A sign of hope for most, inappropriate to others

By Rachael Renz
October 18, 2010

Breast cancer awareness month is during October. Oddly enough, breast cancer paraphernalia was banned from a high school in Othello, Wash. during this month.

Brothers Alex Castro, 16, and Buck Castro, 14, sported the common “I Love Boobies!” bracelet on a daily basis until their school banned them.

The principal of the brothers’ high school told the boys that the bracelets were “too provocative” and “offensive” to students and teachers. Therefore, they were banned.

Miles away at Baltic High School in Sioux Falls, S.D. the “I Love Boobies!” bracelets were banned as well, for “poor taste.”

A young girl who goes to Baltic High  felt this was unfair since her grandmother and five of her grandmother’s sisters battled breast cancer.

These “controversial” bracelets are a product of the “I Love Boobies Campaign” organized by the “Keep A Breast Foundation.” All of the proceeds are donated to the fight against breast cancer.

The organization’s mission is to “help eradicate breast cancer by exposing young people to methods of prevention, early detection and support.” The purpose of the bracelets is to spread awareness of breast cancer among young boys and girls. The choice of wording was chosen because it is something that the younger population can relate to.

“That’s the whole idea, it’s getting people to talk about breast cancer, it’s getting people to share their feelings about how this disease has impacted their life,” founder Shaney Jo Darden said. “The bracelet is doing what it’s meant to do — it’s making people talk.”

Unfortunately, South Dakota and Washington aren’t the only states forbidding them. Schools in California, Colorado, Idaho, Florida and Wisconsin are also prohibiting them from being worn. Although some schools don’t ban them completely, they do allow the bracelets to be worn inside out.

The fact that this is even an issue is absolutely absurd. My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 10 years old. I know that if these bracelets were around when my aunt discovered her illness, that bracelet would have been glued to my wrist.

What ever happened to freedom of speech? Although these bracelets have become a fad and are trendy, they are also sending a loud message to the world: awareness. Being aware in itself can help save lives.

My little cousin owns a $4 “I Love Boobies!” bracelet and I’ll be honest, the first time I saw them I was taken aback. I thought to myself, “okay, that’s a little unnecessary.” But, then I realized that this speaks to the younger population. It’s something they can relate to rather than a pink breast cancer ribbon, because it comes in cute colors, has a heart graphic and also says the word “boobies.”

Despite the fact that some may feel that the word “boobies” is offensive, it’s a slang for breasts, which is exactly the point. Teens use slang all the time through Facebook, instant messenger and text messaging. Hell, I use slang sometimes too, so of course it relates to the target market.

Combining style and charity, the bracelets proceeds go to cancer research and they come in a variety of colors to attract young consumers. --MCT

Girls as young as 10 years old have been diagnosed with breast cancer and the young boys and girls who are wearing these bracelets are their friends.

The grandmother of the Castro brothers friend lost a battle to breast cancer and he wears his bracelet because of her death. He feels that it represents the strength that his friend has.

Although I am not a young teen, I still stand behind the right to wearing this bracelet. I have personally been through a war against breast cancer more than once and I think I reserve the right to rock a piece of jewelry.

For me, wearing the bracelet stands for hope that one day breast cancer will end and that no one else will have to experience what I have. I have lost my aunt, my grandmother has breast cancer and my aunt was recently diagnosed this past summer.

I agree that shirts that say “Spear Britney” and “FCUK Me” shouldn’t be allowed in school, along with clothing that has alcoholic beverage logos. But, for something that is profound, brings comfort and is worn proudly, why take that away? Maybe some wear them because they want to fit in among their peers but I’d say nine times out of 10 whoever purchases this bracelet wears it for personal reasons.

Whether or not breast cancer takes lives it still affects the person it’s attacking. I know from first-hand experience that when my aunt was fighting her nine-year battle with breast cancer, not only was her health affected but so were her husband and children; they had to fight the battle with her.

So, if you or someone you know has or is fighting breast cancer, keep your head up and your faith strong. Raise your wrist high and proud, rockin’ that “I Love Boobies!” bracelet because even if they take away your right to wear them, they can’t take away your hope.

Rachael Renz

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