not allowed to run. The race is women and male survivors of breast cancer only.

I can hardly wait for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Awareness month's are stupid so I wouldn't encourage any more of them (it seems like there are already 5 or 6 things a month we are supposed to be "aware" of), but I think it would be great if you guys put together a 5k or something for prostate cancer. Go for it. Organize away! I won't complain if you have an all male 5k.

ironrailsironweights said...

This is just Too Weird to be True. When I posted my earlier comment the captcha word was "cates."

Phoebe Cates was in one of the most famous topless scenes of all times, in 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Peter

rhhardin said...

The inclination to feminism is itself a sex difference.

Shanna said...

Oh, look! September is prostate cancer awareness month.

http://www.prostatecancerfoundation.org/


I found some 10ks and stuff too.

Meade said...

If 100,000 males become president, someday, eventually, predictably, right behind his nipple, one of them will get breast cancer.

Pogo said...

Serious question:
What does feminism mean anymore?

The answer seems to be: Whatever a woman does is fine and good, for whatever reason she chooses.

rhhardin said...

The inclination to feminism is itself a sex difference.

And so its relationship to truth has to be a moving part in the problem.

John said...

Meade,

I think that people who are deeply committed to an ideology often respond to triggers without carefully examining the facts of the case. I find that asking people to clearly express their objections in small words often exposes that.

Try reading Orwell's Politics and the English Language -- or have Ann explain it to you -- and then maybe you will be ready to sit at the grown-up table.

MadisonMan said...

What was that ad about again? I can't remember.

Maybe if I watch it again.

Largo said...

I transcribed this from the writer/co-director (with my emphasis of course):

"""
Instead of making Breast Cancer Awareness Month about an old grandma, like getting a mammogram and making it clinical, I thought lets be real with it. Lets make it very MTV.
"""

Perhaps someone with linguistic proclivities who has a good ear, both for the "standard" dialect of old fogies like me, and for the ambient dialect of this writer when working with her team and audience, can tell me that what she said wasn't as as awful as it sounded to me.

Pogo said...

" Lets make it very MTV."

The upcoming Gardisil commercials are NSFW. And there's a pay-per-view option from HBO.

rhhardin said...

Concealment and suggestion, not boobs, is what's activates the male gaze. Otherwise called the feminine operation.

The suggestion is of a future, which is what concealment produces.

A future that is then taken over, if things go well, by a child, which the future represents.

How feminism would deal with that account, I don't know.

Feminism is concealment without suggestion or future.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

My mother, who is 74, had a mastectomy last year.

I don't think preserving her sexual attractiveness was a consideration. I think the mastectomy was done to save her life.

Of course, avoiding surgery like that when possible is the thing to do. My mom had a lumpectomy, radiation, and chemo 10 years ago and she was one of the unfortunate ones whose cancer came back.

But the idea that the purpose behind fighting breast cancer is so that men will have more breasts to ogle does cause me a certain amount of cognitive dissonance. Because nobody besides my dad was going to ogle my mom, anyway, at her age, so the obvious conclusion one would draw is that her breast cancer should not have been a concern.

former law student said...

Big deal. I've been seeing "Save the Ta-Tas" bumper stickers for quite a while now.

http://www.savethetatas.com/

Started by an actual woman, supposedly.

Salamandyr said...

salamandyr How is arguing for the self-interest of men in protecting women not "something positive".

Its only positive if men do so disinterestedly? Or if men fail to protect?

What would a "positive" *PSA* that was aimed at men look like? (We're talking PSA, not a lecture, book, etc)


It's not positive because it posits A. that a woman's value is relative to her desirability to men, which is textbook objectification. It's saying we should cure breast cancer not because it's a horrible disease that kills and disfigures thousands of women, but because we as men like boobs. Honestly I think it's less misogynist than a misandrist lowering of expectations for men.

But the prominence of the overall breast cancer publicity machine has a lot to do with men's urge to protect others, especially women. Lung Cancer is a bigger killer, but of both sexes; prostate cancer is as big a killer, but affects men, and men prefer to focus on helping and protecting others--thus we get yet another charity telling us to help women while thousands of men face death or impotency.

Maybe rather than a positive PSA for men, we need one for women. Something like this...woman and man come out of a restaurant and it's raining. He runs out into the rain to bring the car while she waits under the canopy...cut to scene in kitchen as wife is reaching for something on top shelf and husband reaches up and gets if for her...cut to man getting up in middle of night to check on newborn so Mom can get some much needed rest...cut to couple, now older standing proudly as their son, now in uniform, gets on the bus. Mom leans on Dad and cries, while he stands firm, holding back the tears for her. VOICEOVER: "For all the things he does for you. Do this for him." Wife, looking worried "Honey, I think you should get your prostate checked."

traditionalguy said...

