NEW YORK – Breast cancer awareness campaign #boobsoverbellybuttons says it wants to raise awareness about the disease by asking women to post photos of themselves on social media feeling their own breasts. But Aimee Fletcher, who was diagnosed with oestrogen positive breast cancer last June, says this campaign and others like it do little to show the harsh realities of the illness, and instead sexualize the women participating in them.
“I would like these types of campaigns to stop,” Fletcher, 32, told FOX411. “They're very insensitive, and are usually just a trend in social media. I'm all for raising awareness to showcase what breast cancer really looks like. It feels like it's just for women who want to get their breast out on the Internet.”
Hannah Isichei, the PR and Marketing Manager for UK based company Curvy Kate, the company behind #boobsoverbellybuttons, disagrees.
“The #boobsoverbellybuttons images aren’t sexual – they are a reminder, a statement and if it encourages more people to check for breast cancer then it can only help,” she said. “If it saves one life – then it’s worthwhile.”
Curvy Kate created their campaign along with another group, CoppaFeel, in response to #bellybuttonschallenge, which shows women twisting their arms around their bodies to touch their bellybuttons, as a sign they are skinny enough for bikini season.
“We thought if people are going to spend time trying to reach round to their belly buttons and share that message, why not spend time doing a boob-check and sharing that, which is a far more positive health message and could actually change your life," said Isichei.
Our new #starinabra winner @sophia_adamsss is supporting the #boobsoverbellybuttons campaign too! We're reaching out to men and women all over the world, regardless of shape, age, boob size etc. If you have 5 mins, get to know your body, check your boobs and understand what normal is for YOU! Find out more details on our blog! See link in bio. #checkyourboobs @coppafeelpeople
Clinical psychologist Dr. Chloe Carmichael says that campaigns with their hearts in the right place can be very effective.
“Curvy Kate and CoppaFeel are not trying to make light of cancer or sexualize it,” Carmichael said. “They are trying to use social media as a way to harness women's natural interest in their bodies (including the interest of some women in displaying their bodies as a way to celebrate them in a public forum) as a tool for early detection and treatment of cancer.”
Last week, another campaign, #HoldACokeWithYourBoobsChallenge, was discovered to have been started by an adult entertainment company as a joke. Fletcher found the fake campaign so repulsive that she posted a picture showing her breasts after her double mastectomy and holding a soda bottle with the caption “Here's my #holdacokewithyourboobchallange don't I look beautiful #breastcancer #TheCWord @youngbcblog.”
Fletcher said she decided to post her picture after attending the funeral of a friend, also 32, who died from breast cancer.
“In a moment of grief and anger I decided to take the picture," she said. "I wanted to show people exactly what breast cancer looks like, and that it's not glamorous or sexy or fun. People die."
Fox News.com Reporter and FOX411 host Diana Falzone covers celebrity news and interviews some of today's top celebrities and newsmakers. You can follow her on Twitter @dianafalzone.