Thursday, October 8, 2009

Have We No More Shame?


This photo released by Save the Ta-tas shows one of their T-shirts. The company also has hats. The T-shirts proclaim everything from "caught you lookin' at my ta-tas" and "I love my big ta-tas" for women to "my girl has great ta-tas" and "save a life grope your wife" for men.

You know, I am all for raising awareness of the horrible disease, Breast Cancer. I have done many a fundraiser over the years, have worn the pink hat or shirt, have even been involved in some of the "walks". This, this is TOO MUCH!
What has happened in our society that we just don't have any shame anymore!
Let me quote from the Associated Press story:

LOS ANGELES — A woman in a skimpy white bikini sashays next to a swimming pool. Onlookers gawk, men's tongues roll and music blares in the background.
The camera zooms in slow motion to her jiggling chest as a message spreads across the screen: "You know you like them / Now it's time to save the boobs."

It may resemble a beer commercial, but it's really a public-service announcement for Toronto's annual Boobyball party to benefit the charity Rethink Breast Cancer, and it's gone viral, with more than 350,000 hits on YouTube. It's just one of the edgier ways awareness is being promoted among younger women during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"Generally, with people my age, who watch MTV, there's no association between the breast and breast cancer. They think the boobs in beer commercials are different," said MTV News Canada host Aliya-Jasmine Sovani, 27, who stars as the bikini-clad gal and wrote and co-directed the clip.

"But everyone uses sexy imagery for commercials," Sovani said. "I thought guys would watch it because they would watch it naturally, and girls would like the humor and irony ... We all like boobs, we all celebrate boobs, so let's save the boobs."

Similar messages are showing up on feisty T-shirt lines and at events aimed at younger women. According to leading breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure, about 5 percent of all breast cancer in the United States occurs in women younger than 40. Worldwide, about 465,000 women die from breast cancer each year.

Julia Fikse started her cheekily named T-shirt business Save the Ta-tas in 2004.

Her T-shirts proclaim "caught you lookin' at my ta-tas" and "I love my big ta-tas." Five percent of every sale goes to breast cancer research and awareness. About $340,000 dollars have been donated so far, Fikse said.

Men's involvement, noted Fikse, was paramount. Her company has T-shirts for men with slogans "my girl has great ta-tas" and "save a life, grope your wife."

"Men have an ability to take it into a sexual place very fast," Fikse said. "But you can turn an awkward, sexual conversation into something awesome about breast cancer awareness."

The tongue-in-cheek message makes a serious point, said Rethink Breast Cancer founder and executive director MJ DeCoteau: Information on breast cancer has been mostly directed toward older women.

"I remember grabbing a pamphlet with a 60-year-old woman on the cover. Another one had a dark shadowy woman facing the corner. It looked quite fearful," said DeCoteau, now 39. "Taking control of your breast health should be positive and upbeat."

Not everyone is comfortable with such boundary-pushing campaigns. Susan G. Komen for the Cure founder Nancy Brinker voiced reservations about using sexy imagery, though said she wouldn't discredit what anyone else does.

Sovani brushes off comments that her video may be inappropriate.

"Whether you love it or hate it, it gets people talking," she said. "Breast cancer is scary. We're not trying to take away from that. But preventing breast cancer doesn't have to be scary. If it's made to be scary, people don't want to check as much."

Ok, so we want MEN to stare at Women's chests now? One of the absolute worst things for a man to do, especially when he may want to remain as clean in his thought life as possible. Do men really need another reason to look? Do we not already as a society "sexualize" enough?
This offends me and I believe makes light of Breast Cancer Awareness.
I would love to hear from women on this story. Are you offended?

25 comments:

The Blunt Matt said...

I think the goal is to bring awareness and it appears to be working....

Bill's Waste of Air said...

We DO NOT need another reason to look at what we should not be looking at as men.
It is the continuation of the "dumbing down" of America.
There is nothing on Earth that Men struggle with more than making women sex objects. Men who want to remain clean in their minds, don't need to be told "look at my breasts".
If THIS raises awareness, then I think Susan G. Komen would be VERY discouraged just as the rep from the organization mentioned in the article.
Women are NOT sexual objects. They are precious and wonderful and I want to think of them that way. "Boobs" and "tatas" may make most guys laugh, but it's not RIGHT. This makes Bud Light commercials look fairly intelligent.

PipeRain said...

While I think its great that some ladies can retain a sense of humor in the face of such a terrible, life altering disease that strikes so close to home for them, I agree with your point. Ultimately I think it lowers those who wear such attire from being a Lady, to being a mere female.

