High School Bans Cheerleaders From Wearing Breast Cancer Awareness Shirts

High school cheerleaders in Gilbert, Ariz. aren’t allowed to wear shirts meant to boost breast cancer awareness that read “Feel for Lumps, Save Your Bumps.” Administrators call the slogan objectionable and have banned the girls from wearing the shirts at football games.

The school’s principal defends the decision to the Arizona Republic:

“In no way is the school administration against Breast Cancer Awareness Month or initiatives students might take in support of it; we just want to make sure we’re in the bounds of appropriate boundaries of a school setting.”

Counters a cheerleader, “We’re not saying anything a doctor wouldn’t say.”

This isn’t the first time students have faced administrative censorship over controversial breast cancer campaign slogans. Back in April, a federal judge ruled that students could wear bracelets that read “I (heart) Boobies! (Keep a Breast).”

When Gilbert junior high students started wearing the bracelets last year, school administration banned them.

Gilbert school calls slogan on breast-cancer T-shirts inappropriate [Arizona Republic]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Rebecca K-S says:

    I’m torn on this. I think there are benefits to having playful slogans that are more likely to draw attention and interest, but sometimes I really do get tired of the juvenile breast puns.

    • qwickone says:

      +1 I also see the need to keep it appropriate at school. And it’s not something a doctor would say – the message is the same, but the words are different and I think that’s the issue here.

      • orion70 says:

        And to a degree, only half the message is the same. The focus is not all about saving a breast, it is about saving the woman’s life.

    • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

      Yeah, I agree with you on that. I just think that raising a fuss over it and banning it is a stupid reaction.

    • WarOtter - I went to Japan and all I got was this tumor. says:

      Totally, whoever thought of this slogan was a total boob. Probably thought of it when they ate at Hooters.

      Man that whole Listeria thing is scary, I feel like I can’t trust any melons.


      Okay I’m done.

    • dolemite says:

      Lumps and bumps are not exactly curse words. Like…on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the worst) of objectionable speech, I’d say that phrase is a 2. I don’t think it’s even juvenile.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        My objection is the sexualizing of junior high students, not the words themselves.

        • LanMan04 says:

          Except they’re high school students. And what about “bumps” is sexual?

        • deathbecomesme says:

          females are starting to hit sexual maturity at the age of 12 and some even sooner now. Males are also hitting maturity(sexual) alot earlier too. You think they don’t see the changes happening to their body by the time they are in high school? Pretending like sex doesnt exist till you are in high school is dumb. We need to inform these kids about safe sex etc because they are going to do it whether we ignore them hitting puberty or not

          • JennQPublic says:

            We’re not talking about informing kids about safe sex, we’re talking about whether or not it’s appropriate for school-age teens to wear clothing that hints at sexuality. And it’s just not. Teens need to learn about when and where is appropriate to present yourself like this, and according to the administration, this high school is not that place. Good for them!

            • dolemite says:

              I’d argue that HS is the perfect time for them to start learning about sexuality. Because they are going to be engaging in it around 15,16,17…someone had better tell them the facts asap.

              Probably doesn’t hurt for them to know things about breast cancer, HPV, cervical cancer and all the rest either.

        • Jawaka says:

          What gets me are the shorts and sweat pants that the little girls wear that say “punk” on the ass. Why would any parent ever buy their daughter or let their young daughter wear clothing that attracts attention to their butts?

      • Bakkster says:

        “We’re not saying anything a doctor wouldn’t say.”
        Does anyone have a doctor who refers to breasts as ‘bumps’?

        • mikeMD says:

          I can think of a lot of things I say in the course of a day that while good advice, does not belong on a Tshirt.

          But yes, there are doctors that recommend not examining. At the risk of opening a big can of worms, there is still NOT a recommendation for self exams because it’s not proven in population based studies to reduce breast cancer mortality. That said, most clinicians have personal experience with women that find their own lumps, even after normal exams or mammograms. I am not trying to start a debate here but acknowledge that it’s not a universal recommendation either.