For what ever it adds to this discussion, a good friend who is a Plastic Surgeon that other doctors call in for the hard cases of re-constructive work, told me that he saw no attraction in women's exposed breasts anymore since it reminded him of his work rather than play. So keeping your breasts partly hidden may actually increase their power to hook men.

rhhardin said...

The ad is aimed at women, and men are the hook.

Robt C said...

Salamandyr,
Awesome comment. Somebody should make that PSA . . .

Joseph said...

I think the video is funny, cute and effective at its intended purpose. I don't think its anti-feminist.

Beth said...

I watched the ad after reading Althouse's critique, and was distracted (not surprisingly); okay, I was distracted, but what I thought was "oh, real boobs on tv, not enhanced, fake boobs." They moved, like real boobs do.

I think there's something to it being a spoof on the male gaze; every character adopts that perspective, female or male, young or old, gay men in sailor suits - there's a single point of view.

But "leverag[ing] male lechery" is one of those third-wave approaches that I've never understood as feminist.

bagoh20 said...

I often find a nice A-cup rack very sexy. I'm a pragmatist.

As to objectification: it's also a kind of power for women. One they very much covet. I doubt if given the choice, that they would abandon it. I would love to be able to control women with a similar tool. Wait, that didn't sound right.

Largo said...

To Meade and John.

Meade:

I thought that was brilliant.

One could go on to discuss with someone the relativity (or not) of social mores, of their purposes, and on and on.

One can also help someone get a sense of what is appropriate or not in this context. Is this something you would happily watch in "mixed company" -- such company to be specified as appropriate.

Now it might be fair to ask someone to explain culture, ethics, and mores with a six year old's vocabulary. It might be difficult. It might be impossible. But one could try.

On the other hand, to try to instruct a six year old in normative ethics (necessarily in words the child knows) is -- not quite the same.

When people ask about explaining thing in terms a "six year old" can understand, I am often unsure which of these they mean.

My explanation to a six year old in Normative Ethics in the language of a six year old is not, on its face, going to withstand a critique of a high school student, much less an educated adult.


John:

I have not here touched on any purported issues of ethics, sexism, or anything else with regard to the ad. Nor do I wish, at this time, to discuss any of these. Having said that, I invite you to respond to what I wrote to Meade above. I am interested in what you might think.

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

As someone who is, so far, a breast cancer survivor -- and who has only one boob as a result... I think there is a real mixed message here.

The real message should be 'save the women who wear the boobs' -- I'd appreciate something that, in effect, demonstrates breast self-exams, but in inappropriate places.... business meetings, church etc... the message being, feel them up, but not here...

Really, I'm lucky to be here. I went for a mammogram because my husband felt a lump.... Playing with that theme could work as well, the sort of 'really, (strange woman) I was just doing a breast exam...

10ksnooker said...

Making an farcical commercial about something as serious as cancer is not the way to do it.

All men see is the boobs anyway ...

Jason (the commenter) said...

I thought the ad was all about self-promotion. In the "making of" video they say the owner of the boobs' name over and over again. And why would MTV News be there? I feel certain this is all an attempt to launch some new reality star.

At least she's not having someone pee on her like in Kim Kardashian's sex tape.

John said...

Largo,

I don't see why the video is sexist. Ann does. I am asking her to explain.

Feminists often use dense language in their screeds (often borrowed from french post-structuralists). I think that doesn't help people understand. I think that kind of language is a way of dodging judgement on the claim. That's why I asked Ann to explain her point in short, simple, english words.

I don't expect young children have strong normative views. I am talking about simple language because it aids understanding.

And if you think the add was sexist, I invite you to explain why. I think that would be hard to do.

Jason (the commenter) said...

John: And if you think the add was sexist, I invite you to explain why. I think that would be hard to do.

The woman was depicted as a sex object; attention was paid to how her breasts jiggled (in close-up); and everyone was shown treating her as something to be leered at, even cat-called to, as she walked by.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

John, Salamandyr already explained it.

It's not positive because it posits A. that a woman's value is relative to her desirability to men, which is textbook objectification. It's saying we should cure breast cancer not because it's a horrible disease that kills and disfigures thousands of women, but because we as men like boobs.

Henry said...

I got a kick out of the co-director explaining the "concept" of the video. Man, that's deep.

Joe said...

Most public awareness ads are a waste of money.

Ann Althouse said...

For the record, I haven't taken a position on the ad. I have only rejected the excuses proffered by Dan Neil, that you can throw feminism out as long as you have some good cause and/or you make it spoofy.

I think that is patently wrong. You couldn't put racism in a PSA and excuse it like that.

