Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Save the Wieners!

I was coming back from North Carolina and Duke University yesterday and noticed a number of men with a "Save the Ta-Tas" bumper sticker on their car. I've also noticed them around Knoxville. It's always a middle-aged guy. What the hell is that all about?

Why do men have a breast cancer bumper sticker for women with such a dumb slogan? Is it so they can talk about women's breasts in a socially acceptable manner? Is it to make women think they are for women's issues in order to get laid? Did some woman such as a wife or girlfriend stick it on their car? Or all of the above?

Apparently, "Save the Ta-Tas" is very popular--there is even a sock with the same slogan from someone called the "SockGuy."

If men are going to drive around with a save the Ta-Tas bumper sticker on their car, I am tempted to go to Cafe Press and make up a "Save the Wieners" bumper sticker for prostate cancer. After all, men's health problems could use some attention too.

Update: SayUncle: Maybe the opportunity to put something a little dirty on display that won’t cause shrieks of outrage?

49 Comments:

Blogger Will said...

Helen,

While I don't want to take away from the pain and anguish of breast cancer - I have to say that breast cancer awareness is becoming/has become a bit of a cult. I went to a Race for the Cure, and the amount of rallying, politics/propaganda, and "sisterhood" there was quite startling. If they had handed out rifles, I am sure that those women would have marched straight to the capital and demanded an even larger share of research dollars.

Guys whose women get caught up in that generally won't have a choice. If a stupid bumper sticker will give you a bit more peace, or maybe even a shot at a piece, on it goes!

-Will in Austin

9:11 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

How about Save The Schlongs?

If in doubt, go with alliteration.

Trey

9:14 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Larry J said...

Given all the attention and funding given to breast cancer research, I sometimes wonder if women suffering from uterian or ovarian cancer feel left out.

The fact is that there are many kinds of cancer out there, some of them more deadly than breast cancer. However, breast cancer gets singled out for special treatment. The number one killer of men and women is heart disease. It kills many times the number of people who die from breast cancer but gets only a fraction of the attention. It's strange and unfortunate when a particular disease gets politicized to the detriment of other worthwhile research.

9:36 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

I've never seen one on a man's car. I've seen many dozens on women's cars.

Just my observation from Southern California.

10:00 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

I must be a Southern thing, as I have yet to see a bumper sticker like that around here. Though I'm sure it will eventually happen.

10:01 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...

Trey,

Your slogan does sound more catchy!

10:21 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Mike said...

They have the bumper stickers on their cars for the simplest of reasons - their wives tell them to.

10:31 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

I agree with Mike, I bet these are married guys whose wives make fashion and PR decisions for the family.

A female friend of mine had a new offhand slogan, "Save Second Base." It's like they can only feel comfortable being part of the movement if there's something sexualized about it?

10:41 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Well, to offer another opinion, I have a friend whose mom died from breast cancer, as did his aunt. He has a sticker for understandable reasons.

And face it, breast cancer has the best spokeswomen.

Trey

11:00 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

This comment should be disclaimed that I don't want to take away from the horror of cancer for anybody.

"The fact is that there are many kinds of cancer out there, some of them more deadly than breast cancer."

I think this is actually part of why it gets so much attention...it's detectable and something you can do something about, so jockeying for awareness and research feels productive.

Compare to say pancreatic cancer, which is difficult to detect until it has progressed enough to be terminal (five-year survival rates are 5%), and research efforts are a long way off from producing tangible results.

It's also galvanized the women's health movement fused with feminism - health classes revel in teaching self exams as part of empowerment (although recent research is wondering if the hypochondriac false-positive phenomenon is worth it). After-school specials and 90210 feature cancer scares. Women have been rightfully taught to consider that anybody can get cancer. And then there's the fact that to certain people all of the fundraising and cheerleading is fun.

Nothing is really wrong with this, until it becomes a cult and you are a misogynist for not bowing to the altar of the mighty breast.

Meanwhile I was never taught jack about testicular self-exams until Lance Armstrong. And they peddle pretty lies about how "women's diseases" research is underfunded.

"The number one killer of men and women is heart disease. It kills many times the number of people who die from breast cancer but gets only a fraction of the attention."