          From USPSTF 2011 guide:
          Clinicians who advise women to perform BSE [Breast Self Exam] or
          who perform routine CBE [Clinical Breast Exam] to screen for breast
          cancer should understand that there is currently
          insufficient evidence to determine whether these
          practices affect breast cancer mortality, and that
          they are likely to increase the incidence of clinical
          assessments and biopsies.

          Full text of summary here:

    • JennQPublic says:

      I’m tired of breast cancer getting special attention just because it happens to boobies. I mean, I love ’em too, mine and everyone else’s, but cancer sucks wherever it happens. I can’t help but think that so much focus on this one kind (for superficial reasons) must hurt efforts to combat other cancers.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        My huge problem is that a lot of breast cancer awareness is Breast Cancer Awareness (c) Susan G. Komen for The Cure (r)(tm). That organization only puts a mere 20 cents of every dollar they get to research. I’d rather give a dollar on the dollar to research and not have people think I’m an asshole* because I won’t give to that pink ribbon foundation.

        (* I’m an asshole for other reasons, just not this one )

        • JennQPublic says:

          What?? You don’t want to buy a $10 pink ribbon to wear!?

          Why do you love breast cancer so much?!?

        • jono_0101 says:

          at my work, we do a company sponsored fundraiser for breast cancer, and people who donate get pink baloons posted at their desk, so its obvious to everyone who the people are that DIDNT donate, so i dont contribute there out of principal, i still give money through other sources, but as rodney ruxin says, i dont negotiate with charity terrorists

        • mianne prays her parents outlive the TSA says:

          My issue with Komen is that funds are directed toward detection and treatment, as opposed to prevention and cure. — Particularly when so many of their promotional efforts are associated with unhealthful food products which are likely to increase cancer rates.

      • Rebecca K-S says:

        I can’t argue with that. Especially when you look at the survival rates for some other cancers as compared to breast.

      • orion70 says:

        And as a person who just went through a year of breast cancer treatment, I’m tired of this attitude. It doesn’t get special attention “because it happens to boobies” , it gets attention because of how common it is.

        BTW, you CAN elevate the cause for other diseases without cutting down one that is equally serious.

        • 12341223 says:

          Disagree. Sorry about your cancer, but do you mean to tell me the entire country isn’t aware of breast cancer by now?
          Prostate cancer is pretty common too, but I don’t see t-shirts reminding men to have their oil checked. Testicular cancer can be common too, but I don’t see wristbands saying slogans like “Grab Yo’ Nuts!”

          • orion70 says:

            My point is that you can increase awareness of, say, prostate cancer without the whole “I wish everyone would STFU about breast cancer”. I’m equally tired of the whole pinkification of breast cancer, but more so that it seems to have created this backlash attitude of minimization of breast cancer as a whole. I’m talking about that, and the whole “mine mine mine!! I deserve it more!!!” funding issue. Its not a contest.

            And I can only speak for myself, but before I was diagnosed and went through treatment, there was LOADS I did not know about this disease.

            • brettb says:

              I’m pretty sure it *is* a contest. Public attention, media attention, donor funds, government funds are all limited resources. A better pitch can capture a higher fraction of those resources for a given cause even when another cause may affect more people more severely.

          • anti09 says:

            Prostate Cancer has a mortality rate of about 15%, is usually slow growing, and typically easily treatable. Testicular cancer is almost 100% curable if caught early. Breast cancer has a mortality rate closer to 35%, and we’re much less informed on what causes it, how to prevent it and how to treat it. Speaking as a guy, I’d much rather my dollars go towards researching the disease killing people twice as fast.

      • Jawaka says:

        I agree. It’s just a business IMO and nothing more. No offense to women but finding a cure for breast cancer doesn’t rank any higher with me than finding a cure for all cancers.

        And you know what else? No, I don’t want to wear a pink ribbon. My wearing your pink ribbon isn’t going to scare cancer into submission.