Let me add that I also disagree with the theory that the male perspective in photography is inherently misogynistic. I don't think porn is always misogynistic. I think it's fine to admire breasts. Whether diseases that affect breasts should get more attention is another matter. They shouldn't.

bagoh20 said...

If your real concern is expanding awareness to help find a cure, then this only helps. It may get the attention of people otherwise missed. Concerns for feminist sensitivities should be sacrificed, unless you prefer the reverse.

It reminds me of the fanatics who refuse blood transfusions on religious grounds. Your high mindedness may cost someone else their life.

If a similar ad about prostate cancer involved exploiting female sexual desires, the women would say: "Relax, what's the problem?" And they would be right. Some things are more important than others. But mostly, just loosen up, pilgrim.

Salamandyr said...

Incidentally, September is (was) Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Does anyone recall seeing a single PSA on the subject, a single web ad? Me either. I only found this out just now because I wanted to see if Prostate Cancer even got an awareness month.

William said...

This is a subject upon which I have given a great deal of thought. Tits are ephemeral. Even as this woman struts her stuff, the chains of time drag against the uplift of her beauty. And it's not just tits that are ephemeral. The male gaze is a moment that comes and goes. I wish I could look upon tits with the same stupified fascination as the young men in that video....."If eyes were made for seeing, beauty is its own excuse for being." The woman's sway and the male gaze are all part of the Darwinian boogie. It's a dance to a fast, exhausting beat, and the chaperon gaze is not the best judge of its propriety.

Meade said...

@Largo,

Thanks. In my opinion, the truly brilliant comments in this thread were yours at 9:12, Robin's at 8:50, and rh's at 9:19.

My reply to John was just food-fighting at the children's table. (Plus, all I did was a quickly tweeked copy/paste flingback of the same bland gruel John evidently can dish but can't himself take.)

But thanks anyway for the (undeserved) compliment.

campy said...

I wanted to see if Prostate Cancer even got an awareness month.

I guess we need a Neglected Awareness Months Awareness Month.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I heard a blurb on the radio Wednesday about athletes raising money for prostate cancer. Didn't realize it was Prostate Awareness Month.

Can they do an ad featuring Frank Zappa? Or is he off the radar screen now?

Largo said...

John,

Let me apologize for mixing up Ann and Meade in this context. I thought you had addressed Meade about the six year old. Suffering from the flu takes energy away from careful reading. (If that mitigates).

"""
Feminists often use dense language in their screeds (often borrowed from french post-structuralists)
"""

Ah yes.

On the one hand: there is the moral precept which I might have occasion to tell my son: "whatever you may strive to do, strive to do it well". (You might guess that I am a virtue ethicist).

On the other hand, there is a long history of philosophical ethics which, though not all of it is easy, at least tries to be clear. Trying to comprehend it is like trying to follows rays of light diffracting is a crystal goblet.

On the other-other-hand, there is text that I don't know how to begin reading -- not because of the complexity of diffraction through crystalline waters (to change my simile), but because all I perceive in the waters is mud.

My point here being: I get you.

If I were well, I would be happy to discuss sexism in the ad. But the starting question for me would not me "why is the ad sexist", but "what do you mean by the term 'sexism' anyway?" and press the question, come hell or high hemlock.

Anyway, that is the closest I wish to come to talking about boobs right now :)

What Meade wrote I really did think brilliant. It make me see the stark distinction between explaining something with simple words, and expressing something to a simple mind. I would be less trusting of a book titled Calculus Made Simple [or easy], than one titled Calculus Made Clear.

(Indeed, Meade got me thinking about many issues here. Even if you could explain Kantian Ethics using a sixth year old's vocabulary, should we distingush between words and terms? E.g. the explanation might turn 'ought' into a technical term. The child would know the word, but not the term.)

Anyhow, I don't presume that this is something that necessarily interests you, so I will stop here. (And get myself some much needed rest)

[ -hack- hack- -cough- ]

bagoh20 said...

I was going to say racism is not a good analogy, but then realized it is.

As in modern racism, the victim does often enjoy the benefits of it; affirmative action vs gold dinging.

We also do use racism for the advancement of other causes, i.e. the wise Latina, etc.

As always, it comes down to: is the cost worth the benefit. I don't think acknowledging mens' natural inclination is that great a sacrifice in this case. Women get objectified, so do men, there is just a cultural higher sensitivity from feminism. We can live with it. If women are truly equal, then they are up to it.

Largo said...

[Oh,] Why does it hurt when I pee???

bagoh20 said...

"I guess we need a Neglected Awareness Months Awareness Month."

Excellent idea. Eventually, every single day will have 10 competing constituencies and it will be useless, but congress will, no doubt, continue to fill up the calender layer upon layer

$9,000,000,000 Write Off said...

