‘I Heart Boobies’ Garb for Breast Cancer: Tasteful or Tacky for Teens?

The issue of whether the “I heart boobies” T-shirts and wristbands are appropriate for students to wear at school has been debated across the country. The slogan, which is meant to raise awareness for breast cancer, has also raised questions about free speech and the rights set forth by the First Amendment. 

Would you be OK with your kids wearing something with this slogan on it? Is it fair to punish those that do wear them? And is the serious message about breast cancer lost in the controversy?

Our Coronado Moms Council weighs in.

Tonia Accetta: I have firsthand experience with my teenager wearing a breast cancer T-shirt at school and getting in trouble. I had not seen the T-shirt before, but quite often an older friend passes down his clothing as he out grows them (very much appreciated as they grow so fast). The principal called me at home to tell me that the offensive clothing item was in his possession and that I had to collect it from the school. I was shocked and could not wait to get to the school to see what this offensive T-shirt could possibly say!

Well, it was the Breast Cancer T-shirt with the logo “I Love Boobies.” It seemed harmless enough to me and seemed that the school overreacted. I do understand that allowing this logo would open the door for many other cancer foundations and charities to print similar logos, and I would NOT like my daughter wearing one for testicular cancer with a similar saying. Oh that would be bad!  School dress codes are very subjective, and they would be better if they adopted a uniform.

Tam Dorow: Ummm …”I love boobies” T-shirts and wristbands.  It would be stating the obvious if boys wear this stuff, but I haven’t seen any boys or men wearing them. Women and girls wearing them elicits no response from me, as I’m so used to seeing explicit messages in provocative places. I find it a bit crass, but maybe I’m old fashioned. We all have various body parts; we just don’t broadcast them to the world. I wish them luck getting their message out about breast cancer, and if this is going to help, then more power to them. 

Suzette Valle: The breast cancer awareness wristbands are a very sensitive issue with many people, one that has already been dealt with in court. Some schools across the country initially banned the “I (heart) boobies” wristbands (which are made right here in Carlsbad, CA) claiming they are a distraction for kids because of the double meaning implied by the slogans.

Public displays of support to raise awareness about the deadly disease are essential, but we also have to teach our young children to be respectful of this issue and mindful of those who are wearing these bracelets.

If your child chooses to wear one, have a good talk with her or him and make sure they understand why they are wearing one. Those likely to giggle or smirk about the double meaning of some of the slogans on breast cancer awareness products probably don’t know how important the message imprinted on them is.

Meet our Moms:

Tonia Accetta is a British born, boarding-school educated, stay-at-home mom of a teenage boy and a preteen girl. She moved to Coronado in 2002 from Florida with her husband of 15 years looking for a better school system than Florida had to offer. Both children attend Coronado Unified Schools. She is currently on the Coronado Youth Softball board covering many positions (offers of help are always welcome!), and she is a co-leader and cookie mom for Girl Scout Troop 5039.

Tam Dorow emigrated from Vietnam to the U.S. when she was 10 years old, and grew up in Lansing, MI. She has a B.S. in Engineering from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Chicago. She worked at all Big 3 US car companies in Engineering and International Finance.  She was a management consultant and started a management consulting firm in Indiana. She’s been a stay-at-home mom for the last 10 years. She’s served on the board of directors for Village Elementary Parents And Teachers Together (PATT), is a past president of Coronado Youth Softball, and is a current member of the board of directors for Coronado Little League. She married her college sweetheart, two children, a dog, and a 21-year-old cat. 

Suzette Valle is a 20-year resident of Coronado. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of San Diego, and has an M.A. from Oxford University, England. After a career as an investment banker, she married and moved from high finance to high drama. She’s the mother of two teenagers, one at Purdue University, another at Coronado High School. She is bilingual and bicultural. She’s held many volunteer positions among various Coronado community organizations: vice-president of Coronado Youth Softball 2007-2010, director for the Islander Sports Foundation 2008-2010, and served on both the PTO 2006 and PTA 2005. She was recognized by Time Warner Cable as one of San Diego’s “50 Best Moms” in 2006, and has been part of the judging panel for the last four years. She blogs at MamarazziKnowsBest.com, and is a featured Hollyblogger at TheWrap.com, where she blogs about parenting in a celebrity-driven society. In 2010 she appeared on the Dr. Phil Show discussing Reality TV, and was a presenter at San Diego’s Head to Toe Women’s Expo speaking about Hollywood’s far-reaching influence on children’s daily lives and family values.