But I am unable to experience unalloyed love for this ad, because I’m so damn sick of breast cancer ads being pegged to sexy body parts and Lady Stuff. I mean, yeah, a lot of women are interested in handsome men. But a lot of women are also interested in not dying of cancer. Do we have to couch that in cute (granted, VERY cute) gimmicks like it was an Old Spice ad, rather than speaking honestly about the reality of cancer screening, treatment and aftermath?
For sure, this is better than the frankly gross “Save the tatas” slogan, which (with what is probably the best of intentions) casts breast cancer mainly as a threat to female sexiness. And it’s definitely better than the Facebook memes where you post the color of your bra or favorite spot to leave your purse, and that’s supposed to somehow “raise awareness” of breast cancer despite never mentioning cancer or even breasts.
Of course, this is partly because prostate cancer doesn’t have much of a campaign. Public awareness of prostate cancer screening is pretty low, which is troubling, unless it’s not. (Screening may actually be counterproductive -- it doesn’t seem to save lives, according to a recent federal task force, but treatment carries risks.) But trust, if there were a Facebook-based consciousness-raising effort, it would not center around men revealing the color of their boxers.
What would I like to see go viral instead? Maybe one of the women from the spectacularly beautiful Scar Project, talking about the anxiety of diagnosis and treatment and having to learn to live in her body again, and how she’d like to spare other women that distress. There’s nothing fun about that and you don’t get to see Anthony’s ass, but I think it’s probably appropriate for a cancer PSA to be about the reality of cancer and survival, even if that’s kind of a downer. Maybe they can put Anthony’s ass in the background.