      • rmorin says:

        I think some companies are pink-washing things too for personal gain. Maybe not financial, but to draw in new costumers. The obvious example is the NFL. They only donated about a million bucks last year despite wearing pink accessories for literally one fourth of all football games.
        The pink merchandise they sell, only “a portion of proceeds” ends up to charity. The fact that so many games have the pink accessories makes it less impactful as players generally slowly start to wear less and less until the end of the month when it’s just a smattering of pink.

      • Brunette Bookworm says:

        I’ve known multiple people who have DIED from breast cancer. I’ve known a couple young guys who have had testicular cancer and have recovered from it and are years past the diagnosis. My mom has breast cancer that has metastasized to her lungs and will eventually kill her. Breast cancer is way too common and still too deadly.

    • El_Cheapocabra says:

      As long as no one is quoting “My Humps,” I don’t care. Sorry, they are not now, nor will they ever be “my lovely lady lumps.”

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:


    • aloria says:

      Wearing a pink shirt with a cute slogan does little for the cause. Awareness? Anyone not living under a rock knows about breast cancer by now. How about getting off your butt and do some fundraising or volunteer work? Wearing a shirt or pink ribbon is just a lazy way to feel good about “doing something” without having to put in any actual effort.

  2. EccentricJeff says:

    If we all put our heads in the sand, breast cancer will just go away!

    • Hi_Hello says:

      Actually, I have this theory… with the amount of money hospital and researcher get because of the breast cancer awareness…. why would they want to find the cure? my guess whoever find the cure will be famous…

      I can see other diseases, if someone find a cure they can be make money from it… but will making money from breast cancer cure be more or less than what they are getting from all these breast cancer campaign ?

    • JennQPublic says:

      If we all wear edgy slogans and scream about breast cancer all the time, it will go away!

    • XianZomby says:

      Can you cite a source for this?

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      If we all ‘think pink’ and focus on ‘ta tas’ instead of making preventative health care easily affordable and accessible, breast cancer will go away! Right?

  3. Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

    It makes sense that this should be offensive in AZ, everyone knows that people in AZ don’t have breasts or any sort of gender specific body parts.

    It’s my kinda place.

    • JennyCupcakes misses her grandson says:

      No boobies would make our hugs much easier to accomplish!

    • edicius is an acquired taste says:

      I just can’t comprehend what’s so offensive about breasts. I mean, everyone should love them! I know I do! They’re like “LOG”…they’re better than bad, they’re good!

      • Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

        Seriously, LOG. That is about as obscure a reference you can make and maintain the “I’m not that old” credentials.,

  4. dolemite says:

    Ok so…as many would point out, free speech doesn’t apply to businesses and workers or clients. Schools are governmental institutions, therefore free speech should apply. But ruling after ruling seems to state students do not have free speech until they exit the school system. Which is objectionable, as children are forced by law to attend school.

    • Greg Ohio says:

      What better way to prepare the next generation of Americans to lead a democracy than to educate them in a dictatorship?

    • formergc says:

      Actually, the decisions don’t say that. They simply say that a minor student’s free speech rights are countervailed by the school’s mission to educate. The key elements are that they are minors in school.

  5. JennyCupcakes misses her grandson says:

    I’m just here for the pink cupcakes.

    Also, go boobies!

  6. ash says:

    The worst thing about this campaign is that the national preventive task services recommends AGAINST self breast examination.

    • Toffeemama is looking for a few good Otters says:

      Besides, if this campaign is targeted toward high school students, it’s next to useless. I can see the warning about “checking for lumps” causing a ton of confusion for teenagers who are still developing.

      • orion70 says:

        It is early, true, but the unfortunate thing is that there are more younger women being diagnosed with breast cancer.

    • pinkbunnyslippers says:

      I agree – My mother found her stage 4 lumps at the age during self-examination. When I bring up these ‘recommendations’ she goes ballistic.

