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Related Categories: U.S. | Womyn
NOW Action Alert- Stop Breast Christmas
by NOW
Thursday Dec 23rd, 2004 8:51 AM

In an appalling effort to grab attention and raise ratings, radio stations owned by conservative media giant Clear Channel are promoting potentially dangerous plastic surgery and marketing unrealistic and unhealthy images of women. Clear Channel stations are awarding breast implants to women in the "Breast Christmas Ever" contest.
Tell Clear Channel, the FCC and Radio Stations to Stop "Breast Christmas Ever" Contest

Shame on Clear Channel! The same radio network that sponsored pro-war rallies and banned the Dixie Chicks is risking women's health and safety with its latest offensive venture.

In an appalling effort to grab attention and raise ratings, radio stations owned by conservative media giant Clear Channel are promoting potentially dangerous plastic surgery and marketing unrealistic and unhealthy images of women. Clear Channel stations are awarding breast implants to women in the "Breast Christmas Ever" contest.

These stations ask women to submit essays explaining why all they want for Christmas is a pair of larger breasts. Winners must allow the stations to show before-and-after photos on their web sites, and sign a liability release absolving the radio station, plastic surgeon and Clear Channel from any responsibility should they have problems with their implants or require additional medical treatment – problems which, not incidentally, are frequently necessary and very expensive.

Aside from the voyeurism and misogyny implicit in these contests--which are based on the premise that women are more attractive and desirable to men when they have large breasts--they are also potentially hazardous to the health of the so-called winners. (see Background below for more information on health hazards).

Action Needed:

Tell station owner Clear Channel, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and participating radio stations to stop gambling with women's health and cease the "Breast Christmas Ever" contest. Contact information is below.

You can take action in two ways:

1. The most important line of action is to send an e-mail to Clear Channel and to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Inform them that radio stations should not be using the public airways and the public trust to promote "extreme makeover"

Clear Channel:
Mark Mays, President and Chief Executive Officer
1-210-822-2828
MarkPMays [at] clearchannel.com

FCC:
1-888-CALL-FCC
fccinfo [at] fcc.gov

2. If you live in the listening area of one of the participating radio stations that we know about (there may be more – let us know!), call them to complain about this degrading and unethical contest. If the station has already completed its contest, urge that they discontinue giving breast implants as prizes in the future.

Radio Stations:

95.5 WKQI FM Detroit, MI
248-967-3750

97.9 KISS FM Jacksonville, FL
904-636-0507

Z107.7 FM St Louis, MO
314-333-8000

93.3 WFLZ FM Tampa, FL
813-839-9393

Bonus Action: Radio stations hold exploitative contests and use sexist promotions all year round. When a radio station in your area degrades women in any way, look up their phone number and call to complain. Ask them who owns the station and call the owner. You may also want to write a letter to your local newspaper to express your outrage, or even picket outside the station.

Background on Clear Channel:

Radio stations around the country are giving breast implants to women this holiday season. Winners are chosen based on the reasons they give for wanting breast implants; however women who desire implants for reconstruction after breast cancer are not eligible.

Contests featuring cosmetic surgery as the prize have taken place on radio stations for several years now. This year, the fact that most of those stations are owned by conservative media giant Clear Channel reeks of hypocrisy. During the recent election season, Clear Channel stations took a number of right-wing ideological stands, including sponsoring pro-Iraq war rallies and banning the Dixie Chicks for speaking out against George W. Bush. Clear Channel also has dropped radio personalities like Howard Stern under the guise of fighting "indecency." However, the company's supposed red-state values don't appear to be offended by contests offering to increase a woman's cup size.

Background on Breast Implant Safety

Long-term safety of breast implants has never been verified, because implant manufacturers have never submitted more than a few years of safety data to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). We do know that many women require additional surgery to replace leaking or ruptured implants, experiencing problems usually within eight to 12 years, and many suffer painful and debilitating complications. Manufacturers suggest that all implants be replaced every 10 years. In addition, breast implants may interfere with the detection of breast cancer by obscuring mammography. Giving away medical devices that are not safe for long-term use is not only unethical -- it's dangerous to women's health!

Silicone gel-filled breast implants were removed by the FDA from the market in 1992 when it was revealed that they have a high rupture rate and women reported suffering from a multitude of health problems. Only saline or salt water-filled implants remained available for general use, although mastectomy patients have been allowed to get silicone gel-filled implants for breast reconstruction. (It is unclear whether these radio stations are awarding silicone gel-filled or saline-filled breast implants.) Over the years, hundreds of thousands of women with breast implants have become ill; some have even died or committed suicide when they could not find relief from their pain and disfigurement.

Leaking and ruptured implants can cause the migration of silicone to other parts of the body, including the lymphatic system, lungs, liver, spleen and brain. Yet few women are aware of the risks of breast implants, especially silicone gel-filled implants. This lack of awareness is due in large part to a disinformation campaign carried on by manufacturers and plastic surgeons that minimizes the risks and distorts scientific data.

Prospective patients should know that breast implants may interfere with accurate mammography readings, that they may be unable to breast-feed, that little is known about the possible transmission of silicone gel or oil to fetuses and breast-feeding infants, that many insurance companies will not provide health care coverage to women with breast implants (and that some restrict coverage), and that all implants (both saline and silicone) will rupture eventually. Repeat surgeries and complications from device rupture (or failure) are unavoidable with the current silicone breast implant devices.

Read more about NOW's work on breast implants, and send an e-mail now at http://www.now.org

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