The Blunt Matt said...

No matter how hard you try, Bill, I'm not sure we can get away from women being held as sex objects. I am in agreement that it needs to stop. My ultimate goal is to have them wear some kind of garment that will cover them head to toe with only eye slits for them to see where they are going--I'm still trying to come up with a name for such a garment. I wonder if this would help?

Christy F. said...

Yes, Bill. I can say, without a doubt, that I am offended. As a Christian woman, I already feel like far too much in our society is sexualized. My 14 year old daughter just started high school this year and she says that the X-rated talk among young teens goes on all day long at school. Young people already feel far too free to talk about subjects best left private. T-shirts that say such vulgar things in the name of breast cancer just take us to a new level of low. There are ways to put a positive spin on breast cancer awareness (the pink shirts are an excellent example). This is just more exploitation of women by other women. I agree with you!

PipeRain said...

At the end of the day, its a way for those with crass inclinations, be they male or female, to air those inclinations in the public venue in a manner that is far less offensive to those who support those inclinations than speaking out for elevating the level of discourse in the public square would be. Additionally, it lets companies that make pink T-Shirts bank a ton of money.

russ said...

Humor can be used to open discussion about potentially awkward topics. I've heard a radio commercial about men's health where the tag line was "Real men wear gowns" meaning they should not be afraid to get an examination. However, this crosses the line and smells of exploitation for personal profit. But, considering my belief that the pharmaceutical companies do the same thing, maybe it is inline with the America we live in today. Doesn't make it right.

Russ Parker

Bee said...

Yes Bill the shirts are offensive...it is about saving a life...my children do not think of me as ta tas, my grandchildren do see me as boobs. We as women do not want to be seen as vulgar names for my body parts. As women we strive to be seen as people. Cancer is a disease, it is not sexual, sexy or attractive...dumb down...yes...how sad for men as well as women.

Sunnyfunny said...

I think it is another excuse to put breasts on display. A woman walking around in a tight or revealing teeshirt is one thing, but when you emblazon it with a cause, it becomes something else. There are many foundations dedicated to support, education, and prevention of breast cancer and this one is not only demeaning, it is superfluous as well. Most women are well-educated on this subject and most people are well aware of it. This foundation isn't doing anything new or groundbreaking. They are making it frivolous, as if it is no longer about the disease.
Heart disease is still the number one killer of women in America, but I guess it isn't as sexy to encourage us to eat better and excercize.
That being said, if they are raising funds, good for them. Neither my husband nor I will be supporting this particular foundation, though.

psychobob said...

Oh boy! Another excuse to push sexuality to the forefront! Yay!
What will the PR campaign be for testicular cancer? "Save the [insert offensive nickname for the male genitalia]!"

I thought the NFL did an amazing job in bringing "awareness" of this disease without resorting to tasteless and shameless sexualizing.

Anonymous said...

I'm a breast cancer survivor and I am offended by this type of promotion. Same with the ongoing promotion in Salem with the Bra auction. Surely there is another way to fight this horrific disease with out cheapening ourselves.

Mystylplx said...

"What has happened in our society that we just don't have any shame anymore!"

Yes. Because shame is a good thing. Especially shame about things that are perfectly natural, normal, and (IMO) quite wonderful.

What we need is MORE shame! Women should be required to cover themselves from head to toe because that will prevent them from being "sex objects." Right?

Wrong. You will note that the more empowered women are, socially, economically, and politically, the LESS restrictive their requirements are concerning attire. It is judging women by what they wear (as you are doing) that makes them "objects."

It's perfectly natural for men to be attracted to womens physical nature, just as it's perfectly natural for women to be attracted to mens physical nature. The question is not whether that's true, but whether that's all there is.

And feeling comfortable with those truths, even acknowledging and joking about them, is perfectly HEALTHY. Feeling pointless and unnecessary shame about those truths is unhealthy and the very source of the objectification of women.

Bill's Waste of Air said...

misytplyx: Obviously you are not understanding what ALL of the women who have posted are saying, AND, you have missed MY point.
I don't need my eyes directed where they should not be.
You may be comfortable with guys staring at your breasts, but I think that is not acceptable behavior. I guess under your definition, the chicks at the stripper joint are "empowering" themselves? How about the hookers? Empowering? No, selling their souls for a buck.
Yes I am taking this to the extreme but that is how strongly I feel about it. Jesus said if you even LOOK AT A WOMEN WITH LUST YOU HAVE ALREADY COMMITTED ADULTERY.
I take that verse very seriously as a man.