Is feminism in such deep eclipse?

I would like to hear our hostess's view on that. She's pretty smart for a girl (we can joke, right?).

I do post the request seriously, though, because I don't know and I trust her to have intellible views on this. What is the feminsit creed, the thing that lists what all feminist believe and oppose?

Irene said...

"Whether diseases that affect breasts should get more attention is another matter. They shouldn't."

Bingo. September is also Gynecological Cancer Awareness Month, but hardly anyone noticed.

Save the ova.

G Joubert said...

The point being here to get as much attention as possible, to raise as much money for the cause as possible, and ultimately to save as many lives as possible. As the spouse of a breast cancer survivor, whatever works.

Smilin' Jack said...

Ann Althouse said...
For the record, I haven't taken a position on the ad. I have only rejected the excuses proffered by Dan Neil, that you can throw feminism out as long as you have some good cause and/or you make it spoofy.


Huh? Neil doesn't say anything about sexism or feminism. You're the one who raises the "misogyny charge," so you have taken the position that the ad is misogynistic.

Which is ridiculous. No women were harmed or discriminated against in the making of this film, so it can't be misogynistic or sexist.

bagoh20 said...

@ Largo

I did the work:

Zappa

Cedarford said...

Inside the Philosophy Factory - Really, I'm lucky to be here. I went for a mammogram because my husband felt a lump....

I apologize if I make light of your situation, PF, but I do note that America's men are more than ready, as a resource, to examine breasts on request. And strongly believe in checking out breasts early and often, just as the PSAs advise. Men approach this task with excellent tactile senses and unusually high concentration on the job.
Clearly, a win-win situation.
================
In more cheery cancer news, US authorities rejected lawyers& human rights activists and allowed Manson Family murderer Susan Atkins to die of cancer in jail, without "compassionate release". She was not to "be with family in her final days". Good. Adios, bitch!
In even better news, non-cancer related, an unemployed 55-year old man in Britain, was puttering around his friends farm with a metal detector when he "had a hit". Digging down, he found gold jewelry, silver, swords...coins..more. Authorities were called after the man and his farmer friend had ensured they would be getting what it was worth.

The now-called "Staffordshire Hoard" turned out to be immense. 12 pounds of gold jewelry alone, intricate art of a sort mostly unknown. A giant jewel-encrusted gold Christian cross. All from a "missing period" the early post Roman Anglo-Saxon era, 575-625.

The jobless guy and his farmer buddy look to split the value of the "Hoard". Estimated to be worth high 7-digit figures when sold only to Brit museums, by British law. To private collectors, the "Hoard" would be worth well in the high 8 figures.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090924/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_anglo_saxon_gold

campy said...

No women were harmed or discriminated against in the making of this film, so it can't be misogynistic or sexist.

Oh yeah? How many flat-chested actresses were considered for the lead role?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"Oh yeah? How many flat-chested actresses were considered for the lead role?"

Hello.

bagoh20 said...

@ Cedarford

Breast examination is an opportunity for men to get back in touch with their primate roots, by simulating the grooming behavior lost to our oppressive cultural mores.

Atkins should have died years ago. She was one scary bitch devil.

That treasure find is wonderful; for both the wealth and the history. Finding such a thing has got to be a fantasy of 99% of people, at least of men. Very cool.

bagoh20 said...

"Oh yeah? How many flat-chested actresses were considered for the lead role?"

How many men were, or quadriplegics or ....

The actress could have been intelligent, i.e., otherwise substantial, why do you assume not.

Smilin' Jack said...

Oh yeah? How many flat-chested actresses were considered for the lead role?

Preferring large-boobed women to small-boobed women is not discrimination against women. If there's any sexism here it's that no men were considered for the part.

Largo said...

Laura,

I heard a blurb on the radio Wednesday about athletes raising money for prostate cancer. Didn't realize it was Prostate Awareness Month.

Can they do an ad featuring Frank Zappa? Or is he off the radar screen now?


I wonder how the Zappa Family Estate might consider such a thing. It is just, well, just so weird.

I mean suppose FZ survived his cancer. I do not see him as one to get up "into other people's business" with a PSA, though I suppose he might. I imagine he's want total control of it though. Lets assume that he did, and that the footage ended up unused, in a can in his basement gathering dust.

I would be fascinated to see what he produced! (Perhaps, just perhaps, what he produced was just a little too edgy for the societies seeking his name).

Wouldn't you love to see it! And at the same time, can you begin to imagine what it would be like? (I cannot, in any meaningful way).

