Student Research Projects

Sexualization of Breast Cancer

Student Darlene Flucker, '18
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Women's and Gender Studies
Course Women’s and Gender Studies 219: Women in Culture and Society


This research is to show how breast cancer is another sexualized facet of female life in mainstream media. This inherent sexualization can affect the awareness and knowledge, the detection, and the treatment of breast cancer. The research was conducted using a content analysis of breast cancer advertisements, media stories, and academic writings about the topic. Feminist essays about breasts and their sexualization were important pieces to enlist in the critique of mainstream media and the importance put on the female form. What is learned from this research is that breasts are held closely to the ideal feminine woman, and placing such an importance on the need for breasts for male stimulation is used as a tool of patriarchal control to ensure the female form does not deviate from what is wanted. This research can make a contribution to society with the simple fact of persuading women to be critical of the media they consume and how they choose to let that affect their self determination in decision making.