Breast Cancer Survivor Calls Out Awareness Campaign Slogans That Sexualize The Disease In Viral TikTok
Stand-up comedian Annie Bond was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer at the age of 26. The cancer spread to her liver and lymph nodes, and doctors gave her an estimated two to five years to live.
Defying the odds, Bond, now 33, shares not only her journey on TikTok, but also her thoughts surrounding breast cancer awareness and campaigns.
In one video, which has been viewed nearly one million times, Bond shared a story in which she was walking her dog one morning in October - Breast Cancer Awareness Month - and was caught off-guard by a T-shirt slogan.
In the video captioned, "How many more days in October?" she recalled:
"This morning, I was walking my dog, and I saw a girl with a shirt on that said, 'Boobies Rule, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.' And that's all the shirt said."
Bond shared that she refrained from telling the girl that the shirt could be offensive, especially to survivors like herself.
She then explained:
"Here's the thing. When you have breast cancer, do you know where the cancer is? Why, it's in your breasts."
She went to on to share that using slogans that sexualize breast cancer to raise awareness is offensive.
"You know that over 70% of the time, you get your entire breast removed when you have cancer?"
"Because that's what's killing you - the tumors in your boobs."
"So when you make the focus of a breast cancer awareness campaign about how much you love boobs, it doesn't help us at all."
"It's supposed to be about awareness of breast cancer, not just boobs in general."
You can watch the entire video below.
How many more days in October? 😅 #pinktober #breastcancerawarenessmonth #breastcancersurvivor #mbc #metastaticbreastcancer #morethanboobs #stage4needsmore #fakecharity #pinkwashing
Many appreciated a perspective from someone who has fought breast cancer.
Others offered that yes, Bond's perspective is completely valid, but they believed that those particular campaigns were about prevention and early detection.
There were also comments by viewers who criticized Bond for being "offended" by the shirt.
Bond addressed these in a follow-up video, featuring a comment that read, "Let's get offended about everything!"
"Here's where I think I made a mistake... by saying the word 'offended.'"
"I was really not that offended by that girl's shirt. It was more of a reminder of... the bigger problem with Breast Cancer Awareness Month."
"And I didn't go up to her and say anything to her. I just saw it and was like, 'God, I hate those types of shirts.'"
Bond admitted that yes, she is sensitive, especially after surviving breast cancer because of all the trauma involved in the diagnosis itself and also in the treatments.
"What's really tough for breast cancer survivors during Breast Cancer Awareness Month that I think a lot of people don't know is like what the f*ck is awareness?"
"Like, we're just teaching people that breast cancer exists?"
In the video, Bond also addressed those who argued that the purchase of the shirt financially benefited the cause.
"It's gonna get people to donate, isn't it? That's what you want to think. People can slap pink on something and not donate a single dime."
Bond analyzed issues with breast cancer funding:
"One of the bigger problems with breast cancer funding right now is that about 90% or more of funding goes into early stage cancers."
She went on to explain that early stage cancer is curable - "chemotherapy works, but there's a 30% chance that you will get stage 4 breast cancer."
"[Stage 4 cancer is] the only type of breast cancer that kills, and I believe it is the number two cause of death in women in the world."
You can see the follow-up video below.
WARNING: NSFW language
Replying to @methodcatt 😅 #breastcancerawarenesmonth #pinktober #stage4needsmore #mbc #metastaticbreastcancer
Bond also created a video responding to those who said that "clever" campaigning is a way to get people to pay attention and, in turn, raise awareness.
She shared campaigns that she believes are actually funny and accurately raise awareness.
Bond displayed pictures of t-shirts that cleverly bring awareness to the reality of mastectomies.
One such shirt read:
"Of course they're fake, the real ones tried to kill me."
Check out the shirts in her video below.
Replying to @yori20 #breastcancerawarenessmonth #pinkwashing #pinktober #mbc #breastcancersurvivor #greenscreen
She finished the video:
"We can do better, people. We can."
Bond told Buzzfeed News:
"If you haven't been through it, you don't understand. And if you have been through it and you feel differently, that's OK."
"It's undeniable that cancer affects everybody and that people die of cancer at all ages and all levels of health."
"But if we would just listen to the people who know what they're talking about, we could make an actual difference."