Be so busy loving your life, you have no time for hate, regret or fear

Estee Lauder And The “Together” Breasts…

In Daily Musings on June 19, 2012 at 11:24 am


When I opened the latest issue of “Harper’s Bazaar” and saw this ad campaign, my mind went absolutely blank, I truly did not know what to think about this ad; and I still don’t know how I really feel about it.  Breast Cancer is such a serious and most times fatal disease, that it made me wonder what the Estee Lauder Breast Cancer Foundation was thinking when their ad people came up with this 1 page spread.  Maybe I’ve got a dirty mind, but the first thing I thought after the initial shock was soft porn (like I said, maybe I’ve got a dirty mind!)

 I myself ask what were they thinking, because as a creative person, I’m really interested in what the thought process was to come up with this shot.  I am far from a prude (at least in my opinion) and I’m one of the most open people I know (my sister will attest to this), but I just don’t think this ad sends the right message, what is the message?  When I think of breast cancer, I don’t think of nubile, full-lipped young women under 20, with high perky breasts (I’m not saying it cannot happen to a young woman);  but I think of the pain, constant medications, chemo, loss of  hair, and families trying to come to terms with what’s happening to a loved one.

I think of going for your mammogram, waiting and then freaking out when you get that phone call, telling you that you need to come back, because the image wasn’t clear or they couldn’t see properly or they saw something.  A version of this scenario happened to both myself and my sister, and in my sister’s case, twice!  We were both blessed that there was nothing serious, but the anguish of waiting was awful.  I’ve also had other friends go though this, its nerve-racking.

Apparently this ad has been around since last year, but I’ve never seen it until recently (where was I?).  This campaign was staged by renowned fashion photographer Michael Thompson, who has contributed to high-end magazines, such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair to name a few.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions regarding this ad; I’d like to have an open dialogue if possible.  No one’s answer/opinion is right or wrong, I’d just love to know your thoughts.  In your opinion does it send a clear message?  Is it an artful way of talking about Breast Cancer or is it just plain offensive to you?

Let’s talk!

  1. I think I see where you’re coming from. I’m so desensitized to nudity that I didn’t think twice about this ad. But if this were an ad for testicular cancer with a close up shot of three naked guys strategically covering eachother’s junk there would have been an uproar, and my first thought would not be of cancer! I think at this point women are so overexposed that nobody cares anymore.

    • I love your response! You are so right, if this was about testicular cancer, this would have been a whole other issue and we would have heard it. Thanks so much Lady T for your comment.

  2. The female body has been exploited for years and the beauty industry has been the biggest culprit.

  3. I don’t find it offensive but I do find it insensitive. I personally have never dealt with anything so tramatic, but I have known people who have had it in their family. In my eyes this picture implies that “throwing a little gloss over it” can somehow make breast cancer awareness more fashionable or chic. This is not like a advertisement for a designer. This is a very real and serious issue that doesn’t deserve to be glossed over. And the real cancer survivors and fighters deserve to be represented in a more respectable way.

    • Insensitive is definitely one of the right words for this photo. Your comment is so on point. I love your statement “throwing a little gloss over it”. Breast cancer is a real and serious disease, there is nothing beautiful about it. I just don’t think shooting “glamour” shots for a breast cancer campaign sends the right message.

  4. Love this post Maylana! I definitely understand where your coming from! In my opinion what you associate breast cancer with is what a lot of other woman associate it with and that’s perfectly find but unfortunately so very thoughts often keep women from going to get tested! It’s like the “what they don’t know can’t hurt them thing” the rather not go through that pain and feeling scared or that there life is about to end! I think advertisers had to lighten up the advertisement to help encourage more women to get tested.

    • Hi Darling, thanks for your comment. I like where you’re coming from and it’s definitely something to think about. You’re right, women do need to be encouraged to go for screening. A lot of women would rather not know, which is risking their lives.

  5. I didn’t find it offensive and I lost my mom to BC, my sister is a 4 year survivor and I’ve been dealing with breast problems for the last month. We are accustomed to such nudity in “art” nowadays that I didn’t even think twice about it. This picture does portray beautiful women for such an ugly, dreadful disease, but I do know EL does campaign every year, so ultimately anything to help the cause.

    • Thanks so much for your comment. This photo/article has generated a lot of dialogue via FB and Twitter. It’s interesting to see how we all react differently to the same thing. I Hope all is well.

  6. Hi my friend, an Interesting ad and comments. I would think that it’s got our attention do its done some work. The word crass comes to mind, like a lipstick will help! Saying that ive been ill for years and I do find myself putting lipstick on to brighten myself up when going out. Like a kind of mini break from my reality. I’d have preferred one woman and agree that three looks like soft porn. That said, we’re back full circles to the picture grabbing attention by being like that, as one of your wise commenters said, we’ve become inured to female nudity so three were needed to catch our eyes. Guys get breast cancer too, I wonder how they’d feel about a makeup advert targeting them! Take care my friend, love x Ann

    • Hi Ann:

      Thanks for your wonderful comment. I’m enjoying the dialogue this post has generated. You’ve summed this up quite nicely. I too would have preferred 1 woman instead of 3 as in my opinion this shot looks a little sleezy. I guess any way to get the message out there is something to be commended, I just wish they had thought more about this.

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