Do they not deserve love, too?
So, one of my major pet peeves is breast cancer marketing. Yes, research for cures and treatments against the disease is important, but the way it's commonly done is abhorrent and extremely irritating.
Sociological Images, my fave blog evah, has an old but spectacular post on this very subject. They question why breast cancer is emphasized, given the statistics:
According to the CDC (2005 seems to be the latest available data), cancer is not the leading cause of death. Heart disease is the leading cause of death. Granted, cancer is a close second. In 2005, 652,091 people died of heart disease and 559,312 died of cancer. But not breast cancer, all cancers. In 2005, 49,491 people died of breast cancer. More than 10 times as many people died of heart disease.
And, if you want to prioritize cancers, more people are diagnosed with prostate cancer than breast cancer (source) and more people die from lung cancer (159,292), colon, rectal, or anal cancer (53,252), and lymphoid/hematopoietic cancers (55,028) (source).
But then, we must consider the marketing angle:
Do we have less sympathy (and would, therefore, a similar marketing campaign be less effective) for lung cancer because we think that lung cancer patients are to blame for their own disease? Would we find colo-rectal-anal cancer-themed cream cheese somehow less appetizing? Or prostate cancer-themed gum? Do lymphoid and hematopoietic cancers affect parts of the body that are simply less iconic?
And then, of course, there's our cultural obsession with boobs, which as we all know are objects of the male gaze and exist for no other reason (see: breastfeeding freakouts). Also, see those appalling "save the tatas" shirts (shown in the linked post). Because, you know, saving boobs is much more important than saving actual women, what with their non-sexy thoughts and experiences and whatnot.
In this vein, I wish to start a march for the cure for colo-rectal-anal cancers, and I hope you all will join me. We will have cheesy cartoons of anuses and colons. We will make sure, when commissioning artists, to inappropriately sexualize them and unnecessarily gender them. Sure, we may not be as sexy as boobs, but since marketers know best these methods are guaranteed to work!