Website 'boobs' over breast cancer

A breast cancer campaign asking women to post topless photos online has been slammed as an offensive and gratuitous way for a website to gain traffic.
Lifestyle site NZgirl launched the "I've got a lovely pair" fundraiser yesterday, saying it would donate $1000 for every 50 pictures of breasts uploaded.

"We want to celebrate all of the lovely pairs of New Zealand and create 'Our favourite breasts' - a montage of nzgirls' breasts," the site says.

It says breasts "matter to everyone" and breast health is important, yet despite all of this breasts are still taboo.

"So what are you waiting for?  It's time to get your tits out for the girls," the website says.

An online backlash to the campaign began almost immediately, with Twitter users saying the campaign sexualised cancer and was nothing but an attention-seeking marketing ploy.

"I highly doubt NZGirl would put up photos of breast cancer survivors. This is bollocks on every level," wrote Bonnie Hartfield.

"What the hell @nzgirlHQ? The only breasts that matter in this case are the ones that are lost, along with lives. Show them, I dare you," said @BiscuitCIB.

Feminist writer BoganetteNZ dedicated a blog to the topic, saying it was offensive to use a slogan like "get your tits out for the girls" in the context of breast cancer.

"Don't you think it is offensive to the many women who have had mastectomies and have to cope with the stigma of not having 'perfect', 'socially acceptable' breasts to flash a bunch of pert, young, cancer-free breasts in their face and call it awareness?" Boganette said.

"The controversy is about breast cancer and breast cancer once again being sexualised. You don't see 'show us your ovaries' for ovarian cancer or 'show us your naked bodies' for skin cancer."

"Could they not donate [the money] anyway? Or donate it at the end of their campaign instead of making it an incentive for women to put photos of their breasts on a website to increase traffic?"

NZgirl editor and general manager Tee Twyford said the campaign wasn't about driving traffic to their site, but about raising awareness.

"The reason for it was twofold. There was a desire to have readers feel really good about their breasts and we wanted to align it with a breast cancer cause to get greater awareness and funding," Twyford said.

She said she knew there would be some debate about it, but NZgirl readers - the people they wanted to mobilise - had responded really positively.

"Some people are doing it as a tribute to people they knew that were affected."

"Like everything, not everyone is going to like it," Twyford said.

"It's about a celebration of breasts and breast health. If we can get even get one person to be more aware of their breasts and know how to check them then we'll save lives."

NZgirl had not spoken to any breast cancer sufferers or survivors before launching the campaign, she said.

It would decide which charity to send the money too at a later point, after seeking reader feedback.

There was only non-paid advertising on the breast section of the site. By this morning, there was already a gallery with the site's "favourite" breast photos.

New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation chief executive Evangelia Henderson said it did not comment on other people's fundraising practices.

"Our focus is on the health and wellness of breasts so a lovely pair of breasts to us is a healthy pair," Henderson said.

"We do need to celebrate by being breast aware."

Henderson said the foundation was not the recipient of the funds and would not run a similar campaign itself.