Mystylplx said...

Mathew 5:28

The greek word used there was "epithumia," and it means "sinful desire." It's quite possible to look at a womans "ta ta's," and enjoy the feeling of attraction, without having any actual sinful desire. Haven't you ever enjoyed looking at a beautiful woman and enjoyed it, but without actually wanting to sleep with her?

And if the answer to that question is 'no' then it doesn't matter what women wear. At the beginning of the 20th century it was not uncommon for men to be titillated (no pun intended) by a glimpse of a womans ankle. It all depends on what you are used to.

Fundamentally you are responsible for your own sinful desires, and what women wear or don't wear will only have a temporary effect on those anyway. I grew up around the beach. Seeing girls in skimpy bikinis was just normal and didn't inspire any particular titillation. Someone who grew up under different circumstances might react differently, but again, that's his responsibility to control his own reactions, not the womans responsibility to dress in such a way to avoid inspiring male attention.

And like I said--even if women dress in Burkas men will feel sinful desires, or not, according to their own morality and sense of self.

Or to put it another way--don't blame the t-shirt.

Bill's Waste of Air said...

First just your own casual use of the descriptive word shows how little you think of women, and as for "Fundamentally you are responsible for your own sinful desires", well that is not a very good argument and opens up more cans of worms than I want to deal with so I will just leave it at what the women have posted here.
If you are so absolutely strong in your faith and ability to not be aroused by beautiful women and their body parts, (and wanting to sleep with them is not necessarily what I am talking about) more power to ya!
BUT, for the VAST majority of men it DOES cause them to lust, and God is very clear on His thoughts on lust, I will stick with keeping my eyes where they belong, on my wife.
You are also shifting the talk away from the fundamental issue, breast cancer. A life altering disease that is not funny, and this tee shirt business lowers these dear women from being ladies to being just female.

Anonymous said...

I like it! When women are lowered to the level of an object - rather then an equal human they have given up all femininity and have reduced themselves as just an object. It doesn't help men grow, it hinders them. Remember that true feminism believes in nurturing all life and it does not seek to destroy it.

Peg Demetris

Furio Giunta said...

I think that the younger generation (my generation) is so immune to obscenities, language, etc that you will find a lot of people not offended by this. They find it cool. Me personally, I'm not offended but I also don't think it's correct either. During testicular cancer awareness month I'm not running around with pants and a saying put on them like "Don't make me less of a man, save the jeuvos". Thats the best analogy I could come up with, but I'm sure you get the drift. Just because society accepts it does not make it right.

Mystylplx said...

You're still blaming your lust on what women wear. That's your problem right there. And pointing to what a few women have said on your blog is not even worth replying to. I'm sure I could find many more that would say the opposite, but I'm honest enough not to try to use that as an argument.

And BTW, if a guy wore a "Save the Nuts" t-shirt in an effort to get attention for fighting testicular cancer that would also not be offensive. Some have used some rather bizzare analogies in that direction that are not comparable to the t-shirts these women are wearing.

Shirley said...

This is vulgar and degrading of men and women. It is not "cool". It is just another excuse to make women into objects. This is not the right way to bring attention to a cruel disease. In reply to "Blunt Matt", So, the only alternative to being undignified is to wear covering from head to toe? What happened to having some dignity?

The Blunt Matt said...

Well, Shirley...If men need to force themselves to avoid sinful desires, then covering a woman from head to toe seems the only fitting way. Forcing your values onto others seems a worse idea. Maybe my idea of dignity is not the same as yours. I grew up learning not to be ashamed of the female body and to respect women. I don't get why anyone wants to split hairs here. No matter how bad you want it to happen, the sexualization in our society is not going away and the Victorian idea of hiding your body died many years ago...

psychobob said...

