The CEO of CoppaFeel! Kris Hallenga has reacted to an article posted on the Lingerie Addict blog this week, which criticises the charity’s #Brahijack campaign.
The Breast Life founder and self-titled ‘breast expert’ Elisabeth Dale said the campaign, which encourages lingerie brands to sew breast-checking reminder labels into their bras, is “just another way of pinkwashing” breast cancer.
“Using catch hash tags and sexy slogans distracts from the ugly realities of breast cancer: it’s not about checking the booms. (They’re the first to go.) It’s about women’s lives, not their bras,” she continued.
“The energy used in creating, attaching, and displaying this label doesn’t multiply research dollars, aid in coordinating research efforts, or lead to treatments that extend the lives of women living or dying with the deadliest of cancers,” added Dale.
Responding to the article on her own blog, Hallenga said the Brahijack campaign isn’t aimed at breast cancer patients or survivors, but young people who have “never considered touching or looking at their boobs and starting a healthy relationship with them.”
“Our approach is irreverent and fun spirited for a reason. The young mind is busy, fickle and often not that interested in health messages, but what we have created is a message so relevant to them and on their level,” Hallenga added.
“We have already seen how our message has impacted women who acted on their symptoms who were subsequently diagnosed early. Therese were case with lymph node involvement.”
But Dale states that women aren’t as unaware of the changes to their breasts as some might think, citing research from the National Breast Cancer Coalition, which states that 80% of women, or their partners, are the ones reporting breast health problems to physicians.
“It’s hard to imagine a man being asked to check his prostate via his boxers or briefs. He’s cautioned to visit his doctor, undergo tests, and treated with dignity when faced with the embarrassing possibility of erectile dysfunction. There’s no reason that women with breast cancer (a disease that also strikes men) shouldn’t be treated with the same respect,” she added.
But Hallenga says CoppaFeel! doesn’t promote a strict regimented monthly ‘lift your arm, stand in front of the mirror’ check.
“We promote ‘breast awareness here, which is about knowing yourself, your boobs, and having the confidence to seek medical referral if you notice something that isn’t right for you,” she said.
“The people we have targeting over the past four years aren’t at the high risk age yet. When they are, we will have played a role in ensuring they are proactive with their symptoms and have empowered consultations,” Hallenga added.