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Breast Cancer

Why I Hate Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Dear Breast Cancer:

I am aware. It’s not because of the extremely effective marketing, with the pink ribbon campaigns. It’s because I lived in your house, and you lived in mine.

What would Ida Cohen Rosenthal think of your bra as a symbol for breast cancer awareness?

Today I got a curious message titled "Breast Cancer Awareness" in my inbox on Facebook.  It instructed me to update my status to say the color of my bra, and asked me to spread the word to my lady friends only. It struck me as an odd way to show support for breast cancer awareness, but I decided to play along. 

Throughout the day, I saw the number of status updates reading simply "black" or "hot pink" increase throughout the day, accompanied by comments by confused and frustrated male friends asking, "What does it mean???"  I was pretty surprised to see how quickly the message spread throughout the Facebook universe.  (Behold the power of social media!)

And as this was happening, and will continue to happen, I couldn't help but wonder what Ida Cohen Rosenthal -- co-founder of Maidenform -- would think of the fact that the bra is quickly becoming a symbol of breast cancer awareness.

Save the ta-tas?

"Boobs, boobies, titties, and ta-tas."  These are not the words of a giggling 6 year-old, but the words of the nationwide Breast Cancer awareness campaign.  They are illustrated by the t-shirt to the right, and a variety of other oh-so-tasteful designs. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and this year, campaigns have ditched the emotional appeals to save the lives of the women in your life in favor of misogynistic slogans like, "Save the titties!" and "Save Second Base!"

 

Battling breast cancer on Capitol Hill

Until this week, I knew of Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla) as a fellow Jewess with Attitude who had campaigned tirelessly for the creation of Jewish American Heritage Month and effectively raised funds for the Democratic Party. Now I know that she is also part of a sisterhood of Jewish breast cancer survivors and activists.

Jacqueline Susann

During the remaining twelve years of her life, Jacqueline Susann went from failed actress to the richest self-made woman in America, and the first to have three New York Times number one best-sellers in a row.

Health Activism, American Feminist

American women have been the “perennial health care reformers.” According to Carol Weisman, professor of Health Policy at the University of Michigan School of Public Health: “Activism around women’s health has tended to occur in waves and to coincide with other social reform movements, including peaks in the women’s rights movements.” At all of those pivotal moments, Jewish women have played central roles.

Happy 50th birthday, Barbie

I have to admit that I didn't grow up with Barbies. Born to a feminist mom in the 1970s, I only had Skipper, Barbie's flat-chested cousin. But as much as Barbie's boobs kind of frightened me (and still do), Skipper just didn't have her charisma.

Rose Kushner

Born on June 22, 1929, in East Baltimore, MD, Rose Kushner was the fourth and last child of Israel and Fannie Rehert. Her parents, both Eastern European immigrants, died by the time she was ten, and Rose went to live in the house of her aunt Golde. She was raised speaking Yiddish at home, and attended Hebrew School as well as classes at the Workmen’s Circle. Rose was an eager, bright student and hoped to attend college and ultimately become a physician, but since her older brothers were not willing to pay for her tuition, she went to work after graduating from high school. After briefly holding several office jobs, she became the assistant to animal behaviorist Dr. Horsley Gantt (1892–1980) at the Pavlovian Laboratory of Johns Hopkins Medical School, where she worked from 1947 until 1951.

Patricia Barr

An “out-liar,” as she called herself, Barr was an activist in multiple worlds: breast cancer, feminism, Judaism, education and the Israeli peace movement.

Breast Cancer Awareness: Overseas, At Home, and in Jewish Communities

I recently returned from Uganda where I spent three months volunteering with a health rights organization. Next door to the NGO at which volunteered is the UgandaWomen's Cancer Support Organization (UWOCASO) run by a small, courageousgroup of breast, cervical, and ovarian cancer survivors.

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How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Breast Cancer." (Viewed on August 29, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/breast-cancer>.

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