I don't know if the estate would have any idea what sort of PSA would meet his approval. Perhaps his family knows his sensibilities perfectly on such matters. I have no idea. But a FZ produced PSA... :-)

What I can imagine him more likely doing is making fun of it in his art. Having forced the cancer into submission/recession, can you see him giving any of his later works a title like 'PROSTRATE THE PROSTATE'?

Scored for chamber orchestra of course, with bedpans filling out the percussion section!

*Sigh*

Ann Althouse said...

"Huh? Neil doesn't say anything about sexism or feminism."

Well, huh yourself. I quoted Neil on the subject!

Anyway, to answer my own question about diseases, we should be least concerned with cancers that affect nonessential body parts. Breasts can be cut off entirely. You might not love the way you look without them — though, if it happened to me, I would embrace the flat look — but you can live without them. There are many other body parts that can become cancerous that cannot be removed. There are people with brain cancer, etc. They need help too.

Largo said...

@bagoh20

I did the work.

Indeed you did, sir. And commendable work it was! :-)

ricpic said...

I call foul. There are no bull dykes celebrating the boobs in that commercial. Why not? Isn't that what feminism is all about: securing bull dykes access to the best boobs?

ricpic said...

William tells us that everything that breathes is ephemeral. Ya think?

campy said...

The actress could have been intelligent, i.e., otherwise substantial, why do you assume not.

Huh? Where did I say anything about the actress's level of intelligence?

Michael Hasenstab said...

My PSA was .03 at my annual physical in June. I'm damn happy about it, thank you. That's the only PSA that matters to me.

I wish that women were as committed to fund raising for prostate cancer as men are for breast cancer.

But cancer is cancer, and I don't see any pretty colored ribbons or tinted light bulbs or pink tee shirts or pink ball caps for pediatric brain tumors, or melanoma, or any other cancer. Just breast cancer. It has become self-objectifying.

Besides, I thought Save The Boobs was the DNCC mid-term election fund raising theme.

GaMongrel said...

Question...

When (hopefully not) medicine become socialized, what will happen to PSAs like this requesting your time, money and prayers for their causes?

With everything covered by law via government funding, I fear we'll lose these valuable(and sometimes entertaining) methods of outreach. ;)

Unfortunately they'll likely be replaced by some nefarious form of message mandating compliance w/ the government.

bagoh20 said...

I'm a cancer survivor (liver). I would hope that people would consider organ donation very seriously. I was saved via liver transplant. To donate your organs after death is an incredible gift to the recipient and costs you nothing, absolutely nothing. I can't imagine any way you could do more good for so little sacrifice (none).

I received the liver of a 45 year old woman a few months before my scheduled demise. I was very healthy, productive, and happy, before my diagnosis and my survival was important to the lively hood of many people I help.

She saved my life, and in so doing, helped many people and animals that I will now help with my remaining years. She would be proud of what she has done. My life has never been happier or healthier. An incredible gift, and I will never know anything about her, except her love and thoughtfulness.

It will be your last act and likely your most important and valuable contribution to the world, since it goes on and on. Who knows what your gift will accomplish.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"I wish that women were as committed to fund raising for prostate cancer as men are for breast cancer."

It's men doing the fund raising for breast cancer? The Susan G. Komen foundation is run by men? Well, I learn something new every day.

bagoh20 said...

For example: thousands die every year for no other reason than there are no donor organs available for transplant surgery that is becoming routine and very successful. Those life saving organs are lying useless in a graveyard or burned up, expanding your carbon footprint even after death, how rude.

Seriously though, it makes no sense. I watched people in beds next to me wither away with their families watching waiting for an organ that certainly was out there, probably in the same hospital, but useless to anyone. A senseless waste.

Ok I'm done, gotta go enjoy my second life. Thanks lovely lady whoever you were.

Smilin' Jack said...

"Huh? Neil doesn't say anything about sexism or feminism."

Well, huh yourself. I quoted Neil on the subject!


OK, Neil does "get around to talking about" feminist film theory. But if that's what you're referring to, it contradicts your own complaint against him: And why does Neil imagine the opposition to sexist advertising as coming only from bluestockings, psalm singers and family focusers? Is feminism in such deep eclipse?

"Sexist" is your characterization of the ad, not his.

Shanna said...

I wish that women were as committed to fund raising for prostate cancer as men are for breast cancer.

I am the only one who thinks this might be more about organization? Women organize to support breast cancer research. Men jump in sometimes, and god love them for doing so, but I don’t think they are as interested in organizing for prostate cancer. Maybe they should be. If you threw a Prostate Cancer 5k for men in your town, would 30,000 of them show up?

And yes, for some reason, people think it’s fun to buy pink stuff. Just like people bought the “live strong” bracelets. Come up with a thing for Prostate Cancer, guys, instead of jumping in and whining about it all the time. I’m pretty sure the women in your lives would be happy to help if you ask them too instead of complaining when they do something about breast cancer.