      You know your own body. A bunch of ivory tower doctors sitting in a board room do not.

      • orion70 says:

        I don’t know why anyone would discourage lowering awareness of your body for ANY reason. The only drawback I could see to this is relying solely on BSE’s, because not all cancers are palpable at a time they can be detected via mammogram, or are missed for whatever reason.

      • orion70 says:

        BTW, I also agree that BSE’s should be done. I found my lump by myself, although not via a technical BSE. And good luck getting a mammogram if you’re under 40, so what else are you supposed to do ?

        • George4478 says:

          Under 40, who is stopping you from calling a doctor/hospital and scheduling a mammogram? Or is it a problem finding someone else that’s willing to pay for it?

          • orion70 says:

            (FWIW I’m in Canada ) I went to a doctor with a breast abnormality (skin changes, opposite breast) once and was sent home with a “you’re too young for breast cancer” and a tube of cream. Doctors can be very dismissive if you’re not at “that age”. Leading up to and even when I was newly diagnosed was told several times that I was too young for it. And there are women much younger than myself being diagnosed.

  7. mauispiderweb says:

    They found the word “bumps” objectionable? So, what word would be acceptable in a school setting … where there are classes in health and sex ed. And what was wrong with wearing bracelets for a cause?

  8. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

    Wait, what is this breast cancer that they are speaking of? I had never heard of it until this point. I, for one, find nothing wrong with high school girls wearing things that tell me to think of their breasts.

    But seriously, I often wonder how much more could go to research if we stopped painting/coloring things pink and just donated that money.

    • Wasp is like Requiem for a Dream without the cheery bits says:

      You went there which leads me to believe that you’ve been spending too much time on G+ :D

      As have I since I had a dream about a teenage boy last night.

    • Jillia says:

      Not that I totally disagree with you, but the painted pink stuff is more likely aimed at people who otherwise wouldn’t think to donate.

      I don’t exactly have breast cancer on my mind while shopping at Target, but let’s say I see one of those cute little pink pans with the matching pots and think, oh hey, I love pink (I don’t) and what do you know, part of my money will go to a good cause. That’s money, albeit a small portion of money, but it’s money nonetheless that will go to a cause that otherwise wouldn’t have gone there without pink pots and pans grabbing your attention. Something is better than nothing.

    • SabreDC says:

      Why don’t you have a seat over there… *points*

      • Mike says:

        He was just trying to be a mentor, he didn’t intend on doing anything. The condoms and beer are things he just always carries around.

  9. agent 47 says:

    This country really annoys me sometimes. Ok, pretty much all the time.

  10. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Sexploitation of children disguised as cancer awareness.

    There are better ways to express the magnanimus effort to prevent breast cancer.

    • Coffee says:

      Sexploitation of children? These are high school students wearing breast cancer shirts, not 9-year-olds wearing shirts with oblique sexual references. If they’re adult enough to receive sex education and free condoms, they’re adult enough to wear a shirt that refers to breasts as “bumps”.

    • NotEd says:

      I thought it was cancer awareness disguised as Sexploitation of children?
      What wrong with that?

  11. danc4498 says:

    Misleading/false headline… They aren’t banned from wearing all breast cancer awareness shirts, just the ones that focus on saving the breast as opposed to saving the human’s life.

  12. Beave says:

    There are a lot of recommended medical practices and treatments that we don’t need to discuss in detail. Anyone want to make up a slogan for getting your semen checked for sperm following a vasectomy to make sure it was effective? Anyone want to see kids wearing t-shirts that say “after you’re cut, make sure you cum in a cup?”

    Breast Cancer awareness is fine, these shirts are probably on the line in a school setting. It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that in the minds of a typical middle or high schooler at some point you’ll have girls demonstrating the self-exam. Heck, my first thought upon reading this was “I wonder if they’re going to do a cheer to demonstrate.”

  13. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    There was a whole episode of The Gruen Planet where they looked at ‘The Pink Movement’ (i.e. corporate breast cancer charity) and how effective it really is…

    Fascinating stuff to watch.

