CoppaFeel!’s latest campaign with The Sun newspaper has received mixed reactions from fellow breast cancer charities and campaigners.
The organisation has taken over Page 3 for the next six months for its ‘Check ‘Em Tuesday’ initiative, featuring topless women.
Founder of CoppaFeel! Kris Hallenga, was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago and hopes the project will encourage young women to regularly examine themselves.
But while some charities and campaigners have ackowledged that efforts to raise awareness are well intentioned, others have warned the initiative could trivialise the disease.
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The ‘No More Page 3’ campaign said in a statement: “We really hope that this campaign succeeds in encouraging women to check their breasts who otherwise wouldn’t – and we love the notion of women supporting other women. We applaud the models for doing what they feel is right to help and congratulations to the founder of CoppaFeel for securing this partnership with a powerful platform like the Sun.
“That said, we can’t help but feel that it’s a real shame the Sun has decided to use these sexualised images of young women to highlight breast cancer. They will say that they want to use the power of page 3 as a force for good – we say that a society in which sexualised images of young women are seen as that powerful has to change,” it added.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer senior policy officer Sally Greenbrook also criticised the campaign. She told the Independent: “By running the campaign through Page Three, this campaign also runs the risk of trivialising breast cancer, when it in fact devastates lives and families. The reality for many women who have been treated for breast cancer is wildly different from the approach of Page Three, and it would do our many thousands of supporters a disservice not to acknowledge this.”
But CEO of Male Cancer Awareness Campaign Patrick Cox, whose campaign Going Commando kicks off this week, pledged his support. He told the Huffington Post: "CoppaFeel! is a bold and daring charity. Their job is simple: raise awareness of breast cancer to young people. That’s it! If that means partnership with the biggest newspaper and using beautiful young women to support that, hats off. Well bloody done.
Hallenga argues that Page 3 is a "brilliant platform" to get across a life-saving message.
“They are the most famous boobs in Britain. For us to be hopping on the back of that page and The Sun as a whole is a huge opportunity," she said.
"This is a campaign aimed at women that have never even thought about their breasts before. This is not aimed at people who have got the disease already."