Schools Cut The Cord On The "I Heart Boobies" Trend

Phrases such as "I Heart Boobies" and "Save the Ta-Tas" playfully adorn brightly colored bracelets in the same spirit as the Livestrong campaign, reaching similarly viral status among young people today. These trendy pieces of jewelry are marketing strategies from organizations such as Keep a Breast Foundation, in an attempt to garner awareness around breast cancer in a way that is refreshing, humorous, and light-hearted. Despite their good intentions, however, controversy has risen in school districts in California, Colorado, and Idaho, Florida, and Wisconsin, where the apparel and accessories that host these phrases are being banned. Are these schools just not getting the joke or is there really a sound argument against these seemingly innocent products?

Where The Problem Lies

Spokeswoman for the Clovis Unified School District in the Fresno area, Kelly Avants, explained to USA Today that the banning of the bracelets falls in line with the school district's dress code that outlaws jewelry with sexually suggestive language or images. Avants' statement echoes many others who oppose the "boobies" trend, protesting that the language of the campaign reduces breast cancer to mere body parts and dehumanizes the victim.

In Light Of Angelina

The recent discussion surrounding Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy sheds a different light on the problematic language of these popular accessories.  Shirts that exclaim "Save the Ta-Tas" can appear a little unsettling when faced with the realities of the surgical procedures that those with breast cancer often endure. Could the expansion of these bracelets in popular culture serve as an unpleasant reminder to those who have suffered the physical losses of breast cancer?

Defending the Campaign

Julia Fikse, clothing designer, and founder of The Save the Ta-Tas Foundation and Ta-Tas brand would say otherwise, as her organization stems from the belief that a positive spirit, laughter, and fun help fight a serious disease.  In 2011, Keep a Breast Foundation, creators of the "I Heart Boobies" bracelets, generated a total income of over $3.6 million. While only 6% of this total goes to general donations, 92% goes to programs that expand the awareness and education of breast cancer. So while many have a lot to say about their unconventional campaign, their slogan is speaking for itself through its success in reaching people and making an impact on breast cancer awareness,