Friday, October 30, 2009

OMG! Breasts on TV!

Don’t get your panties in a twist just yet. We’re not replaying Janet Jackson’s ‘accidental’ over exposure during the Superbowl. WJLA ABC 7 aired a news segment called “Touch of Life” which was aimed at educating women on the importance of self-breast exams and how to do them. Breast Cancer is one of the leading killers among women and ABC 7 has set out to inform women on how to fight it, in a “full frontal” news report.

A portion of the segment was dedicated to instructional footage of a woman, partially nude, doing a self-breast exam. The segment was done “tastefully, very clinically… everything is instructional” according to reporter Gail Pennybacker. However, the news report was not without criticism.

Critics of the news report claim that it is “exploiting women to exploit the audience.” Give me a break! I’m with reporter Julie Parker on this one: ““There’s nothing sexy about this, it’s a self-breast exam.” Other critics find that this was more-or-less an attempt to boost ratings at the beginning of “Sweeps” month, a period when news channels air their most eye catching reports in order to increase ratings and, thus, attract more advertisements. WJLA’s General Manager Bill Lord responded to these comments by saying that “Yes, this is an attention-getting story, but it's also an important story.” (Washington Post)

Important indeed. Surprisingly enough, most women don’t know how to do a self breast exam. In order to effectively educate women, WJLA decided to “bare all.” General Manager Bill Lord said that after consulting with medical experts, WJLA decided that news reports on breast-cancer detection “haven't offered enough detail” to be an effective educational tool.

Health Insurance doesn’t cover routine mammograms until the age of 40 and so for those in their 20s and 30s, self-exams are absolutely vital; breast cancer knows no age. Those who are criticizing WJLA for his report need to take a step back and think about what the message of this report is. This was not a distasteful attempt to increase ratings, it was purely an attempt to educate and inform. I’m proud of ABC 7 for airing this report and realizing how important it is to be educated and truly understand Breast Cancer and how we can prevent it. Furthermore, ABC 7 plans to air the remaining segments of the report; Lord says that “"The public benefits of this will outweigh any criticism."

If you're like most women and do not know how to do a self-breast exam, click here to watch the segment and get educated! Warning, this video contains adult content. View discretion is advised.

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