Aside from the fact that the lifestyle changes required to stave off heart disease appear to be beyond the will of America writ large, I think there's a certain fatalism about heart disease. It's highly genetically-linked, and can strike quickly without real warning - our intrepid Dr Helen had a heart attack without even knowing it until later.

The personal and social changes to handle heart disease are upheavals we're just not interested in as a whole. As I said above, the feeling we can do something aboiut breast cancer is part of the reason there is so much attention.

"It's strange and unfortunate when a particular disease gets politicized to the detriment of other worthwhile research."

The breast itself is so linked with womanhood that I think breast cancer is irrevocably tied to the modern woman's threat matrix.
Although few people speak in public about how prostatectomy carries permanent neurologic impotence as a major risk.

11:01 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"Apparently, "Save the Ta-Tas" is very popular--there is even a sock with the same slogan from someone called the "SockGuy." "

I bet he's wearing the sock somewhere other than his foot ;)

11:01 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

Trey,

Yes, but Helen's question is why not just a ribbon - why a dumb, almost redneck slogan?

11:03 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Thor's Dad said...

Ok, given that its testicular cancer for men wouldn't "Save the Nuts" or "Save the testies" be more appropriate or for prostate cancer I recommend "Save the A**holes". Wait that one could be confused for supporting Liberals.

11:33 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger DADvocate said...

I'll go with Save the Schlongs too.

This is a sign of society's continuing effort to pander to women in every way. What broad public campaigns are out there that primarily draw attention to a problem facing males? Erectile dysfunction?

Even the YMCA is dominated by women. The YMCA in my area has all female full-time employees except maybe a male maintenace worker. I'm a member and see that most of the gender specific programs are for women.

11:34 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Lisa K said...

It's insulting to me as a woman! I don't have "ta-ta's"; I have breasts. It is breast cancer, not ta-ta cancer. Calling breasts "ta-ta's" caricatures women as nothing more than a sum of their body parts.

11:37 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:45 AM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Joseph said...

Dr. Helen, I dare you to make a "Save the Sack" bumper sticker and then hang these below it. LOL

12:37 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Oligonicella said...

Lisa, it's self-insulting, if anything. Projecting your belief about the "nothing more than" is just that, projection.

1:17 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

20% of the members of the Sierra Club are hunters and fisherpeople. The Sierra Club feels that although not all their members agree on everything the bulk of their membership agree on preserving forests and wildlife management areas, so they happily cash the checks from the hunters as well as the tree huggers.

The same can be said for women and men who appreciate ta-tas. Figure maybe 15% (I'm pulling a number out of the air) of men enjoy looking at breasts and calling them ta-tas, perhaps in a strip club environment. If the breast cancer prevention nonprofit money-raisers include the 15% of men with the 100% of women as potential financial donors then they could increase revenue. Perhaps it is just smart marketing.

1:36 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Tether said...

Lisa K parrots: "... caricatures women as nothing more than a sum of their body parts"

----

Straight from the women's studies playbook.

Lisa also claims that she's been oppressed for thousands of years as a woman, and she's only 23! (or ... [fill in the age]).

Here's the real deal with women and body parts:

Some women have nothing else to offer except sex, and sometimes they do quite well (think Heather Mills or Anne Nicole Smith). The comparable men are probably homeless or in jail. They have NOTHING to manipulate with if they have no work skills or brains.

But these women THEN complain that they are just seen as sex objects, as a collection of body parts.

Those specific women shouldn't be complaining, they should be rejoicing that they can still get millions of dollars without two functioning brain cells.

In any case, the objectification thing is part of the brainwashing set that nearly every college girl is filled with today. They don't question anything, they just parrot it back.

1:49 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Professor Hale said...

WhenI was in Iraq, our unit held a "save second base" run. but without any fundraising, it seemed kind of pointless. I think all four of the women on our camp were there.

1:56 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Aric said...

Coming from a family inundated with cancer, from breast to bladder and lymph to liver, I chuckled when I saw one of those stickers here in Minnesota. A little off color fun can be healing.

It doesn't have to "mean something."

2:42 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Francis W. Porretto said...

