Breast cancer awareness campaign #boobsoverbellybuttons says it wants to raise awareness about the disease by asking women to post photos of themselves on social media feeling their own breasts.
But Aimee Fletcher, who was diagnosed with oestrogen positive breast cancer last June, says this campaign and others like it do little to show the harsh realities of the illness, and instead sexualize the women participating in them.
“I would like these types of campaigns to stop,” Fletcher, 32, told FOX411. “They’re very insensitive, and are usually just a trend in social media. I’m all for raising awareness to showcase what breast cancer really looks like. It feels like it’s just for women who want to get their breast out on the Internet.”
Hannah Isichei, the PR and Marketing Manager for UK based company Curvy Kate, the company behind #boobsoverbellybuttons, disagrees.
“The #boobsoverbellybuttons images aren’t sexual – they are a reminder, a statement and if it encourages more people to check for breast cancer then it can only help,” she said. “If it saves one life – then it’s worthwhile.”
Curvy Kate created their campaign along with another group, CoppaFeel, in response to #bellybuttonschallenge, which shows women twisting their arms around their bodies to touch their bellybuttons, as a sign they are skinny enough for bikini season.
“We thought if people are going to spend time trying to reach round to their belly buttons and share that message, why not spend time doing a boob-check and sharing that, which is a far more positive health message and could actually change your life,” said Isichei.