PatCA said...

Typical "youth" humor: not a whit or wit.

Michael Hasenstab said...

It's men doing the fund raising for breast cancer? The Susan G. Komen foundation is run by men? Well, I learn something new every day.

The Susan G. Komen Foundation isn't the only fund raising program for breast cancer.

Men also raise money for breast cancer research. Why would you think that only women are fund raisers?

A quick Google search confirms that men donate their restored cars, custom-built motorcycles, and even new homes to raffles for breast cancer. The Walks For The Cure I've participated in have many, many men walking to raise funds.

Men have mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, so why wouldn't we raise money to help find a cure?

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Michael, why don't you organize a prostate cancer foundation. I'm sure a lot of women would participate in your fundraisers.

Sigivald said...

And why does Neil imagine the opposition to sexist advertising as coming only from bluestockings, psalm singers and family focusers? Is feminism in such deep eclipse?

Not only what Robin said, but I've sure as hell never noticed (self-proclaimed capital-F) Feminists (of the sort who get media attention) complaining about "sexist advertising" when it paints men in a bad light.

Want me to care about your opposition to sexism? Oppose all> sexism, then, rather than winking at or even promoting it when it's aimed at The Other Side.

Because otherwise I start to feel you're not so much opposed to "sexism" as "sexism where you're on the losing side".

(And for that matter, I don't see how using sex to sell is "sexism", per se. As long as it doesn't paint the sex being used to sell (to men or to women, using men or women) as inferior rather than mere desired, I don't see the bigotry.

I do see assumed or explicit inferiority of women in many old print ads from the 50s or early 60s; I do not see it very often at all in modern ads using sex to sell.

Seems like too many people assume the sexism is in the sex (or the desirability), rather than in the implied attitudes.)

Triangle Man said...

Come up with a thing for Prostate Cancer, guys, instead of jumping in and whining about it all the time.

So, it's called whining when men do it but it's advocacy when women do it?

Shanna said...

Woman: organize a breast cancer walk. Actively promote it. Success.

(Some) Men: complain that women have successfully organized for breast cancer research. Complain that they didn’t organize for prostate cancer.

You don’t see a difference here? One is positive, one is negative. Positive always beats negative.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Triangle Man said...
...
So, it's called whining when men do it but it's advocacy when women do it?


No, it's called advocacy when women do it and whining when men complain about its not being done for them.

Laura(southernxyl) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ethan said...

Althouse loves talking about titties.

garage mahal said...

Breasts are fun and awesome to look at. Prostates from 60 yr old men aren't. That's why you won't ever see that commercial. Because nobody want to. Deal with it.

Beth said...

Feminists often use dense language in their screeds

John sees a "screed" in Althouse's post. I do not. John, please explain where/how the post is a "screed."

cgh said...

It's not positive because it posits A. that a woman's value is relative to her desirability to men, which is textbook objectification.

It "posits" no such thing. It presents a lovely pair of bouncing breasts. It says nothing about the value of the model as a person. It evokes no concept of value, merely one of appreciation or perhaps lust.

What what hell does objectification even mean? The concept is either trivial (men like female bodies regardless of the woman's personality or "value") or erroneous like old concepts of the "aether."

Beth said...

Women care about their dads, sons, partners, friends. I can't see any hurdle to promoting fund-raising for screening and research for prostate cancer. Why is this perceived as a competition? Come up with a campaign.

Henry said...

I have a completely different observation.

How many commercial video creators are intentionally editing their videos to ensure that the mid-point shot (0:31 of 1:03 of this one) is, shall we say, dramatic?

Thus YouTube impacts one formal aspect of short video design.

Shanna said...

Why is this perceived as a competition? Come up with a campaign.

Exactly. I understand that livestrong funds go to all cancer research, but I think it would have been equally successful if it only went to testicular cancer (which is what Lance Armstrong had, right?). All you need is someone to organize.

Skyler said...

I think it would be more effective if there weren't so many ugly people in there. And the model is pretty enough for someone's next door neighbor if you aren't too picky, but she's way to chubby to sell this message.

cobaltbob said...

I know two women in their 20s or 30s who have had double mastectomies.

I have met one guy who was diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 43.

For many women, breast cancer strikes early. Prostatic cancer very rarely strikes early.

The scenario of young people and kids with cancer SHOULD receive greater awareness, support, and funding. A 70 year old guy with prostate cancer probably had 70 good years. A 25 year old woman with BRCA-linked breast cancer..........that's a totally different scenario.

Oh, Jesus. I didn't just make one of Obambi's health care points for him, did I?

traditionalguy said...

