A breast cancer awareness campaign that is asking women to post Instagram photos with their bra straps exposed is facing criticism from survivors of the disease. The effort uses the hashtag #ShowYourStrap.
Metro.co.uk reported that some breast cancer survivors are firing back at the United Kingdom-based campaign, which has drawn the likes of supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and “Game of Thrones” actress Maisie Williams, as they believe the effort is exclusionary and sexualizes the disease. The charity Breast Cancer Now launched the campaign with department store Marks & Spencer— a retailer that does not offer bras for breast cancer patients who have had reconstructive surgery.
“What about people who’ve had double mastectomies and don’t wear bras? Or men? Breast cancer affects them too, and none of them have bra straps to show,” 31-year-old Kim Feast, who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, told Metro.co.uk.
Breast cancer bloggers like Loose Debra also argued the #ShowYourStrap selfies sexualize and objectify breast cancer patients.
“None of this sits comfortably,” Debra wrote on her blog in response to the #ShowYourStrap campaign.
Feast and other breast cancer survivors have begun a counter campaign with the organization Younger Breast Cancer and are encouraging women to use the hashtag #ShowYourScar.
Some proponents of the Breast Cancer Now campaign, which also asks people to donate 3 euros ($3.38) to charity, argued that despite the effort’s possible flaws, its organizer’s intentions are good.
“Breast cancer affects so many different people in so many different ways, and I think it’s important that we all remember this— people show their support in their own way,” Frances Haworth, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, told MailOnline.
Breast Cancer Now CEO Delyth Morgan said in a statement that women and men have different means of expressing their support for breast cancer awareness campaigns.
“However they choose to express themselves— whether by showing their strap, showing their scar, running a marathon, holding a pink party or making a donation— we appreciate them enormously,” she said in the statement.