Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 9/8/2011 (2205 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Would a Hooters restaurant hire a breast cancer survivor who chose not to have reconstructive surgery?
That's pretty much all you need to know about the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's decision to team up with the burger-and-beer chain, best known for fulsomely breasted waitresses dressed in low-cut tops and short shorts.
Hooters sells sex, along with chicken wings.
The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation works to fund and support breast cancer research and provide meaningful awareness programs. Their efforts include advocating for those living with breast cancer. Make no mistake: They do a great job and the funds they raise are crucial to breast cancer research.
So why would they get into bed with a business dedicated to exploiting women? Will the money raised counterbalance the ill will generated among many of their donors?
Let's be clear: The foundation approached the restaurant. Hooters did not come along, hat in hand, hoping to burnish its reputation.
No one goes to Hooters with a gun to their head. It's a choice. The chain does nothing illegal or immoral, although some of us hoped there would be a day when their T&A displays would become relics of a distant past. If this is where you choose to have dinner, good for you. But for the restaurant (or the cancer foundation) to blithely claim the fundraiser is really to benefit men who might not understand they can be affected is a canard of the first order.
That's the story both a restaurant spokeswoman and a cancer foundation employee told a Free Press reporter this week.
Less that one per cent of all diagnosed breast cancer cases are male. Awareness is critical. But pretending Hooters' "Grateful for the Girls" campaign is aimed at raising men's understanding of their risk is inane. If it was men they were hoping to help, they'd be promoting "Beholden to the Boys" briefs and boxers.
As part of the fundraising, the restaurant is selling Grateful for the Girls scoop-neck sleeveless T-shirts. Their online merchandise (unconnected to the breast cancer fundraiser) includes a T-shirt decorated with an image of a large-breasted woman holding a rifle.
"Hunters Love A Nice Rack," it reads. This is a company with whom the breast cancer foundation wants to be associated?
A friend posed an interesting question Monday night: Would Prostate Cancer Canada encourage a group of women who wanted to raise funds by exploiting the butts of young men? Would they pretend the stunt was actually to help women become aware of their own cancer risk?
Not a chance. No one would believe them if they tried.
Breast cancer foundations have standards. While some corporations will slap a pink ribbon on just about anything to ride the wave of emotional support for the cause, the foundation is clear when a line is crossed.
They do endorse pink toilet paper, light bulbs, flooring, screwdrivers, lip balm and hammers. The American fundraising arm speaks out against a campaign by Yoplait yogurt that donates 10 cents for every lid consumers mail back to them.
"Yoplait yogurt is made with milk from cows that have been injected with the synthetic hormone recombinant bovine growth hormone (called rBGH or rBST)," reads the breastcancer.org website.
"There are numerous health concerns surrounding rBGH, and breast cancer is one of them."
When an organization depends upon the support of corporations and individuals to provide essential services, they're walking a tightrope without a net. They need the money. While events such as Run for the Cure are popular and vital, every buck they can attract from other sources is also needed.
But ignoring the message Hooters sends while accepting its money is bad business for a group that does so much good.
Surely the foundation would like to move us beyond a world where sniggering about breasts is sanctioned.
In a Hooters world, breasts have to be perky and perfect. Doesn't the foundation understand those affected by breast cancer reject that notion?