The way I understand feminism's demand is that women shall not be put into a less respected and honored place than men occupy just because they are not men. Is that a real problem. Hell,yes it is in Academia and other places where teams of men and women work together and where the women are EXPECTED to do the work and give the credit to the men. That is harder to spot, but commenting on the woman's sexy look is a man's code for "lets agree to give her no respect" so that men will get the respect without doing the hard work required. So making women appear as Sex Objects does ring an alarm bell for women. PLEASE ASK JOHN TO TRANSLATE THIS INTO SIX YEAR OLD WORDING, because I can't remember talking to adults when I was six.

Revenant said...

I'm in favor of this ad.

garage mahal said...

Way too chubby if your preference is malnourished Chinese gymnasts. But, I hate bony woman.

PatCA said...

I mean whit of wit.

Duscany said...

This commercial takes it as a given that all men love big gelatinous breasts. Not true. Many of us love smaller breasted women even better. Their breasts are more aesthetically pleasing for being in proportion to their bodies. How can a woman with such big breasts go jogging or even bike riding? It would be like carrying two honeydew melons in your T-shirt.

BJM said...

I too thought the ad is aimed at women as much as men, so I don't feel it's sexist.

No matter which side of the ta-tas one is on, we all enjoy them.

ben said...

MediaCurves.com conducted a study on 318 viewers of the recent and controversial public service announcement on breast cancer awareness called “Save the Boobs.” Results found that while the majority of male viewers (60%) felt the ad was appropriate, most women viewers (62%) found the controversial PSA to be offensive and inappropriate. While there were mixed reactions when comparing responses by gender, most viewers, both male and female (84% of males and 79% of females) felt the PSA was an effective one. More in depth results can be seen at:
http://www.mediacurves.com/Advertising/J7569-BreastCancerAd/Index.cfm
Thanks,
Ben

Synova said...

I wonder if the reaction would be different without the wet t-shirt and bare boobs (I'm assuming that there is a version that hasn't got them covered) at the end?

Because up to that point I'm like, hm, jiggle, they must be real, she certainly is pretty, and not a stick either. A celebration of health and beauty. I can go with that.

But I just really didn't get the "Ooooo... flash your tits, baby!" part at all.

Anonymous Blogger said...

And yet, as a matter of feminism, I don't think either good cause or spoof gets you off the hook.

Hasn't feminism come far enough to admit that women like to get off on the hook? And, as a matter of feminism, how about dropping the heterosexist assumption that bisexual women aren't cheering on these ads?

Ann Althouse said...

No one has commented on the smaller breasted women in the ad who stare jealously.

bagoh20 said...

"But I just really didn't get the "Ooooo... flash your tits, baby!" part at all."

It's a secret dude code. I could tell, but then you would wear it out. Hint: It works every time.



"No one has commented on the smaller breasted women in the ad who stare jealously."

I'll take them too, put 'em in my truck.

kentuckyliz said...

How about an ooh, show me your tits ad featuring a bald woman with a surgically scarred breast (or none at all) bright red from the radiation?

I could have modeled for that.

Still could, really. It's dented and red and ruined. And lately, itchy as all get-out and I've scratched the skin off.

(Just had to interject a moment of horrid reality here.)

Synova said...

Kentuckyliz, you've got all my sympathy. My cesarean scar itched for... still does sometimes... 12 years. Yuck.


Bagoh20... what I was trying to get across was that *until* that point I thought the PSA worked for me as a woman. After that point, yes, it seemed that it was in secret dude code territory.

kentuckyliz said...

She is stocky and her boobs aren't even. I thought the girl in the black bikini and the blond girl and the girl in the chaise lounge were all more attractive.

So what is the booby ball? Dare I ask? Sounds like a tittyfuck.

kentuckyliz said...

Also I should post the obvious, given my horrid comment above:

treating breast cancer doesn't save boobies

it saves lives.

bagoh20 said...

Kentuckyliz,

My cure left me huge scars crossing my entire abdomen side to side and up to my chest. I'm very proud and quite happy to have them. I even posted before and after on Facebook. As a survivor, your scars would not bother me at all. In fact, I find it attractive in a way. Battle scars are proof that you've been tested. It adds substance and character, and gives me a sense of camaraderie with a fellow survivor.

bagoh20 said...

Of course we like boobs, but I honesty, don't think they are necessary for sexual attraction. I never have been a boob man, but I really don't think I would have a problem with a sex partner without them. I would be hot for her for other reasons and as long as she didn't obsess about it, I wouldn't mind. At least that is my expectation. I've never had the experience.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

kentuckyliz said...

Also I should post the obvious, given my horrid comment above:

treating breast cancer doesn't save boobies

it saves lives.


