Saturday, April 18, 2009

Objectifying women and promoting assault is never okay

I discovered Save the Ta-Tas when writing this post, and the campaign has been deeply troubling to me ever since. At first, when I discovered the website, I thought that Save the Ta-Tas was a sort of cultural event that I had been slow to catch onto. But many of my friends had never heard of it before, either, so I want to address the issues it presents in case some of our other readers are unaware.

Save the Ta-Tas sells t-shirts and other accessories to raise awareness of breast cancer and raise money for research. The problem, as is evidenced by the name of the campaign, is that in order to do the good work of raising money and awareness, Save the Ta-Tas relies on objectification of women and other more horrifying tactics.

Yes, refering to breasts as ta-tas is going to attract a lot of attention, and going the "funny" route might be likely to generate more quick revenue than other advertising ideas. But if you have to turn to sexism to generate money, can you really claim to be doing a service for the cause? I think not.

The entire campaign is based around objectifying women, turning them into nothing more than their breasts (ta-tas). Why do we need to raise money for breast cancer research? Because cancer is a long and difficult battle that no one should have to deal with? Well, no. From the looks of this website, we need to raise money for breast cancer research because breast cancer hurts ta-tas, and "Ta-tas Are Awesome." This objectification by focusing solely on breasts is also illustrated by the "Caught you lookin' at my ta-tas" t-shirt.

Then there's the disturbing trend in this campaign of promoting violence against women and their breasts. For example, there are several disturbing onesies for babies that have text reading, "Gimme your ta-tas and no one gets hurt," and "Be vewy vewy quiet I'm hunting ta-tas."

Both of these particular onesies are baffling and very troublesome. They promote the idea that women's bodies belong to others who can demand them for themselves and even "hunt" them. It's esepcially disturbing considering these are on garments meant for infants. Yeah, I know, there are other connotations, but these aren't even cute. They're frightening.

Then there's the idea of disembodied breasts fighting each other ("My ta-tas could beat up your ta-tas") which not only pointlessly brings up violence (this time woman v. woman or breast v. breast) but seems counterproductive to the idea of breast cancer research. We're supposed to be battling cancer with these shirts, I thought. Not other women's body parts.

Then there's the most disturbing example of promoting violence against women on the entire site. The "Save a life grope your wife" t-shirt leaves nothing to the imagination. It tells the reader that by groping (aka assaulting) their wife, they're actually doing her a favor. And that's a damn lie. An anonymous commenter on my Mad Housewife post said that she had survived breast cancer after her husband found her lump. In response to that comment I said that the t-shirt (image below) only had its wording to go on to spread its message, which leads me to believe that because the word "grope" was chosen (which means assault) that it is assault they are promoting, not consensual touching that happens to lead to the discovery of a lump.

And that's not okay. Ever.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Grope" does not mean "assault". At all.

It means "to feel about with ones hands".

The fact that you assume that slogan means "assault your wife" is more telling about YOU, than it is about the slogan.