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All in the Name of ‘Breast Cancer Awareness

ted a mouse mat featuring a photograph of a pair of perfect breasts to all internet cafés in Hong Kong.

While the importance of fundraising for breast cancer causes cannot be taken lightly with around 41,700 women in Britain being afflicted with the disease each year, and killing about 12,400. However the question arises as to whether getting women to expose their breasts really the best approach to fundraising, or to raising awareness?

American commentator Barbara Ehrenreich, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2000, has come down heavily over the infantilization and feminization of the disease - the pink products, the teddy bears. According to her the sexualization of the disease is also pernicious.

Of course to its advantage it attracts many celebrity supporters. However, research has shown that comprehension of the disease among the most severely affected group, older women, is much lower than it should be. This situation can be mostly attributed to most of the "faces" of the disease being in their twenties and thirties.

According to Robyn Pollman, the Florida-based founder of the Boobie-Thon, "sending a message that 'if our breasts are worth looking at, they're worth saving' is very empowering". Somehow inadvertently, she gets to the crux of the matter that part of the reason why breast cancer attracts more attention than other causes is that our culture does value women's breasts apparently more than the value it places on women in general.

Although raising money for breast cancer research is hugely important, surely more interesting, more inventive and less harmful ways can be found to raise a buck.
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