BREAST cancer patients have blasted a new campaign backed by M&S for painting the disease as “pink and fluffy”.
Fashion Targets Breast Cancer’s latest campaign, fronted by Holly Willoughby, encourages women to “dress in solidarity with your own #BosomBuddies”.
An accompanying video, posted on social media, uses slogans that include “good things come in twos,” and “two is stronger than one”.
Charity Breast Cancer Now partnered with M&S, River Island and Simply Be to launch a range of T-shirts, with proceeds going to fund vital research.
But their marketing sparked outcry on social media when it went live yesterday, with patients and charities branding it “insensitive”.
Laura Bailey, known as @thatmumwithcancer on Instagram, who has stage 4 secondary breast cancer, shared a powerful nude image of herself, saying: “My breasts are not #bosombuddies.”
‘My boob tried to kill me’
The mum-of-three also spoke on her Instagram Stories, saying: “I’d like to see the mood board – the thought process behind a breast cancer campaign with slogans like ‘bosom buddies’ and ‘two is better than one’.
“You know what breast cancer is right? You know, my boob tried to kill me and, you know, a lot of woman don’t even have breasts to have one buddy.
“I think Marks and Spencer and Fashion Target Breast Cancer should just bow out. That would be the best thing. Don’t try and fix this, just bow out.
“I’ve got so many better things you could be wasting your money on than employing people to come up with slogans that are better than ‘two is better than one’.”
‘I’ve got the glamorous cancer’
Laura also suggested the campaign was unfair for exclusively supporting breast cancer.
She said: “Where’s all my bowel cancer girls at? Sorry you’re not allowed to come to this party because you’re not pink and fluffy.
“So, cancer’s bad enough, but now we’re being segregated into groups. You can’t sit with me because I’ve got the glamorous cancer. You’ve got the diarrhoea and blood cancer.
“I’ve got the bosom buddies, what have you got?”
Where’s all my bowel cancer girls at? Sorry you’re not allowed to come to this party because you’re not pink and fluffy
Emma Campbell, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 39, also shared a picture of herself battling the disease in response to the campaign.
She wrote: “Do you see anything pink and fluffy here? I don’t. I simply see a broken, petrified and seriously unwell woman.
“A single mum of four. Three of them tiny babies. I didn’t feel sexy or glossy or bosom focused on this day nine years ago.
“And I certainly wasn’t giving much thought to who my ‘bosom buddies’ were. I simply wanted to stay alive. As I do now, dealing with my third diagnosis. Maybe it’s time for a rethink?”
‘Brands should be braver’
Sun columnist Deborah James, who has stage 4 bowel cancer, believes big brands should consider supporting other charities.
She said: “Once again it’s so frustrating to see massive brands launch a campaign where the profits seem to be more at the centre than the patients they are supporting.
“Why can’t brands be braver? There are over 200 types of cancer – all trying desperately hard to secure lucrative commercial deals.
“Whilst I don’t want to detract from the reality – this was, I’m sure, very well meaning and it raises vital funds for breast cancer – we have to remember that another pink and fluffy campaign isn’t really good enough by today’s marketing standards.
“Today, through social media so many people are sharing their versions of cancer. There are so many voices.
“So, to choice to have none of them in a campaign is shortsighted.
“I hope brands learn from examples like this and start to remember those they might exclude through this kind of work.
“Remember, not all women get breast cancer – men get it too, and remember that each person who goes through it has a story to tell.
“We are all over calling brands out for lack of diversity. This has to happen even when it comes to cancer campaigns too.”
7 signs of breast cancer
1. Change in breast size or shape
2. Redness or rash
3. Nipple discharge
4. Swelling in the armput or around the collarbone
5. Change in skin texture
6. An inverted nipple
7. Constant pain
MORE ON BREAST CANCER
Bowel cancer patient, Beth Purvis, replied to the video posted on Twitter, saying: “While breast cancer is awful, did you know bowel cancer is a bigger killer?
“No one talks about it though because its brown and yukky not pink and fluffy. Breast cancer is not pink and fluffy either!!”
The Sun Online has contacted M&S, River Island, Simply Be and Breast Cancer Now for comment.
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