Friday, September 3, 2010

"I love boobies." Do you?

"I love boobies." The phrase makes my inner middle-schooler giggle.

All giggles aside, I am referring to a new trend sweeping California. In addition, the trend is for a really great cause; breast cancer awareness. The Carlsbad based nonprofit Keep A Breast decided the best way increase awareness among teens was to start producing rubber bracelets similar to the Lance Armstrong bracelets. The bracelets are bright pink (or pretty much any color you want if you go to their website) and have the tag line "I love boobies" in big, bold letters. 100% of the profits sold go to the Keep A Breast Foundation.

So what's the drama over this good cause? Many California schools and parents feel like the bracelets are "sexually suggestive" and should not be allowed on the wrists of tweens and teens. According to the ABC news story, Kelly Avants, the spokeperson for the Clovis school district, stated that the bracelets are in clear violation of the school dress code and they have been banned. Kelly McAtee from Keep A Breast fired back at Avants, saying that "boobies is not a four letter word."

With this recent news, there has been a sudden surge in popularity at the I Love Boobies Facebook group. The page is 2,000 members strong (maybe some of those people could "Like" the SCPOC page....) and the growth doesn't seem to be slowing down. Many of those contributing to the page are teens stating that they simply want to support friends and family members who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. One teen posted that his First Amendment rights had been violated. There's even a comment from a young adult that mentions that since more young women are being diagnosed with breast cancer, it is important for teens to know about the risks and start self-exams early.

I can understand the need to keep graphic and offensive sexual language out of classroom, but how many people really consider the word "boobies" offensive? Also, by not allowing young people to be passionate about a cause, are we saying that teens cannot be activists? For almost half a year I have been working with a group of dedicated, opinionated, and driven teens and young adults at the Sonoma County Peer Outreach Coalition. I would never dream of telling the Peer Leaders not to be outspoken about the causes of which they are passionate.

What happens when you start telling youth that they cannot be activists?

1 comment:

  1. There's several things here:

    First off, is the giggles of five students in a classroom of forty (or more, with the state of the economy and the education budget cuts) really worth silencing the voice of one of the best causes to support? I've been to high schools, I get that kids laugh at the word "boobies" but at least we're talking about it. With every wrist band they see they should see one more dollar towards research and development of new treatments and hopefully a cure. Instead of getting all uptight about a bracelet, schools should pay a little more attention to the insane amount of harassment and bullying that occurs in the schools, they should be working on finding more scholarships for kids, and they should be figuring out how to raise funds to keep art programs and other programs alive in schools. This screams scapegoating to me, frankly. If it looks like they're doing something, well...

    Secondly, why are "boobies" something that they censor yet you see topless guys in binders and shirts and locker posters everywhere? By doing this they're perpetuating a double standard in how the human body is viewed. Shirtless men have never been a problem, but the mere word "boobies" is clearly a violation of dress codes.

    "What happens when you start telling youth that they cannot be activists?"
    Who is going to continue the fight when the old generation is unable to do it? By silencing young activists they're hindering progress for OUR generation, the generation they're all too willing to censor and silence.