Answer – Boobs!
Disclaimer – Our obsession with boobs is a function of a misogynistic culture that condones violence against women. In other words, boobs and violence against women, from a societal viewpoint, are along the same continuum. Also I think breast cancer research and cancer research in general are immensely important. Just for the record.
I think we all know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Everywhere we go in October, we see loads of that female-designated thus breast cancer-designated color, pink. There are constant reminders of Breast Cancer and I’d guess people think about this issue far more in October than at any other point in the year. As breast cancer impacts many women, it is an important issue and one that should be addressed.
And yet October is the awareness month for another issue that primarily impacts women: Domestic Violence. I think it goes without saying that Domestic Violence Awareness Month is much less visible during October than Breast Cancer Awareness Month is. This despite the fact that 1 in 8 women are impacted by breast cancer and 1 in 4 women are impacted by domestic violence.
Even the NFL, that misogynistic industry, sports (pun intended) pink jerseys during the month of October. Oh, how sweet of them to invest in this issue. They must really care about the women in their lives. Except when they don’t. Oh wait, could it actually be that the NFL invests in this issue because breasts are sexualized and a misogynistic industry in a misogynistic society is going to value women only for sex? And then they invest in a cancer that impacts one of the most overly-sexualized parts of female anatomy, boobs? I think it’s the latter.
So with only about two months until October, the NFL decides to suspend Ray Rice for two games after he physically assaulted his fiancé until she was unconscious. Another player gets suspended for twice as many games for smoking weed. An ESPN panelist says DV survivors should learn not to provoke their batterers. The NFL, its commissioner and its cronies are driving home their point that they don’t care about women. They are not equal human beings worthy of respect. To me, the NFL is basically saying “we want to keep women healthy so we can enjoy their bodies.”
I was further flabbergasted when I read an article on The Nation by Dave Zirin who suggests that the NFL forgo their support of Breast Cancer Awareness and instead have a month dedicated to Violence Against Women and then he doesn’t even mention that there already is a Domestic Violence Awareness Month and holy sh-t it’s October too. No mention of this coincidence speaks volumes to the fact that the NFL’s misogyny is just one symptom of a misogynistic society. How is it possible that Dave Zirin, who has written about this subject before can write an article about the NFL, October and Breast Cancer and not mention October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month? Because society doesn’t care about women. So even when individuals care about women, they often aren’t aware of the big issues impacting women’s rights, like the fact that October is dedicated to awareness of domestic violence, an issue which disproportionately impacts women.
Or maybe Dave Zirin did know this and just didn’t mention it – which would be weird. Or maybe he really should have known that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month too and he really should have brought that up. Maybe he also really should have known better than to link traumatic brain injuries to violence against women, as he did in this most recent post of his. Neither injuries nor illnesses cause misogyny – rather, societal degradation of an entire gender does.
So this October remember Domestic Violence. Honor and support breast cancer awareness. But remember that supporting women means recognizing the misogyny inherent in society and that this is why a woman’s body is more important than her bodily integrity, her safety and her humanity.