F*#k The Tatas, Save The Woman

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About Alyssa Royse

Alyssa is freelance writer, speaker and sex-educator living in Seattle with her husband and their 3 daughters. She is the former host of Sexxx Talk Radio on The Progressive Radio Network and is the co-founder of NotSoSecret.com, a site dedicated to empowered women's sexuality. She can also be found on her eponymous blog, where she pontificates about food, family, politics and the Seattle rain. Yes, she would love to speak at your event, host a workshop or write something for you. Just ask.


  1. wellokaythen says:

    What’s also a little misleading about the Pink Ribbon campaigns is that they ask people to donate money for “research,” when surprisingly little of the money goes towards actual lab research. By that I mean actual “bench scientists” or research clinicians working with cancer cells or patients. Many of the non-profit groups define “research” so broadly that it includes screening programs, statistical models, awareness-raising campaigns, even advertising. A lot of the people actually trying to find cures have become frustrated with all the focus on screening and consciousness-raising, sometimes at the expense of research on treatments or cures. As hard as this is to believe, because it sounds like heresy, it is in fact possible to have too many cancer screenings – at some point it actually becomes counterproductive in the fight against cancer, because of limited resources. We may have put too many resources into mammography which would be much better spent elsewhere – like trying to get women to stop smoking.

    Meanwhile there is basically NO early detection system for ovarian cancer. It’s survival rate is horribly low.

    And, I’ll just sound like a broken record here, but: MEN get breast cancer, too! Would it be so hard to say “save the person” instead of “save the woman”?

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Alyssa does address that men get it. But it is pretty rare. Saying, “Help end breast cancer” would be most effective.

      And when she says “Save the woman” she means rather than “Save the tatas” – which are so unimportant in the life of a whole human.

      Again, like the boner. If you’re talking about the risk of losing an erection vs losing your life who cares about the boner?

      • wellokaythen says:

        “Again, like the boner. If you’re talking about the risk of losing an erection vs losing your life who cares about the boner?”

        Oh God, don’t make me choose….. : – )

        • Alyssa Royse says:

          Well, then, get screened for Prostate Cancer! There’s no cute campaign for it, but it’s like boner protection.

      • Yeah I’d probably choose death over losing the ability to have sex, so if I couldn’t get some form of sex then kill me cancer. Life is just too miserable without good quality sex.

    • Alyssa Royse says:

      I did mention several times that men get breast cancer, which is another MAJOR reason why the focus on “boobies” is problematic. It masks the fact that men get breast cancer, and probably adds shame to the equation, which is not helpful!

      And double yes on ovarian cancer. I was trying not to derail into that, but it PISSES me off MASSIVELY that we ignore other reproductive cancers because they are not in cute and sexy places. I mean, no one has eve hit on a chick in a bar because she had smokin’ hot ovaries! ;) Or colorectal cancer? That’s a tough sell. Even prostate cancer is a tough sell – which is weird, because so much emphasis is put into help men get and stay “hard” for sex, but, well…..

      I just think our obsession with “BOOBIES” is masking some real problems, and causing some very real problems.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I totally agree. Making things cutesy may help raise awareness in the short term, but over the long term it’s counterproductive.

    • Morgan K Wyatt says:

      Thanks for saying so well what I wanted to. People believe breast cancer is the #1 killer of women. It’s heart disease. If you dig deep, I think breast cancer falls into between 8-13th place. One reason it is noticeable and treatable.

      So many things are killing women, but were too focused on breasts to notice. Depression, which often results in suicide, and domestic abuse are destroying women every day. No shirts for that.

      22 women die a day from suicide
      3 women dies a day from domestic abuse, hundreds end up in the ER.
      Heart disease kills 3X as many women as beast cancer. You’d think there would be 3X as many races.
      (As for those races, don’t get me started. )

      • Alyssa Royse says:

        The races make me crazy. No money goes to anything that actually helps anyone. It is extraordinarily clever how they packaged it as “Spreading Awareness.” Please! But that’ justifies not getting money where people think it is going. It should be criminal.