  14. StarKillerX says:

    “We’re not saying anything a doctor wouldn’t say.”

    Well the same could be said if the shirt said “I’m going to insert this into your vagina/rectum” but I doubt that would excuse it. lol!

  15. Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

    Ahh, more high school kids wanting to make sexual puns under the guise of actually caring.

    • The Twilight Clone says:

      That’s exactly what this is. The kids know it too.

    • kobresia says:

      You pretty much have nailed it on the head, I’d go a little farther to say it’s slightly beyond a sexual pun, and probably more a thinly-veiled sexual invitation of sorts.

      On a related topic, a couple of months ago I was bombarded with “Team In Training” adverts on Hulu, I think it was a breast cancer support group that focuses on athletic activities. Oh, they shorten their name to the acronym “TnT”, but that’s absurd. It’s obvious what the acronym REALLY is, and every time I saw those ads, I snickered like I was in 8th grade.

      • Bill610 says:

        Um, no. The “Team In Training” groups participate in runs to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They’ve been around for well over twenty years. It has nothing to do with the current cute slogans for breast cancer awareness fad. If anything, the TNT acronym came about to avoid the connotation of using the “other” acronym for their name.

        Sometimes the first letters of a bunch of words just happen to spell other words.

    • Jules Noctambule says:

      Lots of adults happy to do the same, sadly.

  16. SkokieGuy says:

    Exactly who in American is not aware of breast cancer?

  17. daynight says:

    Women have breasts. That is a simple fact. Even little children know this. It seems that there will always be people who want to deny that fact or at least hide it from view. Is the objection simply that the words might be cute rather than anatomical? Would “Palpate to check for lumps to protect your breasts” be better. I can foresee the ‘administration’ objecting because it mentions touching yourself in your ‘naughty bits’. There will always be prudes. It is pathetic to have prudes in charge of policing society and creating opportunities for shame where none should exist. That shame is toxic and creates more harm than acknowledging that women, even teen women, have breasts.

  18. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    When I was in 6th grade I had this shirt that was a PSA up in Canada and it said “See Dick Drink. See Dick Drive. Don’t be a Dick.” It makes me laugh just thinking of it, and it makes me laugh that my mom didn’t find it objectionable.

    WELL, my 6th grade teacher TAPED OVER the “don’t be a dick” part of the shirt, so of course I went home that day and my mother was LIVID. Of course this is the same mother who, years later, found Tom Green’s song about ‘checking yourself’ for testicular cancer hilarious.

    But my mother, who clearly may have a warped sense of humor, is also a BC survivor. And WHATEVER GETS THE WORD OUT is what she supports. If “feel for lumps, save your bumps” gets girls to be AWARE of this early on, then she’d be all for it.

    /story over.

    • edicius is an acquired taste says:

      I remember that ad too, must have caught it on CBC at some point (lived in SE MI). I was amazed that they could broadcast that at the time. Only later did I realize that Canada was much cooler than the US when it came to stuff like that.

    • Coffee says:

      When I was in high school, there was a student who was almost suspended for writing “Fuck War” on his backpack. The administration decided, however, that at the end of the day, that’s a pretty positive message.

  19. HappyFunTimes says:

    I’m with the school, and I doubt a doctor would phrase it that way.

  20. XanthorXIII says:

    We’re too PC these days. Hell’s there’s boobs in Weird Science and that was rated PG-13!!

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      you can still have boobs in a PG 13 movie I believe. It depends on the amount of time shown, the context (what is happening to them I guess) and how many times. Then you factor in language, violence, drug use (who is doing it, how long, how much), and probably some other stuff.

    • dolemite says:

      Well…too PC due to religion concerning sex. For whatever reason, anything sexual is taboo, but we are fine with people being beheaded or disemboweled.

