A Toronto artist is getting crafty in an attempt to get women to know their breasts so they can better identify dangerous changes. Called Boobs & Dinks, Shannon Gerard’s project features crocheted boobs (dinks for the guys!) with small lumps that can be found using the enclosed instructions. The point is to encourage self breast exams (testicle examinations for men) and to promote better body awareness, minus the embarrassment some feel.
"Talking to people about your fear, especially about your body, is really bizarre and intimidating," Gerard said in this Reuters report. "I thought the idea of making something soft like a plush toy you could play with while talking would mediate the conversation in a way that was less weird or less scary."
But are we even supposed to be doing those exams anyway?
When the Canadian Cancer Society reversed its longstanding position last year that women should do monthly self exams and rely instead on doctors’ exams and mammograms to detect breast cancer, it sparked a lot of confusion. The notion of a monthly self breast exam has been long ingrained. But are we now supposed to skip it altogether?
No, say the experts. The point is women shouldn’t feel that they have to do the regimented self exams we’ve all been seeing for years in all those posters and pamphlets. But knowing your breasts – and what feels normal for you – is still an important first step to catching dangerous changes early.
So go ahead and play with those boobs and dinks. And while you’re at it, buy one for someone you love too. Five dollars from each sale goes to a cancer recovery initiative in Hamilton, Ontario.