  2. There is a documentary – Pink Inc. It’s an interesting investigation into the pink industry. Yes it is all about profit and not about people’s health.

    What we really should focus on is prevention, not a cure, or as is more often the case, an expensive drug used to treat the disease. If we were able to develop a vaccine to prevent cancer we would be much farther ahead.

    I’m not sure how anyone can claim to “raise awareness about breast cancer” with a straight face. EVERYONE is well aware of breast cancer, it couldn’t possibly have a higher profile than it currently does. More money is spent on raising awareness for breast cancer than is spent treating other cancers, such as childhood leukaemia. Maybe it’s time to put things in perspective a little.

    Just because it’s pink, doesn’t mean it’s right.

  3. Breast cancer (like many other diseases) have become an industry where one can actually make money off of awareness of the disease.

    I was talking to a former boss a while back about Relay for Life. He was involved in one of the chapters and was bothered by how much money was going simply not going to patients or research. At that point I told him that I’m wondering if the best thing to do would be to just befriend someone who is suffering from cancer (and considering how common it is it may be way too easy to do that) and just give your time, effort, and money directly to them.

  4. Having read this article, all I can say is THANK YOU!!! Hey, unless you live in a monastery, chances are you personally know someone who has had to deal with Breast Cancer (at least here on Long Island). So let me ask this. How many of you out there know of ANYONE who has received any funds from the millions collected by the ‘Pink Ribbon’ industrial complex has collected. Danny hit it on the head! Instead of just mindlessly writing a check to some behemoth sized corporation, find someone in your community to help. After all, cancer can wipe out your finances as quick as it destroys your body! ( And just for the record, the people I know who suffered from Breast Cancer, I really didn’t give a shit about their tits, just saving their life!)

  5. So…have you seen the video doing the rounds called (I think I remember this correctly) “motorboating girls for breast cancer awareness” by (again, I think I have this right) some young men calling themselves “simple pickup”.

    It is exactly what it says it is. I felt sick that people don’t see how wrong that is. They donated $20 for every girl they motorboated, the total was $2080. 104 women. The comments on fb range from a whole lot of leering to some outrage. I also heard that the donation was rejected, but can’t back that up at all.

    • Alyssa Royse says:

      That is so sick and sad and gross and wrong. Wow.

      • Beggars can’t be choosers, so next time they cry poor…just remember they turn away money over haters. Seems they also rejected money from topless skydiving fundraisers, etc too. As bad as it is, to deny the funding on moral grounds does make me think you really do not give a fuck about raising money because at least the money could be used for good. But hey I guess starving your funding over principles is better than helping others. Would they deny a million dollar donation too?

        • Amber, I saw that too and felt the same way as you.

          Archy, I don’t personally believe the end always justifies the means. Encourage something like this and I suspect the degradation to get a couple bucks will increase in the future at other attemps to “raise money. But lets be hoenst, this wasn’t about raising money to begin with. This money wasn’t really meant to support women and breast cancer anyway. So techniqually, they didn’t really loose anything by not accepting it.

          • I wonder if they motorboated any guys too? 1 in 100 cases is for males too.

            Would they happily accept charity from a bank who makes their money in far more evil means, such as throwing out good people out of homes if they miss a payment after a few weeks?

  6. Heart disease is actually the number one killer of women over ALL forms of cancer combined. It kills 1 woman a minute. 90% of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. Since 1984, more women then men have died from heart disease. Women are twice as likely to have a second heart atttack in the first 6 years. 1 in 31 woman die from breast cancer, 1 in 3 women die from heart disease. Very little research is ever done for women in heart disease, with only 24% of parcipants being women in such studies. Women often get misdignosed because how heart attack symptoms show up in women is different. They areoften told they are just having a panick attack and sent home not even getting care at all. Even how the plaque builds up in a woman’s body is different from how it happens in men’s bodies. Men tend to get more blockages in their larger arteries. Women tend to get them in the smaller veins. Women’s plaque also tends to coat evenly in the walls of their arteries and veins while you will find more clumping in men’s.