  21. Snoofin says:

    In a way I agree with this. Im so sick and tired of having breast cancer awareness shoved down my throat everywhere I go from bumper stickers, billboards, my bank having the tellers wear pink shirts for it, products I normally buy being placed in pink boxes, even the freaking NFL wears pink crap. You cant escape it!!!

    It actually offends me that breast cancer seems to be the only cancer people that matters. Where is the prostate cancer ribbons? (guess guys dont matter), the Liver cancer ribbons? Tongue cancer ribbons?

    Why cant we just have a generic cancer awareness campaign?

  22. Me - now with more humidity says:

    My favorite BC awareness t-shirt slogan is: “Save Second Base.”

    • Pooterfish says:

      Our high school girls softball team had BC awareness shirts printed up with outlined hands over the breast area and the slogan “Don’t let cancer steal second base.”

  23. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    high school cheerleaders not allowed to wear shirts?
    (takes daughter off cheering squad.)

  24. Zelgadis says:

    Yet another good example of a little emperor bureaucrat protecting our fragile little children from the ravages of reality.

    Some people just need to be brained with a car battery.

  25. dush says:

    Why do they let cheerleaders bring their breasts to school? They could cause a distration.

  26. brinks says:

    You’re not dealing with adults here. You’re dealing with teenagers. Specifically, pervy teenage boys who will ruin any good message with lame sexual and derogatory comments.

    The administration knows this. There are way tamer ways to get the message across.

  27. axiomatic says:

    Doesn’t Gilbert Junior High have some state standardized tests (lame) to be preparing for and not worrying about the BCA t-shirts?

  28. RoadDogg says:

    I’m ok with this. The boys couldn’t/shouldn’t go around wearing shirts that reference their testicles in anyway.

  29. Professor59 says:

    If you’re the father of a high school girl, and you don’t mind your daughter wearing this, I want to meet you.
    No wait, I don’t want to meet you.

  30. Nighthawke says:

    This also goes for male breasts too.. Keep in mind the turmoil one gentleman is going through in getting medicare coverage for his cancer.

    Man boobs are not immune! A guy i knew had a lumpectomy and was rattled by the prospect of having cancer.

  31. PercyChuggs Was Found At JFK Airport says:

    Every year, there is a story like this. School administrators are more clueless than politicians these days.

  32. lucky13 says:

    All seriousness aside…I don’t think this ban goes far enough…think of how attendance at the games would skyrocket if the cheerleaders were banned from wearing any shirts!

  33. dibarnu says:

    Raise your hand if you’re unaware of breast cancer.

  34. Mike says:

    How many women die each year because they are too repressed to even think about examining their own breasts? The cute slogans promote women being comfortable with their own bodies. Perhaps the idea that a woman should be comfortable with her own body is what they find offensive.

  35. powdered beefmeat says:

    It’s a lot better than wearing pants that describes one’s ass as “juicy”.

  36. InvisibleEcho says:

    I live near there and grew up near there. I’m not surprised – an old classmate of mine thought the French city of “Brest” was a controversial name.

    It’s just the kind of place it is. Though, I suppose it’s possible that other people in other towns are like that, too.

  37. Herah says:

    Kids are wearing these because they’re not appropriate and they think that’s funny. Saying they’re not allowed at school is a good call. Unless we think we should start making t shirts that talk about prostate cancer.

  38. Levk says:

    I have a feeling soon they will allow kids to do it now, it’s a sue world and schools have no money, so they will end up loosing either way.

  39. CWG85338 says:

    What a bunch of humorless, scared-shitless losers we have become. Wake up, America, and be yourself again!

  40. EyeintheLAsky says:


    in protest (if that’s what the cheerleaders are into), do NOT show-up for the next series of games.

    Once NOT cheerleaders, they can then wear those pink shirts as private citizens at the game – or anywhere else they want – getting the message out anyway.

    Meanwhile, the parents should be telling the school board communists to get out of town.

  41. DragonThermo says:

    Seriously, what self-respecting doctor says “boobies”? Would you take a doctor seriously if they did say “boobies”?