"If men are going to drive around with a save the Ta-Tas bumper sticker on their car, I am tempted to go to Cafe Press and make up a "Save the Wieners" bumper sticker for prostate cancer. After all, men's health problems could use some attention too."

What makes you think we'd be offended? Especially considering the number of lives -- and other things -- lost to prostate cancer every year.

5:06 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

First time I saw, "Save the Ta-Tas" was on a woman's Weblog. And I think on a woman's T-shirt. I haven't seen men doing the bumper stickers, but I'm sure that will change because it's fun and cute for us guys to say stuff like that. Also, my sister-in-law's word, "bazaabas" gets strange looks.

How about "Save the weiners" and a picture of cocktail weenies?

Or a brown ribbon for prostate awareness?

6:56 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Physics Geek said...

I've run in the Race for the Cure the last four years and the shirts I've seen with "Save the Ta-Tas" slogan are worn almost universally by women. What that says, I don't know, but I think that your opinion that this slogan is man-created is probably incorrect.

7:43 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Stormbringer said...

So, were the women wearing those T-shirts tittering?

Sorry. Had to.

7:45 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Sparks said...

http://www.savethetatas.com/

10:27 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Christopher said...

Most of the ta-ta sloganeering comes from women.

Part of me says if you're fighting and surviving breast cancer, you can say whatever you want to.

But we also just live in very crude times. Popular culture is a cesspool.

http://tinyurl.com/26ppfud

11:23 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

"Part of me says if you're fighting and surviving breast cancer, you can say whatever you want to."

I want to believe this too, but I believe we've given way too much leeway to any even remotely sympathetic figure in society today. If you're a teacher, single mom, family of a 9/11 victim, victim of a dumping, an adulterated spouse or SO, family of a deceased veteran (a la Cindy Sheehan), sexual assault victim or accuser, service industry worker, or a member of a minority group, you can demand - and get - a wide berth from even well-reasoned critics. You can get away with saying "YOU don't know what it's like so YOU can't comment on this issue!!!" Maureen Down will write a column saying "your moral authority is absolute."

(I first noticed this phenomenon whenever tipping came up in discussion, and former servers would refuse to allow debate because I didn't understand how much their job sucked and thus couldn't be justified leaving a small tip for crappy service.)

There are very few people with the guts to say "I sympathize with your struggle, but we need to consider this issue rationally and consider some other factors as well. We are not going to shape our entire response to an issue based solely on your getting a raw deal."

11:45 PM, June 15, 2010  
Blogger 萱祥 said...

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2:58 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger MinB2139 said...

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3:29 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger Erik said...

I always thought the "Save the Ta-tas" stickers were attempts by women to get men interested in breast cancer by appealing to prurient interest, ie., using the idea that men reduce women from whole people to their breasts. Using sexism *for* their issue, like rhetorical judo.

Of course, you've got to forget that the very idea is rooted in a sexist view of men. Anytime any group tries this sort of thing it ends up sending very mixed messages. And no surprise, given the mental and cultural gymnastics one has to go through to even invent such a slogan. I'm sure some men display it to get laid, some in order to burnish their feminist street cred, some because they were told to. The only thing I'm pretty sure about is that the last thing in most people's mind when displaying it is actually furthering breast cancer awareness.

8:12 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger Ern said...

I believe that "ta-tas" should always be preceded by the modifier "bodacious".

8:25 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger SWWBO said...

Saw the title of your blog post and was immediately concerned that dachshunds were suddenly endangered or something.

Thankfully, it's just a bunch of dicks.

(That was a joke, I'm not serious - I remember that many of Dr. Helen's commenters have no sense of humor)

8:45 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger campy said...

many of Dr. Helen's commenters have no sense of humor

SWWBO can see an example in the nearest mirror.

8:53 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

SWWBO's joke would be funnier is she wasn't such a troll.

9:11 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger Pete said...

In my opinion people who past these sexually suggestive bumper stickers on their cars are "boobs".

9:28 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger RebeccaH said...

Cancer is all very well (figuratively speaking), but where's the "Save the Ticker" campaign, since heart disease is an equal opportunity killer?

10:18 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger mec2dfw said...

Ugh, pet peeve of mine... more men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer, but the NFL has pink ribbons on their uniforms?

