In the coming weeks, you will start to see everything from the sleeve on your coffee cup to the jerseys your wife-beating running backs wear in the National Football League turn a Pepto-Bismol shade of pink. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
You'll also start to see restaurant promotions that benefit breast cancer charities. These promotions typically offer to donate a portion of your cash to a breast cancer charity of their choice, which in theory is an excellent idea. Breast cancer is a terrible disease that kills millions of women each year. But restaurants don't always choose the best way to promote their support of cancer-fighting charities.
Next week, Norma's Cafe will host "Biscuits For Boobies," a fundraiser that benefits teams running the Susan G. Komen Race For The Cure, as they've been doing since at least 2010. Aside from the fact that no one over the age of 13 should be saying the word "boobies," there is something troubling in sexualizing a highly dangerous disease, which is what you do when you turn "breast cancer" into "boobies."
Norma's, obviously well-meaning, is hardly the only restaurant trying to show its philanthropy by trying to make the third most deadly disease for women in the United States sexy. Beauty Bar on Henderson hosted "Martinis, Manicures, and Mammaries" last night, to raise money for the Basser Center, an organization that researches a cure for cancers related to the BRCA gene. The punny-but-not-funny names go on and on, like Deep Ellum Brewing Company's "Cans For Cans" and Twin Peaks' "Save Second Base" campaigns. If previous years are any indication, we'll surely see more "save the ta-tas" and "help the hooters" promotions from local restaurants and bars as we head into October.
But we shouldn't. Whether or not these fundraisers are more successful than those that don't rely on the sexual prowess of
boobs tis cans bombs funbags breasts to encourage people to give, they have consequences for the people who are fighting the disease. Boobs may be sexy, but breast cancer is not. Objectifying breasts isn't exactly a great way to support breast cancer survivors, especially if those survivors aren't women, or have lost a breast during treatment. Breast cancer kills people, not just boobs.
And it's not as if it's impossible for restaurants to raise money for breast cancer research without the silly names. Even Hooters, not typically known for being a beacon of progressive feminism, manages to host yearly fundraisers that don't rely on boobs to make people give money to breast cancer charities. Maybe this year, Dallas restaurants can follow suit and offer diners a way to contribute toward a cure that doesn't involve objectifying women and their bodies.
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