Yesterday we were contacted by a supporter who alerted us to a chocolatier, Junee Licorice and Chocolate, selling “Bottle of Boobs” – a container of disembodied chocolate women’s breasts. While our team loves chocolate and can’t get enough of it, this product put us off.
At a time when the harms of sexualised depictions of women are acknowledged, why would any reputable company think it appropriate to objectify and demean women in this way, reducing women to a series of sexualised parts for literal consumption?
In an email to the company, Movement Director Melinda Tankard Reist asked, “Why would you tarnish your brand with this sexist product? Is this a reflection of your attitudes toward women?”
The company have since responded, defending the objectifying product on the basis that they donate a portion of the profits to breast cancer charities.
But many women who have experienced breast cancer object to these kind of trivialising, sexualising and dehumanising breast cancer “awareness” campaigns that reduce women’s worth to having perky, intact breasts – a slap in the face for those who lost theirs. As breast cancer survivor Carlia McCallum expressed to us last month, “Having to deal with our illness being sexualised for capital gain is sickening.”
Reducing women to a series of sexualised body parts doesn’t become harmless just because a percentage of the profits are donated to breast cancer charities. Sexual objectification harms women and girls, and there is no justification for it.
Collective Shout supporters weighed in on social media:
"Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory have demonstrated a refusal to see this for what it is - appropriating women’s body parts for $$$. Just because a portion of the profits are being donated doesn’t make this ok. Stop 👏🏻 Objectifying 👏🏻 Women," wrote Renee Chopping.
Bénedicté Bertrand shared a quote, "We really have normalised the sexual dehumanisation of women in virtually every facet of our society."
"I can’t imagine people buying this product are seriously pondering us, who have endured breast cancer, when devouring these chocolates. I imagine it’s a joke for them…bought for “laughs”. I don’t want to think about how they eat them either…it reduces the supposed “cause” to grotesque sexualisation of breast cancer," wrote Lynette Bengtson.
"As a woman still undergoing treatment, who has decided to remain flat, it’s a kick in the face to constantly be reminded that men want tits, tits make us women, and I don’t have them anymore. Will I ever got chocolate breasts? No. When I look at these chocolate breasts, I think of bucks parties, not cancer awareness. Did they claim that it’s a cancer thing after the fact? Because nothing about huge chocolate norks says ‘cancer’ to me," wrote Carlia McCallum.
"Thank you so much for your advocacy. As someone who made the painful choice to have my breasts removed to save my life, I find others profiting off my pain (and other women's pain/illness) repugnant. Cancer is not sexy," wrote Jill Caporlingua.