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Today in Boobs

Superheroines Urge You to Self-Examine in These Mozambican Breast Cancer PSAs

DC Women Kicking Ass has brought this beautiful ad campaign to our attention, drawn by Maisa Chaves for DDB Mozambique, to raise awareness of regular breast exams among women at risk of breast cancer. The four ads each feature a different one of our favorite superheroines from DC and Marvel comics. It’s hard to think of a better way to start than with She-Hulk, who’s got her cousin’s radioactive blood running through her veins anyway.

But the series continues with Wonder Woman, Storm, and Catwoman.

The text of the posters reads: “Nobody’s immune to breast cancer.”

“There’s no women or superwomen. Everybody has to do the auto-examination monthly.”

“Fight with us against this enemy and, when in doubt, talk with your doctor.”

(Chaves’ Deviant Art via DC Women Kicking Ass.)

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  • Angel H.

    OMG! I love this soooo much!!!

  • Joanna

    If this wasn’t a breast cancer campaign, it’d just look like a bunch of comic book heroines groping themselves O.o

  •!/haversam [A]

    Wouldn’t it be useless to check your body while you’re still wearing a suit..?

  •!/haversam [A]

    ..and it would be called “manga”

  • Aleya Vigiogarms

    Looks like just another excuse to focus on their tits rather than their faces too me.

  • Anonymous

    See, comics can be marketed to women.

  • Internet Steve

    The topic is BREAST cancer. It is actually appropriate in this case.

  •!/haversam [A]

    off-topic: how come you don’t have a cute little avatar?

  • Anna B

    I do like the Wonder Woman one. That seems to speak to the purpose. The others are just breasty. The Catwoman one is so hard to see, too.

  • Anonymous

    It looks like She Hulk is taking a turn for the worse….

  • SuperZADL

    I just sent this to Xeni over at BoingBoing. I think she’ll appreciate it. 

  • Anonymous

    I like them except that Storm and Catwoman’s smiles seem a bit too pronounced. Comes off as them fondling instead of checking for lumps. It is a fantastic concept, though!

  • Anonymous

    The should have used a picture of Yaya Han!

  • Anonymous

    I give this 24 hours before: 1) The campaign goes viral; and 2) the misogynistic comments start to outweigh the general discussion.

  • Anonymous

    Want to have a WTF moment? In France, a geek website is organizing a contest to hijack the visual with photography. That right. Girls had to take picture of themselves checking their breasts and it will be posted on the website’s facebook. I’m all for self examinating my boobs, but I don’t want the internet to check them too.

  • Jaime

    Cancer is a mutation in the cell. Why it would even be an issue in a universe where any mutation has better-than-even chances of giving you superpowers is rather beyond me.

  • Rachael Derrick

    I hate this for exactly the reason Aleya Vigiogarms said – it’s just another way to imply that breasts are the most important parts of superhero women. As if comic women aren’t already reduced to their bodies. The least they could have done is include the faces rather than JUST THE MOUTHS (ew ew ewwwww). I’m really surprised that anyone is seeing this as a good thing.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    I really don’t understand why they don’t include the faces, but I like the idea behind this.

  • shiloh walker

    Perhaps people should read focus on the need FOR the exam…because here’s another reality.

  • Life Lessons

    I wish they had also shown their faces. :) 

  • Anonymous

  • Nick Johnson

    Would _you_ want your breasts going off and crusading against crime on their own?

  • evitalhealth

    Breast cancer is a largely unknown disease until today, despite the
    fact that it affects almost ten percent of the women above the age of
    forty years all over the world. The causes of this killer cancer are
    not known even after decades of research into it.

    Kavinace Kavinace

  • Ms. RAY J

    LOL!! Too funny!

  • Pauline Mulkerrins

    I like it. It’s about BREAST cancer, not FACE cancer. One of the main reasons women don’t do their self breast exams, besides they fact they don’t know how to do it properly, is because they are embarrassed. This shows fictional characters that represent strong women doing it fearlessly. 

  • Anonymous

    I’m lazy? :)

  •!/haversam [A]


  • Jeff Darling

    This campaign succeeds in rising breast cancer awareness in the target audience of females who read comic books.  Is that a huge demographic?  I think if you really want to raise awareness about breast cancer, don’t make it look like jerk off material for boys.  This campaign is tasteless and misses the point.

  • louxx015

    I think the obvious choice for this would be Power Girl.

  • Katie O’Neill

    Know what? I like this. I think it takes woman who are seen as powerful and often… untouchable (even though they aren’t real) and humanizes them, brings them down to a level that is recognizable and relatable. It shows how Breast Cancer can touch everyone, even superheros.

  • Madison Huffman

    I’m surprised they didn’t make their nipples pop out like in the actual comics. Of course when I first clicked on this it looked like a fan-service excuse.

  • K. D. Bryan

    I’ll eschew the obvious Power Girl joke and/or discussion of whether or not faces should have been included and just post a link to this site that funds free mammograms instead:

  • K. D. Bryan

    Also, at least take the CLAWED GLOVES off before thoroughly squeezing, poking and prodding your breasts, Selina. Jeez! As if they don’t suffer enough abuse from you constantly leaving that zipper down to your navel all the time.

