The only thing Susan G. Koman won’t slap its name on is actual breasts

By Kay Steiger
Thursday, October 4, 2012 16:15 EDT
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The kind of photo that gerally accompanies breast cancer awareness campaigns (Shutterstock)
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The Susan G. Komen Foundation rejected an offer on Thursday from Pornhub.com of donating a penny for every 30 views of “Big Tits” or “Small Tits” videos viewed on its site, according to a press release published at New York Magazine‘s The Cut.

In a way, this couldn’t be more perfect. A porn website, which disproportionately cares more about breasts than the women attached to them, is donating money to an organization that has been accused over and over of doing the same. Komen, you’ll remember, is dedicated to the cause of breast cancer “awareness.” And all too often, their advertisements feature “save the breasts”-style advertising with headless women, indicating the boobs are the things that need saving rather than the actual women they are attached to.

Look, I’m not anti-porn or anything, though I do take issue with Pornhub.com particular brand of porn that privileges male pleasure over female safety, satisfaction or enjoyment. But mainly, it’s doubtful that they would have ended up putting much toward the cause. At a penny for every 30 views, they’d only raised about $3,000 according to the “boob video” counter on their website as of this writing. So, uh, thanks, Pornhub.com for your crappy offer of a small donation to a bullshit cause.

In fact, most of the ‘breast cancer’ products donate nominal percentages of the profits of the sales to the Susan G. Koman Foundation, which turns around and uses the money more to promote its own 5Ks and other “awareness” strategies than cure- or care-focused research. And the Komen Foundation’s CEO is estimated to make a salary of nearly half a million dollars.

Samantha King argued in her 2008 book, Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy, argues that while the pink ribbon branding has been incredible, it overwhelms any serious efforts at treatment, research or prevention of breast cancer. And during October, designated breast cancer awareness month, it’s hard to escape the endless array of products that are willing to tout the cause for some extra profits.

Breast cancer “awareness” is big business for Komen but less lucrative for those who actually do the work of trying to prevent it.

And just in case you forgot, the Susan G. Koman Foundation is the same organization reportedly threatened in January to pull an estimated $680,000 in funding designated for breast cancer screenings for low-income women from Planned Parenthood on the grounds it was being investigated by anti-choice Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) for bogus claims that the organization might be “co-mingling of federal dollars in programs that fund abortions.”

The move launched a massive outcry against the organization, prompting the resignation of Komen’s vice president of public policy Karen Handel, who continued to grind her ideological axe against the women’s health organization in her recently released book, Planned Bullyhood. The Komen Foundation eventually restored its funding to Planned Parenthood, but it continues the marketing campaign, slapping pink ribbons on anything that companies are willing to sell.

Well, except for actual breasts, that is.

[The kind of photo that generally accompanies breast cancer awareness campaigns via Shutterstock]

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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