What?
The?
Eff?

There are pink buckets of chicken at KFC. It's EVERYWHERE, it's not a cause, it's a fad. Pretty sure heart disease kills more women than anything else, so where are the red ribbons? Breast Cancer research has transformed into something a little too mindlessly ubiquitous, with participation that seems borne out of a cliquish desire to be seen doing it, rather than the actual desire to achieve a cure.

11:46 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger Topher said...

DFW,

The NFL is just looking out for the players who have to cut checks to the mothers of their out of wedlock children.

I think MLB has pink bats on Mother's Day and blue stuff on Father's Day for prostrate cancer, so at least they are going for some balance.

The problem with this pink-ribbon thing is that it's going to burn out sooner or later, and then it's going to be harder to get up (pun intended?) enthusiasm for prostate cancer or some other serious cancer threat since everyone will be disillusioned and spent.

11:51 AM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger Cham said...

I wouldn't count out the funders from breast cancer research quite yet. Raising money for breast cancer research is not my thing, however, the people that do it have their act together more so than any other organization that I have seen. They've tapped into women's interests and women's organizations in ways the American Heart Association could only dream. They've used unique fund raising techniques and have recognized that women have the power to donate millions, if not billions, if approached the right way. Now breast cancer research is branching out and tapping into the entire sphere of potential givers.

Breast cancer fund raisers seem like nice people, I am sure if a group wanted to raise massive funds for prostate cancer research I bet they would be willing to share their techniques. They aren't a secret.

12:27 PM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger Timotheus said...

The "Save the TaTa's" movement was started by a young woman whose mother and grandmother were breast cancer survivors. To my knowledge, she hasn't explained why she choice the exact terminology she did.

12:50 PM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger Linda said...

We were riding the metro to the National Zoo as the crowds of SGK walk participants were headed home. By far the best team name shirts we saw said...

Save second base

10:36 PM, June 16, 2010  
Blogger unclejedi said...

There is a much better movement for Prosate Cancer Awareness called "Pints for Prostates"
http://www.pintsforprostates.org/
How can you go wrong drinking craft beer to raise awareness and money for prostate cancer research.

12:01 AM, June 17, 2010  
Blogger Mario said...

I never came across this slogan until I went to a fundraiser for a woman with breast cancer, and saw all of the women there happily purchasing t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc.

After that, I saw my manager at work -- a woman -- with a "Save the ta-tas" sticker on her cubicle.

Let me try putting up a "Save the family jewels" sticker in my cubicle to raise awareness for testicular cancer and see how long it takes human resources to have a talk with me.

You can get away with anything, if it's for the ladies.

7:56 AM, June 17, 2010  
Blogger By The Sword said...

Helen;

I agree that it's an idiotic slogan and makes the wearer look like an ass.

How about a shirt that says:" Ta-ta's are stupid. Throw rocks at them." ?

9:12 AM, June 17, 2010  
Blogger Stephen said...

I always thought the "save the ta-ta's" slogans were poking fun at the whole pink ribbon movement. You can't turn around without seeing a half dozen pink ribbons. The National Football League had a pink ribbon week last season. And if you say anything bad about (or less than 100% supportive of) the campaign, you're a chauvinist a-hole. I think "save the ta-ta's" is intended to be ironic, and the fact that some people wear them non-ironically tells you about them personally, not about the slogan.

6:31 PM, June 17, 2010  
Blogger ray_g said...

My sister had a terrible fight with a pretty aggressive type of breast cancer, and she won. She agrees with a poster above that the whole breast cancer awareness thing has gotten out of hand and is approaching a cult.

She also told me she hates the term "cancer survivor", it has too much of the victim mentality ring to it.

9:04 PM, June 17, 2010  
Blogger Locomotive Breath said...

It's something a guy's wife can make him put on his car without the other guys laughing at him for being completely kitty whipped.

All these women out marching for breast cancer awareness often have the free time to do so because there's some guy in an office slaving away to support them. On average, she'll outlive him by any number of years.

Maybe some of these otherwise unoccupied women could act not so completely self absorbed by occasionally worrying about the health of their husbands.

6:48 AM, June 18, 2010  

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