First, the bad news.
Get a load of this poster, photographed by DC blogger/photographer techne at a Washington DC bus hut. The poster features a faceless young woman’s body, its physique of porn-approved dimensions, clothed in what is popularly referred to by today’s hip young sensitivos as a ‘wifebeater’ undershirt. On the undershirt in large print are the words “PUNCH IT STRANGLE IT KICK IT SPIT ON IT CHOKE IT AND PUMMEL IT UNTIL IT’S GOOD AND DEAD.” It’s the new “Girls Gone Dead” video, right?
Wrong. It’s an ad campaign for the Komen Foundation, dum-dum! Look at the tiny, tiny print. They’re Exploiting for the Cure.
Komen, it can’t have escaped your eagle eye, is the author of those asinine, pink-visored “Race For The Cures,” as well as that most pernicious arm of the megatheocorporatocracy responsible for turning breast cancer — which used to be a vile disease that kills people but is now a sweet little personal struggle that gives middle aged white women the golden opportunity to grow — into branded “awareness.” Breast Cancer Awareness the Brand, with its army of unpaid pink volunterrorists, sells, with unprecedented success, everything from cars to football to potato chips. All, remarkably, without making the slightest dent in breast cancer deaths.
Thus it is through the narrowed eye of resigned cynicism that I view this pornalicious poster: the chest-o-centric pose, the decapitation, the mood lighting, and of course, the snuff film script. Komen stops at nothing, for hundreds of corporations rely on pinkribbonnity to wholesomize their tarnished public images every October during Breast Cancer Shill Month.
Behold the actual sexiness of unpornulated breast cancer ‘survivorship’. It would sell exactly zero potato chips.
I am unenlightened as to the degree to which the excellent techne is familiar with Komen’s misogynist underpinnings; even if she is like most Americans and views Komen as benign, she’s approprately sickened by this explicitly brazen manifestation of the true status of women in American society. It is not without wry indignation that techne remarks “Gee I know! Let’s raise awareness of breast cancer research by putting a violent message on a headless female torso!”
Techne, it turns out, dropped a line to DCist to publicly proclaim her disgust. Her email was published. Like every first commenter on every pop culture City-ist blog, the first commenter on the DCist post was a dude named Todd. Todd declared — not astonishingly, since misogyny is an invisible given in pop culture — that techne has “missed the intent” of the ad, which intent, he wildly surmised in the face of some rather damning evidence to the contrary, is to “stop cancer and not advertise toothpaste so I’d cut them some slack.”
Thus we see how beautifully Komen has succeeded in twisting the tiny brains of America’s Todds into accepting that as long as one seems to be “stopping cancer,” no pink potato chip bag or misogynist image is too revolting.
I might as well point out, while reiterating that Komen does not “stop” cancer, that even if the “intent” of this ad campaign were given the benefit of the doubt, its purported attempt to focus public anger on cancer itself, as though the disease were some cunning, adversarial arch-villain rather than clumps of insensible, indifferent mutant cells, is bogus misdirection. If there is going to be anger, it really ought to be directed at the true culprit: the megatheocorporatocracy which has loosed all these mutation-causing agents into the ecosphere in the first place.
Don’t touch that dial; I’ll get to the good news right after lunch.
[Gracias r b]