  • liko natera

    It works. Brings the subject into discussion. Ever heard of “Gratuitous T&A” Well this is “Purposed T”. Well done.

  • Terence Ng

    Like BeBe’s breasts in South Park? Except they were conspiring to destroy the town. There’s your supervillain…who was summarily defeated by the application of a cardboard box.

  • Terence Ng

    I think the slight smile is to show that they are confident. If they did a version where the characters are morose and serious, they come off as weakening these superheroes. The criticism would be that when it comes to breast cancer (or any health-related issue), these powerful women become fearful and lose their power and agency.

    The subtle smile speaks to their characteristic confidence as powerful comic icons, who practice self breast examination as part of being who they are as health-conscious and mindful women, without it making them weaker for it. The subject is also about empowerment; the breast self-exam is something women can and should do to help promote early detection and prevent the development of a serious complication, whereas something like France’s depiction of Wonder Woman enfeebled and dying of AIDS in one of its ads is supposed to speak to the dangers of the disease and everyone’s vulnerability to it.

  • Clarissa Hardcastle

    Good point! Breast cancer is actually a big issue and we SHOULD be doing MORE things like this. It’s not just some creepy picture of super women’s breasts, it’s a message to women everywhere!

  • Anonymous

     I get what you mean, and I agree that having them look morose would have a completely different message. A subtle smile doesn’t bother me, like in the She-Hulk and Wonder Woman ones. It’s just the Catwoman and Storm ones in particular just look too pronounced, as I said. The first two struck a good balance between confident and indulgent, whereas the second two were skewed in the latter direction. But that’s just how they appear to me.

  • Jami JoAnne Russell

    If you have breasts, you’re at risk, so shouldn’t this be made to target everyone? Men get breast cancer too. 

    I like the idea, but it shouldn’t be made just to get women to check themselves for lumps. Men need to do self exams as well. 

  • Anonymous


  • Joona Palaste

    Go to Hell, you spammer.

  • Anonymous


  • Terence Ng

    For Storm’s, I think it’s because of the prominent red on her lips that I missed the smile. If you don’t see the continuing lines against her skin, it just looks like an expressionless mouth. Selina’s is much more prominent to me, but I just interpreted that one as being more salacious because it was Selina. I agree that it’s much weirded for Storm, She-Hulk, or Wonder Woman to have the same expressions.

  • liko natera

    I bet you feel so smart by saying that. Where do you come from? The “Ads of the World” forums? It works.

  • liko natera

    Thanks for sharing the link. I had no idea of this project and now I do, THANKS to this Super Hero campaign. And you too of course!

  • Anonymous

  • Mike Robbins

    Although I do like the intent of the message, the point made that doing it through the clothes is not as effective. However showing the bare breast might not be the best case considering it would probably be seen as blatant fanservice.

    I’m still waiting for the PSAs involving Batman and Superman checking themselves for testicular cancer. Wolverine would need to be extra careful…

  • Esile Sonia

    I have to agree with some of the commenters here that this seems to be blatant fanservice more than a PSA. While I do like the idea behind the campaign, I don’t like the execution. I think that by cropping out the faces and only showing the breasts, you’re actually dehumanizing the superwomen more. To me, it screams “the woman doesn’t matter, only the breasts.” I’d much prefer to see the supers’ faces as well because as a woman, I can’t feel a connection just to their breasts. So for me, the campaign is ineffective.

  • Kath

    Well, the bare breast thing might be more to do with decency laws or something. In many countries, a bare breast is not something to be shown in public for cultural or religious reasons. By doing it through their costumes – which are often flexible, form-fitting and so on – the artist could imply or visualise the check and the focus on the breast without showing anything that could be seen as distasteful by some.

    That’s society for you, though.

  • Kath

    I don’t think it is blatant fan service. I’ve seen people say they’re “groping” themselves and so on, but I don’t think they are. Yeah, I think showing their faces might have helped a bit, but the breasts are the focus as it is – after all – breast cancer that is the focus.

    I would say, though, that they’re working. Look at the comments above, they’ve got people discussing breast cancer, some sites linked to it (such as the SCAR project) and so on. It’s raising awareness.

    That, to me, is more important than worrying about the dehumanisation, objectification and/or sexualisation of women in or out of comics. That is a fight that needs to be won, a fight I fully support, but this is not the battleground for it. This campaign has hit the net, been on many sites, and raised awareness. That is what is important in this case.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t it sort of pointless for Wonder Woman to try that throught her _metal_ breast plate? Unless she plans on reshaping it afterward. Just sayin’.

  • Anthony Pilone

    Good link and shows female superheroes would keep aware of breast cancer for woman everywhere.

  • Cristobal Rodriguez Hernandez

    Typical small tits loser.

  • Anonymous

  • Pete Stein

    And it would be called “the greatest manga EVER.”

  • Philippe Lamaute

    what about powergirl?