Mel B’s breasts in cancer awareness row
Cosmopolitan magazine criticised for topless photo of Spice Girl Mel B in its October issue.
The shoot was done for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to promote breast cancer charity CoppaFeel!‘s campaign to highlight the importance of women checking their breasts for signs of cancer.
Mel B posed topless with her husband Stephen Belafonte’s hands covering her breasts to recreate the iconic 1993 Rolling Stone magazine cover which featured Janet Jackson.
They were pictured together as the first signs of breast cancer are often spotted by a women’s partner and the magazine thought this would make the message more powerful to the younger generation.
But in an article in the Daily Mail, Natalie Shalom, who lost her mother to breast cancer and has two sisters suffering from the disease, said Cosmopolitan magazine had taken the message of self-examination and “distorted it into a seedy, self-promoting snapshot.”
She asked if Mel B and her advisers had “any idea how it might feel for a woman who has lost her breasts to look at the singer’s surgically boosted cleavage being manhandled in the name of breast cancer self-awareness?”
Cosmopolitan’s editor Louise Court said the point of the campaign was for young women to take preventative action, before it was too late.
“We wanted the photograph of Mel to be eye-catching and glamorous, and knew it might be a little controversial.
“But it was never intended to be disrespectful to women battling breast cancer, or to those who have lost loved ones to the disease.”
Founder of CoppaFeel! Kristin Hallenga, diagnosed with breast cancer young – at the age of 23 – defended Cosmopolitan’s stance and said the aim of these pictures was to ensure younger women knew about the signs of breast cancer.
She told the Daily Mail: “Telling young women about the dark days of chemotherapy is not going to persuade my generation to check their breasts.
“If anything, it will scare them into doing nothing – and the fear of this disease must be stamped out or many young women will be diagnosed too late, as I was.”
CoppaFeel! has set out to be different, clever and cheeky, to ensure young women are taking notice of their breasts and to make sure they know that it is not just a disease for older people.
The picture may be controversial but if it shocks women enough to take preventative measures against this disease then surely it can only be a good thing.