"Saving Second Base" Campaign Sexes Up Breast Cancer (Again)

Well, here's an event that inspires mixed emotions: on the one hand, Defy DC's benefit will raise money for breast cancer research, and it's being advertised with a photo of a woman of color. On the other hand, that woman is naked, and the event is called "Saving Second Base."

According to Defy's blog, the second annual "Saving Second Base" takes place tomorrow night at DC's Recess Nightclub, and "100 percent of proceeds will be donated to the Susan G Koman foundation." Defy is also selling pink t-shirts that read "Saving Second Base." But the poster lady for the event isn't wearing a shirt, and she's grabbing her breasts.

She's also black, and black women are more likely to die of breast cancer than white women are, probably because of poorer access to health care. What's more, this gap has been widening in recent years. So it's worthwhile for anyone who wants to raise breast cancer awareness to include images of black women, something the Komen Foundation recently did as well.

The woman in the Komen ad is also topless, but that's because she's getting a mammogram. The lady in the Defy ad, meanwhile, is sexualized — and that "second base" slogan isn't helping. "Sexy" breast cancer campaigns have gotten a lot of flak in recent years — Kate Dailey of the Daily Beast astutely pointed out that "campaigns that focus on the sexiness of breasts have the unintended effect of designating those breasts — not the women to whom they belong — as most worthy of saving." Sexed-up breast cancer campaigns also elide the fact that breast cancer treatment doesn't always save breasts, and that many women have mastectomies in order to give them a better shot at a cancer-free life. In an ideal world, radical surgeries wouldn't be necessary. But sometimes they are, and women of all races deserve health initiatives that focus on them, not just their boobs.

Saving Second Base Launch Event At Recess [DefyDC]