Facebook Bans Ads That Raise Money For Breast Cancer Awareness

by Erika W. Smith

San Diego-based artist and entrepreneur Krissy Sunflower is trying to raise money for breast cancer awareness and research…but Facebook keeps getting in the way.

Krissy’s company, Twin Peaks Apparel, recently created T-shirts for breast cancer awareness: the front of the shirt shows one of her designs, and inside the shirt, against the skin, is a drawing of boobs – perfect for “flashing it forward.” Or, as the shirts say, “Join the Boobment.” 

Krissy told BUST she was inspired when her boyfriend and friends created a joke T-shirt featuring a similar boob design. A self-described “serial entrepreneur” with family and friends effected by breast cancer, she immediately wanted to take the concept further. She already had a yoga line, so it was a simple step to create the boob design T-shirts as well – which, along with the boob drawings, feature a “#JoinTheBoobment” hashtag.

“I just started being like, Hey! I think this is a really great idea. It has the potential of going viral. It’s a shirt with an action. It’s reinventing the shirt,” she says. “And it’s kind of like with the Ice Bucket Challenge, where a lot of people got involved because it was an easy action and it was spreading awareness about a great cause. So many people were able to understand that disease and really get involved with it where they wouldn’t have.”

She partnered with the Keep A Breast foundation to give $2 back from every shirt sold – but when she began advertising the shirts on Facebook, she found that they were being banned. “Our whole page is blocked and flagged,” she said. She tried switching out the photos so that only the fronts of the shirts were being shown, with no boob doodles in sight – and that didn’t work either. A contact at Facebook – “a friend of a friend knows somebody who knows somebody” – was able to manually approve a few of the ads, but only a few. Attempts at contacting Facebook to argue their case remain unanswered.

Facebook’s guidelines regarding nudity state that along with removing images showing genitals and “fully exposed buttocks,” “We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring. We also allow photographs of paintings, sculptures, and other art that depicts nude figures. Restrictions on the display of both nudity and sexual activity also apply to digitally created content unless the content is posted for educational, humorous, or satirical purposes. Explicit images of sexual intercourse are prohibited. Descriptions of sexual acts that go into vivid detail may also be removed.”

The “Boobment” shirts seem to fall within these guidelines easily. They’re A) drawings, not photographs; B) for both humorous and educational purposes and C) for a cause. Plus, the photos that show only the fronts of the shirts have not a hint of boob-drawing in sight.

“They’re not realizing how many lives they could save by releasing this message and being supportive,” Krissy says. “How many people are not getting a chance to think about being conscious because it’s not being shared? It’s not provocative. It’s a drawing. It’s not adult content by any means. When you really break it down, it’s two circles with dots in the center. That’s what it is!”

Krissy says that the “Boobment” shirts have found an audience despite Facebook’s restrictions,with an active website already selling the shirts and featuring survivor testimonies, like the video above. She hopes to create other shirts to benefit other causes as well as breast cancer, particularly Lyme disease, which she suffers from.

“You can change the world: every time you buy, it’s a vote,” she says. “What I’m trying to create is having feel-great fashion and every time you make a purchase you’re forced to give back in a way. Why not change where our money goes and create opportunities to make a difference?”

Photos via twinpeaksapparel.com

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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