Not according to many people. The Check 'em Tuesday campaign has adhered to the Page 3 house style, hot babes, boobs, big smile. Arguably it matches the cheerful aesthetic of CoppaFeel, but also arguably it comes across as a little frivolous considering the subject. Stella Duffy @stellduffy tweeted "@NoMorePage3 had mastectomy/ reconstruction 3.5 wks ago. am disgusted by #sunpaper's trivialisation of #breastcancer".
The No More Page 3 campaign have published a response to this collaboration and it has evidently been challenging to come up with a statement that is respectful to those who have breast cancer while maintaining the NMP3 stance. "We really hope that this campaign succeeds in encouraging women to check their breasts who otherwise wouldn't - and we love the notion of women supporting other women. We applaud the models for doing what they feel is right to help and congratulations to the founder of Coppa Feel for securing this partnership with a powerful platform like the Sun...That said, we can't help but feel that it's a real shame the Sun has decided to use these sexualised images of young women to highlight breast cancer. They will say that they want to use the power of page 3 as a force for good - we say that a society in which sexualised images of young women are seen as that powerful has to change."
In a video featuring David Dinsmore and CoppaFeel founder Kris Hallenga discussing why they have collaborated on Check 'em Tuesdays Kris talks about how, at 23 when she was diagnosed, she had believed herself to be too young to get breast cancer. Just as many young women think cervical cancer is something older women are in danger of. When discussing who would attend a miscarriage charity event my 25 year old co-worker said she wouldn't go because she was too young for miscarriage to ever apply to her.
While a man's risk of cervical cancer and miscarriage is zero (shocking statistic) there are many, many men who believe they are as likely to get breast cancer as they are cervical cancer. Both Dinsmore and Hallenga categorically say this campaign is for young women, in spite of the fact the Sun's massive readership is predominantly male. Now, this is where mens rights activists might have more of a leg to stand on than usual (usually they have none). Evoking Shylock's "If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?" If men have breasts - and they do - are they not at risk of breast cancer?
If anything Check 'em Tuesday has sparked debate over how we discuss breast cancer. The cancer we can discuss, but only in relation to women. I understand that in men, breast cancer is very rare. There are around 130 women to every man diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2010 49,564 women were diagnosed. This does not, however, mean we ignore the risk for men - or very importantly female to male trans men. Should we, I wonder, be looking into the pinkification of breast cancer in order to save more lives?