Accusing Marks and Spencers and Breast Cancer Now of ‘sexualising’ breast cancer in their social media charity campaign initiative #Showyourbrastrap, many breast cancer survivors have started an alternate campaign #Showyourscar campaign.
The multinational retail store had started the campaign on Twitter, on September 29 to raise money for charity “Breast Cancer Now”. It asked women to post selfies showing their bra straps and also donate £3 towards research.
M&S’s campaign was supported by some celebrities like model Rosie Huntington- Whiteley and Maisie Williams and Alesha Dixon of Game of Thrones.
Cancer survivors’ who criticised M&S’s campaign claimed is that many women do not wear brassieres after having mastectomy.
Daily Mail quoted 31-year-old Kim Feast saying, “Even men are affected and none of them have bra straps to show.”
Charlette Short, who is currently fighting stage 4a breast cancer, was quoted by Daily Mail saying, “I’d like to see more in the way of educating people on the signs of breast cancer and what to look out for, not just pictures of beautiful women who still have both their bosoms.”
Speaking to doctors, Asian Age quoted Dr Vijay Anand Reddy, director of Apollo Cancer Hospital saying, “Having models and people on board, who have never experienced the trauma of cancer and having a selfie campaign online is trivialising a serious issue. For survivors, it’s even embarrassing as scars from cancer are more than just physical and people take time to recover emotionally.”
Uma Rao, a Bharatanatyam dancer, who has undergone chemotherapy and mastectomy herself, expressed her dismay over the campaign started by M&S.
“Women haven’t been portrayed aesthetically in most Indian ads, and I feel campaigns like these will instigate people wrongly,” said Uma Rao to Deccan Chronicle.
“I would say this rally made sense if pictures were published in women-centric magazines or on breast cancer awareness blogs, instead of a social platform like Twitter or Facebook. Right now, it just seems like an insult to us cancer survivors because people don’t understand the physical and emotional pain we go through while getting treatment,” she said.