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Breast Cancer Month — Substituting Crude for Creative Means No Class

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By Barbara Baird, Women’s Outdoor News

I don’t get easily offended. Not anymore. Not after raising three sons and living a military lifestyle that took us everywhere.

But I am disgusted during the month of October when people try to be oh-so-clever with breast cancer awareness campaigns that use edgy, vulgar and/or juvenile slogans. You know what I mean: using words like tatas, rack, boobs – all inserted in cutesy slogans that Madison Avenue feeds us. The type of phrases that 7th grade boys would wear on their bracelets because they can now get away with wearing the word “boob” in school. And many of our sisters in the outdoor industry hop on this roller coaster in the name of fun and games and fund raising. They substitute crudity for creativity.

Why does this bother me? Well for one thing, guess what? Men get breast cancer, too. Only about one percent of breast cancer occurs in men, but it still happens. Do we think less of a man who has to have a mastectomy than we do of a woman who has the same operation?

And, for another thing? I have friends who lost their breasts to cancer. Does that mean that makes any of them less of a “woman?” Does it mean that if a woman survives but doesn’t “save her tatas,” that there’s something less attractive about her because two lumps of fatty tissue are no longer protruding from her chest?

And yet another thing … I nursed my babies. That’s the original intent of breasts. So why do men have nipples? No clue. Don’t care. But, that’s why they’re there.

So “save the breast cancer slogans” and just don’t go there. I know, some of you are thinking, “But, Babbs … they are just using the breast to get to the real point – that women need to be vigilant about mammograms and health issues.”

There are little girls watching us, men and boys watching us and other women watching us … for crying out loud women in the industry. Forget about saving the tatas and think about saving grace and class and what’s refreshing about life. Think about what it means when impressionable little girls look at that trashy slogan splashed across your chest, or even worse, a guy’s chest.

And that’s one of the main reasons we love, and I mean love, Casting for Recovery. This fine non-profit hosts fly-fishing weekend retreats for women who are recovering from or who are experiencing breast cancer. The two-and-a-half day retreat offers fly-fishing instruction along with methods to gain self-esteem, make new friends and also provides a forum to broaden understanding about breast cancer treatment.

This philosophy falls within the line of thought of one of our favorite fishermen, Kathryn Maroun, who, along with her husband, established Casting for Recovery in Canada in 2004. Kathryn recently blogged about the importance of being a classy role model. She would never wear a set of antlers across her chest.

Let’s replace crude with “creative” and “classy.”