Why is Breast Cancer not Scary?

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This is a nice little post from my favorite atheist blog.

Blag Hag: I like it to actually have a point.

First, I’ll copy a point I really liked from this blog post.

Our society needs to stop treating women’s sexuality like it’s only acceptable when used as a tool or in jest. It’s just as sad that women are perpetuating it. They’re effectively saying “This is funny because I would never actually talk openly about my sexual preferences, or even admit to being sexual, and I like confusing guys so they’ll give me attention!…” Cut it out, ladies.

Too many feminists don’t recognize the harmful effects of the way many women use their sexuality to manipulate or play jokes on men… especially since it’s the guys who respect women who are most vulnerable to this, so I had to copy this and say thanks.


The other interesting and rather unrelated note about this article is that it’s all a discussion about a campaign to make women aware that they should get breast exams, and whether or not this campaign is effective. Sure, they’re looking for donations as well, but the real issue is “breast cancer awareness.”

I feel like we should take a step back and just recognize how ridiculous this is that we need these kind of awareness campaigns compared to other things that we’re concerned about in society. What if we needed to have these kind of campaigns to warn people to lock their doors because there might be burglars out there, or remind them to look both ways before crossing the street. I haven’t actually checked any statistics, but I have a feeling that breast cancer probably kills more people than terrorism, but we don’t need any kind of Facebook campaign to remind us that terrorists exist. (I just checked one site and noticed that breast cancer actually killed 40,000 women in 2006 in the United States. Close to the same as the total people who die on highways each year, and according to crime statistics, more than double the number of people who were murdered.)

So I just wonder, what’s the difference with breast cancer? Is it because it happens somewhere sexual that we don’t like to talk about? Is it because it happens to women more than men? Is it because health-care is such big-business and they’re motivated to keep people sick by keeping them unaware? Is it because it’s not exciting the way burglary or terrorism is so it never gets media coverage and people never have that immediate sense of danger until it’s too late?

Honestly, I think it’s that last point, if I had to guess. I think the other three are factors, but breast cancer, other than the fact that it’s an excuse to talk about boobies, is really pretty boring, so nobody cares until it happens to someone they know.

So this brings me to a couple points I have, one about atheism, and one about anarchism. First, I think that the concept of faith plays a big part in this phenomenon of only being scared of things that are exciting, because people of faith tend to rely on their emotions–what they may interpret as ‘spirits’ or ‘God’–instead of looking toward real-world statistics to decide what they should be afraid of.

My anarchistic (or maybe socialist, I’m not sure) point is about the media, of course, and their decision to neglect issues like breast cancer while focusing on petty crimes, balloon boys and the sex lives of sports stars. If they didn’t have money to overshadow all their other decisions, I believe the media would be focused on supporting our community instead of on profit.

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