Society is notoriously squeamish when it comes to regarding breasts outside the context of sex and stereotypical notions of "sexiness". People get uncomfortable about women breastfeeding in public and ads that merely hint at the presence of bare nipples get censored on public transport networks. In 2017.
But one charity, working towards combatting this bizarre stigma, has won the right to show a female nipple on daytime TV for the first time next week. The ad, from breast cancer charity CoppaFeel!, shows women how to examine their breasts with their hands for symptoms of the disease and will also be featured in the cinema and on digital posters.
The campaign urges people to "trust your touch", a message inspired by the charity's research which found that a worrying 80% of women aged 18-29 don't check their breasts regularly, with 60% saying they lacked the confidence to know how to do it.
Most young women think there's a specific way to check their breasts for cancer, but in reality it's pretty straightforward, as the charity highlights in the video. The short ad shows people touching various inanimate objects in the hope of normalising breasts and making self-checking seem less intimidating.
The charity won the right to air the ad from ClearCast, the screening service for commercial TV channels, after it made the case that many women still don't know how to check their own bodies for irregularities that could be symptoms of breast cancer.
“CoppaFeel! exists to help everyone stand the best possible chance of surviving breast cancer, because if found early it is very treatable and survival rates are significantly higher," said Natalie Kelly, the charity's CEO. "In demonstrating the power of our hands and celebrating our touch as the best tool for checking, we hope to encourage more young people across the UK to adopt a healthy boob checking habit, which could one day save their life.”
As well as lumps, other symptoms of breast cancer include indentation, skin sores, redness or heat, unusual fluid, dimpling, a retracted nipple, and more, as the #KnowYourLemons campaign highlighted earlier this year.