    But there are no big campaigns about saving women’s hearts. The “tatas” is what people care about. To even having our bodies sexualized in regard to our healthcare is maddening..beyond maddening. And simply shameful.

    • Hi Erin, there is at least one program aimed at women’s heart disease: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/educational/hearttruth/

      And while I applaud the efforts to keep women healthy, I just wish someone cared equally about men’s health. Unpacking groceries the other day I noticed the margarine container has a red dress promoting women’s heart health, the toilet paper has a pink ribbon promoting breast cancer treatment, cheerios is sponsoring a boys and girl’s club initiative to get girls to eat healthy (while not funding the equivalent program for boys) It seems every second item I touch has some connection to women’s health. While I understand that much of this marketing is simply driven by greed and not philanthropy, the reason this marketing tactic works is because people care about women’s health.

      The lack of any projects to address men’s health is stark, particularly given that men die younger (5-7 years), live in poorer health and are less likely to seek medical treatment. It appears that the health of our fathers, husbands or sons is not a cause that people have enough interest in to catch the attention of marketing groups. As a new father to a son, I think that’s rather sad.

      • Scot, when it comes to heart disease, women actually receive much worse care then men do. Women’s symptoms don’t always show up the same as men and for that reason, doctors are more prone to blow off a woman’s concern or not prescribe her the medicine she needs. More studies and information is gathered on men’s bodies and hearts then has been done on womens. Since this has come into light, there has been more of an effort to learn more about women’s bodies and heart disease, but it still largly seen as a man’s issue and there is actually more infomation out there specific to men, then there is specific to women. Women have a higher rate of reaccuring heart issues because of mis-diagnoses and doctors blowing off female cocerns. So I can not agree with you that people care more about women’s health. There is way more information out there that benefits men when it comes to heart disease. And believe me, this is extremely important. My grandfather, uncle, dad and my brother all had heart related issues. But there is a huge dirth of information on women and heart disease in the medical industry. And in the long history of the medical industry, most medicine is built and designed for the male body. Excluding female body parts.

        Now if you are talking about the fact that men infact are less likely to seek medical treatment, that is an issue. But it’s a far different one from not having the scientifict knowledge specific to your body. And I’m not saying there shouldn’t be awareness about that. But it’s not because people care more about women’s health. Historically, the world care more about men’s health and their bodies and have used men’s bodies as a baseline on how to treat women. Which we are now discovering can have drastic results for women.

    • Yeah I’m not sure why breast cancer wins over more than heart disease. Heart disease is the number 1 killer for both genders, yet I am yet to see even 1/20th of the level of awareness for it vs breast cancer. Although you gotta admit the breastcancer awareness groups have done a mighty fine job of advocating for their illness, I see so many events dedicated to breast cancer.

  7. This is only happen in USA. Because in my country, whenever we talk about breast cancers, we talk about the women, not the breast. What happen with American men? They even think about “boobies”, “rack”? What a douchebags. God I hate these people.

    • John, what country are you from?

      It’s really not just men. Women buy into the campaign too. Did you read Amber’s post about the women that let complete strangers “motorboat” them for money for breat cancer? That’s a problem on both sides.

  8. Jack Skellington says:

    It’s interesting that I just saw this today as earlier I was reading a very similar entry on HuffPo (sorry, no link). Another thing to think about too. “I kind of love seeing the NFL go “pink…” I understand the sentiment but I have a huge problem with that whole campaign. From what I can tell, the NFL has given about $3 million since 2009. In that time their profits would be $34-38 BILLION (assuming 8.5-9.5 per year). So that’s, what, 1/100th of 1%. Yeah, they care so much…

  9. I would like to give a shout out to the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative. http://ctbhi.org/ They are a great, Connecticut, non-profit organization. If you donate to them, you are making a donation to a local organization that has given out more than $1.8 M research grants in Connecticut since its inception, and has helped local women who can’t afford preventative breast health screenings (mammograms) to get them.


  1. […] Alyssa Royse thanks you for loving breasts, but when it comes to breast cancer, she wants the attention where it's really needed.  […]

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