The Alphabet of Boob

  • Sinéad Molloy

Stock photography’s lack of representation is a well-documented problem – but what’s rarely discussed is how this homogeneity directly impacts young people’s health and behaviour. Type the words “boob-check” into any search engine and you’ll be offered a selection of slim, white, hair-free women gently caressing their breasts, a pink ribbon sitting neatly over their nipple. Not only is this sanitised representation just plain boring, it compounds a dangerous stereotype that breast cancer only happens to a certain type of person – normally white, middle-aged and female. Since 2009 CoppaFeel!, has been on a mission to break down the barriers to boob checking, by encouraging young people to check regularly, educating them on the signs to be aware of and empowering them to celebrate and get to know their body, whether it’s “beach ready” or not. But the reality is, young women are still significantly more likely to spend time weighing themselves, working out, or counting calories than they are to check their boobs. In a bid to counter this, I created the A-Z of Boobs: a social media campaign that would celebrate bodies in all their forms. Devoting most of my spare time to the illustrations, I created 26 posts that celebrated ‘normal’ looking bodies and gave the facts on boobs, breast cancer and getting to know your chest - whatever your age or gender. The campaign was a huge success – CoppaFeel!’s A-Z posts were seen by over 450,000 people organically and were subsequently picked up on by brands and influencers including Zoella, Pretty Little Thing, Future Dreams and Avon, who (to my delight!) proactively shared the content on their social channels. The team at Figleaves even devoted a whole newsletter to the A-Z. This extended the reach of the campaign monumentally and way beyond my expectations. As well as growing our Instagram following by 16% over the duration of the campaign, the significant impact of the Alphabet of Boob was borne out in our research – post-campaign, those aware of CoppaFeel! were 50% more likely to check monthly, significantly more aware of the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, and much more confident about how to check their boobs. As easy at A, B, C? Not quite. But worth it? Totally.