That's it.

Meade said...

Cut down on alcohol, or avoid it altogether. When it comes to breast cancer, studies have been pretty consistent: there is no safe amount of alcohol. Even one glass of wine a day can increase your risk slightly, and the risk climbs with each additional drink. “This is something you can control,” said Jasmine Q. Lew, a student at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago who recently completed a National Institutes of Health study that is one of the largest on the subject. “Women can choose not to drink.”

Exercise, exercise, exercise. Obesity after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer, so try to keep your weight down. But exercise is beneficial regardless of weight, and even a small amount of physical activity may be helpful. “Women who are overweight and exercising are at lower risk than those who are overweight and not exercising; women who are lean and exercising are at lower risk than women who are lean but not exercising,” Dr. Feigelson said. Risk drops with increased hours and strenuousness of exercise, and studies have found that women who do an average of three hours of strenuous exercise a week reduce their risk of breast cancer by 20 percent.

Ben J. said...

Hey Meade,

Should we save the really saggy ones, too?

kentuckyliz said...

The breast cancer epidemic skyrocketed and reached down to younger and younger women because of the long term use of hormonal contraception.

Thanks bagoh2o...I actually see battle scars the same way. i kepp battling because i have a flock to tend.

jaed said...

And why does Neil imagine the opposition to sexist advertising as coming only from bluestockings, psalm singers and family focusers? Is feminism in such deep eclipse?

Am I really the only one to note that "bluestocking" means "feminist"? "Bluestockings, psalm-singers, and family focusers" is Neil's charming way of saying "feminists, Christians, and conservatives". He's saying that this ad is good because it disarms the possible criticisms of these three groups concerning a titty ad.

Synova said...

When I've seen bluestocking used I always thought it meant bookish. For feminist I'd expect suffragette.

Not that I ever gave it a lot of thought.

Gina said...

I knew that bluestocking referred to a female intellectual, but Wiki All-wise tells me the term comes from an 18th century women's society that advanced women's education.

Oh yes, by all means mock that.

I can only put myself in the shoes of a woman who's lost a breast or two to cancer, who might be already feeling that her sexiness and femininity is gone, and then sees this ad trumpeting that fact. The ends do not justify the means. In every other context, the media thinks that women's parts belong to men. In the medical arena, can we at least have them for ourselves?

Revenant said...

Of course we like boobs, but I honesty, don't think they are necessary for sexual attraction.

I would agree. But the lady in the PSA is definitely hot. :)

ethan said...

Althouse thinks her dumbfuck husband is gonna save her from the mean ol' trolls.

He's not.

Cunt.

Meade said...

If Obama were truly smart, he'd replace Biden with Dick Cheney.

kentuckyliz said...

Ethan, I am confused. You sound like you were criticizing Ann, then you compliment her by calling her a captivating and charming part of the female anatomy. ???

kentuckyliz said...

Thanks for explaining bluestocking and I read up on it on wikipedia (including the discussion tab). I actually would like to adopt that term as a mark of pride. I belong to a group of educated ladies who sponsor scholarships and going-to-college showers for bright but poor Appalachian young women, among other things. Our next event is Oct. 10, a science day for middle school girls, with an astronomy theme because it's the Year of Astronomy. If that's bluestocking, I am bluestocking.

Of course, being an aging intellectual woman, the bluestockings might refer to the increase in varicosity. LOL

kentuckyliz said...

Gina, you make an excellent point. How does this ad make a breast cancer survivor with a formerly magnificent rack? Thanks for saving my life, sorry it's unworthy of the male gaze any more, and thanks for reminding me of that fact.

Graeme said...

So no one Googled the event at all?

Boobyball was founded to support a 23 year old Toronto women battling cancer. The making of showed a variety of girls (of various bust sizes) considered for the major role. Heck the star's stand-in isn't very busty (but definitely spectacular).

This year's event is the 8th annual and has been growing spectacularly. Really amazing for a fundraiser aimed at young professionals.

As to who the star is - she's a VJ for MTV Canada, doing news hits and other VJ work. She's done a number of intros in bikinis previously.

To recap it's an event and a commercial run by women, for women. They're very 3rd wave and aren't targeting your typical benefit crowd.

None of this is very hard to find out. Ann et. al. are usually much better at finding out the backstory behind an issue. This is the internet, you have no excuse for not googling at least a little bit!

I've met some of the organizers out partying (just before BB#2). Haven't managed to go, but have meant to - it now sells out very quickly.

Graeme said...

As to the "jealous" girl - I saw her looking on appreciating the aesthetic or else desiring the star. Why does everyone assume that she's supposed to be fully straight?

I think 99% of the people here are just too old to understand the mindset of the people involved.