No one invented the breast-cancer awareness "I Love Boobies" campaign because they thought it would fly under the radar. And at some schools, it's become controversial indeed.
Says the Fresno Bee,
Among districts banning the bracelets is Clovis Unified. District officials realize that the $4 bracelets are part of a fundraising and awareness program about breast cancer promoted by mainstream groups like the American Cancer Society, spokeswoman Kelly Avants said. But the district, which still allows students to wear "Live Strong" and "Just Say No To Drugs" bracelets, has a dress code that prohibits "any jewelry that contains any sexually suggestive language or pictures," she said.
Other schools, inclduing Fresno, backed down and returned the bracelets after kids "explained" their meaning. It should be said, these bracelets aren't the most discreet: we're not talking some embossed, monochromatic lettering here, but large, easily legible print. The sales go towards local support programs, and have been brisk. And yes, this campaign is deliberately "targeting teen years and college ages so that they can empower themselves to be advocates for their own bodies," said Charaign Sesock, an American Cancer Society spokeswoman.
A guy quoted in the piece whose store sells the bracelets is equally impassioned. "Even if they are taking it as a joke, it's starting a conversation. To pretend or push away an issue doesn't make it go away," he says.
Which, really, is a bit of a straw man. These schools aren't, presumably, anti-cancer-awareness; they're opposed to a deliberately cheeky, arguably problematic marketing ploy specifically designed to appeal to teens. And if such bracelets are disturbing class — or starting "conversations" with a different bent entirely — surely it's within the school's purview to ban them without looking like bad guys. After all, if the message is that powerful, so's the double-entendre's other meaning, and that's the kind of thing that can degrade an atmosphere — fast. Leaving aside the question of whether breast cancer awareness needs to be "sexy," PETA's been using the "awareness at all costs" argument for years, and we still don't buy it. "To be credible, we need to use the correct terminology," says Sharon Johnson, executive director for the Central Valley Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, carefully. And it's pretty disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
Breast Cancer Bracelets Divide Valley Schools [Fresno Bee]