Form vs Function (revised)

(explicit – sorry mom!)

Form vs. Function

The conversation went something like this:

“It would really suck to lose a body part”

“Yeah, tell me about it”

“That is different”

“How so?”

“A hand or foot is functional.  They serve a purpose.  It would be hard to live without them”

“ And you think losing a breast is any different for a woman?”

WHAT THE FUCK ? Aside from the fact that the purpose of breasts are to be a food producing  body part that is responsible for human babies even surviving to this supposed evolved state…Every girl on the planet knows that showing some cleavage will increase attention and thus potentially get them whatever it is they want….how much less “functional” is that? If men pay twice as much for coffee they could make at home from a stand featuring young women in their underwear  we are going to debate the power and importance of a woman’s body?  The Girls Gone wild guy, Joe Francis, made a $100 million off of amateur video clips of collegiates baring their chests for the camera.  How can you tell me that breasts are less important than a hand?

Let’s look at this from evolutionary theory.  If we were a primitive society and 1 out of every 6 women has some sort of illness requiring breast modification they would be selected against in favor of women with two breasts that showed their health and capacity to feed babies.  No man would choose a woman who was visibly showing something “defective” about her.  While the women showing the results of the illness could be seen as being healthier/stronger/more able to survive for having successfully lived through the crisis, they would be over looked simply on the visual information presented to the males.  In other words, breasts have always denoted the capacity to produce, and production is indeed FUNCTION.

Yet, somehow consciously or not, we throw all this out the window when it comes to breast cancer.  Suddenly the facts of the evolutionary, emotional and social function are completely ignored and it becomes “just a boob” that serves no necessary purpose. We think the cancer problem is solved because we can just cut out/cut off the affected part and then get on with life with relatively little physical aftermath. We survivors are supposed to be grateful to be alive and be quiet about the inner details. There is no counseling offered as a regular course of treatment and frequently reconstruction is rushed by both patient and doctor further covering up the emotional impact of no longer meeting a standard that was unrealistic to begin with.

Even here, in the very medium I have set up to speak my mind, it is far preferable that I speak of the spiritual lessons & the deeper meaning of life as a breast cancer survivor. I am supposed to behave and fit into the pink ribbon box of conformity and go from being a tattooed rebel to walk-a-thon queen.  I will get crap for screaming my frustration that outsiders don’t understand the seriousness of the situation and how deep the diagnosis of breast cancer hits at our self worth and beauty as women.  I will get talked to about how I need to stay positive and uplifting.  But anger can be positive, and knowing that we are understood IS uplifting to women who are struggling with what they see in the mirror.  I CANNOT  FUCKIN  BE QUIET!

I am not angry about having had cancer – it has spurred enormous growth and positive change in my life Nor am I a feminist who blames men for why I shave my legs.  I appreciate beauty when I see it in whatever form it comes in.  I too have played the girl games to maximize my resources, and have a sense of humor about how all of that goes down.  But the hypocrisy and lack of understanding over what exactly I, and other breast cancer survivors live with is often hard to bear.

To be told that my body part loss is not as important as another body part loss is infuriating.  Especially the day after I get home from a work situation in which a very average woman with very above average amounts of cleavage got superior customer service because of what she showed and not because of who she was.  I am afraid to fly next month because which TSA line do I choose?  The one in which they grope me and figure out that one of my boobs feel wierd and so I have to strip?” or the one in which they see that I don’t have a boob when I appear to have one and they make me strip?  Either way I lose the right to have my replacement body part seen as part of my body – and lose my dignity.  Would they make someone take off their prosthetic leg?  Or is that a “functional” and deserves more respect?

If  there was a cancer that effected one in 6 men that the only treatment was  to have one or both of your  balls cut off  how fast would there be a cure or alternative treatment?  How would any guy feel about his dick without the boys?  How easy would it be to live without your balls even if all other bodily functions continued just fine? How would you feel about the form vs. function conversation if this was YOU?

5 thoughts on “Form vs Function (revised)

  1. Robyn-
    I just read this to my daughter…and at 14 even she said that’s messed up to say that losing a breast is not the same as losing any other body part. I love you girl great blog!

  2. There IS a disease. It’s called Prostate Cancer.
    There is a greater incidence of prostate cancer than breast cancer:
    Prostate 168/100,000 men, breast cancer 127.8 per 100,000 women
    And higher death rate for prostate cancer:
    Prostate death rate 27.9/100,000 men, breast cancer death rate 25.5/100,000 women.

    Yet funding for breast cancer research is many times the funding for prostate cancer research.

    If you’re outraged because your “body part” is considered disposable, ALL of a man is.

    1. Sorry, you are barking up the wrong tree if you think you don’t have my sympathy here.
      All the men in my family will have prostate cancer….and my father has suffered horrendous side effects from it that cause him to have some of the same self-image questions in our sexual society that I have.
      The funding for a cure may not be as strong as it is for breast cancer because the treatment for prostate cancer is effective and by and large not nearly as invasive as those for breast cancer. Additionally, the rates of re-occurance in prostate cancer and the varieties of cancer are FAR less then breast cancer. Death rates in prostate cancer are largely based on the fact it’s onset and diagnosis are in older men
      (median age is 70) which means that older men are dying from the disease who may have already been “dying” from other causes (heart disease). The median age for women’s breast cancer diagnosis about 60. NOT that this is an excuse, just a guess at why funding is what it is. Breast cancer groups (like Komen) put a lot of energy into what they do, and that is certainly not because breast cancer is more important than prostate cancer — just who has the energy to fundraise . (By the way, I believe Komen could, and SHOULD, spend less money on their educational agenda and MORE on research)
      I DO NOT believe that breast cancer is more important that prostate cancer or more important than ANY CANCER – it just happens to be the cancer I had, making it pretty important to me.
      My blog piece, had you read it with an open mind instead of slanted by the original angry person that linked it to their site, was that the repercussions of losing a sexual part of your identity — MAN OR WOMAN – are similar to losing a body part. MOST men DO NOT lose function of their penis when they have prostate cancer or its treatment, (although some do) nor does their penis get cut off.
      Particularly for a women in a male dominated planet, losing a piece of your sexuality is difficult. And it IS a male dominated world, despite your assertion that men are “disposable”.
      No one’s disease is better or worse, this was simply my experience.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s