Three Examples of Rape Culture in Nice Guy(tm) Breast Cancer Activism

I thought the BoobyWall was objectifying and tacky. I thought “Save the Ta-Tas” was dehumanising, and missed the point badly. I thought the “every mouthful” nipple-water-bottles were eyeroll-worthy. I thought that instructing us that if only cismen had boobs, they’d look after them better was disparaging and rude. I thought “Save Second Base” was creepy, and Bringing Breast Awareness Back Into the Workplace was creepier.

It gets worse. A lot worse. A Sociological Images commenter spotted this twelve-dollar “Breast Cancer Awareness” T-shirt being sold on campus (here’s the flyer)

check them or I will

The logo has a series of colloquial names for breasts in the shape of a ribbon – “breast boobs ta-tas fun bags honkers melons jugs dirty pillows rack headlights chi-chis the girls cans zonkers knockers”. The caption reads:

No matter what you call them, check them … or I will!

Seriously. The wearer of this shirt is quite willing to walk around proclaiming that he will sexually assault you if you don’t “check” your breasts.

I poked around for other examples and found this:

check them or I will  black t shirt

A black T-shirt says in hot pink text on the front

“I {heart} BOOBS”.

The heart has a ribbon shape superimposed on it. The back of the T-shirt reads:

“You Check Them OR I WILL! Breast Cancer Awareness”

with more pink ribbons.

But wait- there’s more. “Funny Cancer Shirts” brings us this:

mcfeely check them or I will

A white hoodie has a line drawing of a creepy-looking bloke’s head, and a raised open hand. A pink ribbon lies in the background of the text, saying:

Mr McFeely says…

Check Them, or I Will!

Do you feel safer yet? Oh, but this is hilarious, right? Because no-one ever ACTUALLY touches breasts against their owner’s will! See? It’s SATIRICAL. Don’t you get it? The threat is just a JOKE! Lighten up, chicks! God, you’re so SERIOUS.

Douchebags, stay the fuck out of my health, my activism, my breasts. Really. Go get a new cause, and while you’re at it, just stay the fuck away from women altogether.

Categories: gender & feminism, health, violence

Tags: , , , , , , ,

14 replies

  1. Oh, that’s truly horrible. Threat of sexual assault AND the idea that women are not responsible enough to look after their own bodies, but must be forced to act correctly by men (or the men will do it for them, ha ha ha). That’s NEVER happened in real life!

  2. *blink*
    That’s such a huge fail. I also hate that 1950’s face that’s on all those ‘edgy’ shirts. Because we all know that referencing almost 60 years ago while taking about a women’s health issue totally shows a lack of understanding about anything.
    But it’s edgy, right? Right? Blech.

  3. Oh I see why that’s funny – they’re using cancer as an excuse for sexual assault. Comedy gold, that.

  4. What is this I don’t even–SERIOUSLY. Who thinks threats of sexual assault are flippin hilarious and a great way to show solidarity!?!

  5. Graaaaaaarrrrrrgh.

  6. How about a counter-t-shirt which reads, “Check my breasts against my will and I will CHECK-MATE your balls.”

  7. I think we’ve had shirts like that distributed on my campus before, possibly for multiple years (though not this year). I’ll have to check. Unfortunately, here, very few people would even understand what was objectionable about them, but it’s still worth an email to make sure they won’t give them out next year either.

  8. Umm…. hyperbole? Are you actually suggesting that these shirts have a correlative or causative effect on sexual assaults? This is just mind-numbingly dumb.
    [Methinks you need to do some reading on the basics of the concept of ‘rape culture’, seeing as you obviously don’t understand it at all ~moderator]

  9. I thought that the reason breast cancer was bad was because of potential for death.
    I mean, I know it’s not good for a woman’s self esteem (probably because of our culture) for her to lose her breasts, but, really, just boiling it down to “oh, noes, boobies” is really demeaning and objectifying.


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