"The greek word used there was "epithumia," and it means "sinful desire."
Actually, ἐπιθυμέω simply means "desire" "lust" "crave" or "covet."
Jesus was not saying you could look at a woman with desire, just not "sinful" desire. He was saying that if you looked at a woman and felt desire for her, you have already committed adultery (μοιχεύω - lit. "sexual intercourse) with her. In this context, by the way, it isn't a quick or accidental glance. It is a prolonged look, a "careful observation" as the word can mean.
"Haven't you ever enjoyed looking at a beautiful woman and enjoyed it, but without actually wanting to sleep with her?"
A man who has looked at the sexual organs of a woman and not had sexual thoughts of her is more than likely a homosexual.
"Seeing girls in skimpy bikinis was just normal and didn't inspire any particular titillation."
There have been scientific studies of the brain that showed a chemical reaction to sexual stimuli. The more often the stimuli, the less effect. IOW, the brain gets used to the chemical's presence. That is why pornography is so insidious. The more you look, the more you need to look to get that "feeling." Many times, simply looking is no longer enough, and thoughts become actions. People may become used to all manner of undress (as in some European countries where tops are optional). Simply because a society is used to it does not make it right.
I think your argument that the women in cultures where attire is "LESS restrictive" are "more empowered" rings hollow. One need only watch Telemundo, then study the pernicious misogyny that accompanies the culture from which that television network emanates to see how dressing women immodestly affects how they are treated.
One could argue that women are treated much worse in the most restrictive cultures, but I would counter the attire restrictions (as well as the misogyny) are not a cause, but a result of the religious beliefs of those cultures.

Mystylplx said...

"A man who has looked at the sexual organs of a woman and not had sexual thoughts of her is more than likely a homosexual."

Spoken like a true horndog. Believe it or not, it's entirely possible to look at a woman, even a fully naked woman, and not feel lust. Maybe she's just not your type. Maybe you're just not in the mood. And/or maybe the context of the situation is simply not of a sexual nature. Generally speaking it's only men who are sexually starved that can't look at a woman without feeling lust.

"People may become used to all manner of undress (as in some European countries where tops are optional). Simply because a society is used to it does not make it right."

Doesn't make it wrong either.

The studies you spoke of show why it's a good thing to not have strict rules about women covering themselves. It's only when it's forbidden that it holds such a 'charge' around it. That 'charge' is what leads to things like rape. In fact there's a clear negative correlation between pornography and rape.

http://www.cybercollege.com/sexrsh.htm

Take away the forbidden nature and men become less tense and needy about it. It's when it's seen as a shameful and forbidden secret that some men become unnaturally obsessed with it. A certain amount of sex drive is perfectly natural and normal, but when that drive is repressed it only becomes stronger. Letting the pressure out a little at a time prevents a full scale explosion later on.

Mystylplx said...

And BTW, though it's interesting this discussion got onto pornography (you brought it up) let's remember that what we are talking about here is women wearing tee-shirts that say "Save the ta-ta's" in an effort to bring attention to breast cancer, and how some people find that "shameful."

It's pretty sad and even scary that some people are so repressed and full of shame that they find something shameful in something so innocent and positive.

psychobob said...

"Spoken like a true horndog. Believe it or not, it's entirely possible to look at a woman, even a fully naked woman, and not feel lust."
I didn't say it was impossible. I just said he is probably homosexual. I'm simply being brutally honest. I've spent enough time in the locker room to know that ALL heterosexual men have sexual thoughts when they look at a woman's sexual organs.

"Take away the forbidden nature and men become less tense and needy about it. It's when it's seen as a shameful and forbidden secret that some men become unnaturally obsessed with it. A certain amount of sex drive is perfectly natural and normal, but when that drive is repressed it only becomes stronger. Letting the pressure out a little at a time prevents a full scale explosion later on."
I disagree. Sexuality within the confines of the marital relationship is a beautiful and healthy thing. Bringing that sacred relationship into full public view destroys its beauty. The sacred becomes the profane.
"It's pretty sad and even scary that some people are so repressed and full of shame that they find something shameful in something so innocent and positive."
With an equally dismissive attitude, I would say it is sad and even pretty scary that some people are so flippant about what should be the most intimate parts of our bodies, parts that are meant only for the enjoyment of our spouses.

Mystylplx said...

"I didn't say it was impossible. I just said he is probably homosexual. I'm simply being brutally honest. I've spent enough time in the locker room to know that ALL heterosexual men have sexual thoughts when they look at a woman's sexual organs."

OK, spoken like a brutally honest horndog who's basis for judging reality is locker room talk. In case you didn't know there's a lot of blustering and bluffing and macho preening that goes on in locker rooms. If you really think what's said in there is real that's a part of your problem.

As for the rest, no ones talking about having sex outside the marital relationship. But if you think it's reasonable, or even possible, to go through life with our eyes shut and never even notice other women that is unrealistic and unhealthy. That road leads to those Burkhas previously mentioned in another comment. Either that or complete sexual segregation.

Actually, even those two extreme measures won't work. It certainly isn't going to work to ask women not to wear tee-shirts that say "save the ta-ta's." Anyone who finds such tee-shirts inspiring uncontrollable lust has a serious problem and should not be blaming the women or the tee-shirts.