A quick click on the link showed ProjectBoobies.com was included in a group of large, well established, breast cancer clothing companies which made us feel good since we are just getting started in our efforts to make a difference. However, the story didn’t turn out to be positive and it was a bit disappointing that we didn’t receive a call from the writer or that she might not have reviewed our website since it appears some things have been taken out of context that we will address here.
First of all, we believe the topic of cause products, like breast cancer tees, is a great subject for news coverage/debate because many companies donate a very small percentage of profits to charity while touting their good deeds to fight their cause of choice. We don’t claim to be in the hearts of any company that donates a percentage of their work to charity because nobody is forced to do so. In the article, the author notes “Sassy retail campaigns have sprung up everywhere, purporting to “support the cause.”” In fact, this very topic was at the heart of how we decided to be different than other companies. While many organizations support breast cancer clothes by donating percentages of between 1-5 percent of total sales, Project Boobies will deliver up to 50 percent of total profits directly to cancer charities like Kokolulu Farms & Cancer Retreats – a cancer charity focused on the mental side of fighting cancer. I believe that Kokolulu would disagree that our efforts make “consumers feel good without actually doing anything meaningful” since Kokolulu helps cancer survivors win the mental battle with breast cancer.
Next, the author noted, “Project Boobies (the slogan on its T-shirts promoting self-exam reads, “I grab a feel so cancer can’t steal,” though the placement of its hot-pink handprints makes it virtually impossible for them to belong to the shirt’s wearer).” Unfortunately the author didn’t note that our slogan is meant to remind women to do their self checks nor note the hands are from our 14 year old daughter to make the point it is never too early to know your body – all clearly available on our website if anything was unclear. While we agree that it is impossible for the handprints to be shirt owners, it would also be impossible a design of the “self check” hand positioning to be the breast cancer shirt wearers so I don’t know the exact point that was attempted to be made here.
Much of the NY Times article covers the “sexualization” of breast cancer clothes and other items such as the I Heart Boobies bracelets. As noted earlier, the author used “Sassy” to describe us and on our communication, we’ve used “provocative” to describe our breast cancer tees. However, the goal of our logo is to reach those that might not otherwise “hear” warning of breast cancer. Anyone, whether or not they see ProjectBoobie.com breast cancer shirts, can find out that a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 3 minutes and someone dies every 13 minutes. However, that information probably isn’t going to resonate with a large portion of younger people who “know” they are invincible. They don’t need to be “told”, they need to have their attention grabbed and curiosity peaked so they visit our breast cancer information filled website, and “learn” on their own terms.
We have also found a very invigorated population of breast cancer survivors that like our shirts. Specifically, many breast cancer survivors in our lives and ones we’ve met through ProjectBoobies have “grabbed” being a breast cancer survivor with both hands, correctly positioned or not. They enthusiastically celebrate their victory over breast cancer and how they are even more attractive after their fight – breast reconstruction or not! These women are thankful for every moment they now have as mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and any other role they have and strongly advocate for self checks and mammograms like we do. While some might reasonable disagree, we fully embrace our “sassy” perspective even if we risk offending some.
Finally, the author ends her NY Times article with the following thoughts: “I hate to be a buzz kill, but breast cancer is just not sexy. It’s not ennobling. It’s not a feminine rite of passage. And, though it pains me to say it, it’s also not very much fun. I get that the irreverence is meant to combat crisis fatigue, the complacency brought on by the annual onslaught of pink, yet it similarly risks turning people cynical.” We unequivocally agree! However, our goal is to remind women to do their self checks and regular mammograms. We believe that CATCHING breast cancer early is sexy – life is sexy and beating breast cancer is sexy! It’s a different perspective (glass half full vs half empty) and one that should be openly debated. Early detection is very important for beating all cancers and we hope to remind people with our shirts that help is in your hands – self detection.
While we don’t have the NY Times audience to respond to their article, we still think it is important to make our goals clear. In reality, we are thankful the author wrote a thoughtful article that covered points on both sides since many are just emotional rants without intelligence – thank you Peggy Orenstein as we appreciate the respectful coverage of the topic.
Project Boobies raises funds to fight breast cancer through the sales of its breast cancer apparel online at www.projectboobies.com. For more information or to order, go to the Web site or call (888) 957-4678.