I understand where you’re coming from, but I have to disagree with your interpretation.
Let me clarify my word usage: breast, boobs, fun bags, titties or tatas – it doesn’t matter what we call them. The article was published because we felt as a staff that it was important to cover the “Mammo Days” event.
Personally, I am quite particular about language, to the point that my staff rolls their eyes at me every time I start to elaborate on what I mean because I do not want to be misunderstood.
The lede I added to the news editor’s story was intentional. Ledes should be enticing and the nut graf explanatory. The article did just what it was intended to do, and that’s to draw attention to an important cause.
Breast cancer is a very serious disease; I know from personal experience. From that I also know that not everyone handles cancer(s) in the same way. Some cry, some pray and some – like my late aunt – laugh at it.
In that same vein, our audience is just as diverse. I don’t care if readers continue reading because they see the word ‘boobs’ and giggle and read out of curiosity about why the word ‘boobs’ is in a news article, or continue reading out of frustration over the same thought. My job is to get them to read it because it is so important.
I understand you may believe that type of language has the opposite effect and waters down the importance, but I disagree. I chose these specific words because of the stigma and sexualized connotations that surround them. The message wouldn’t have the same audience reach or impact without them.
It’s not about the word to me, it’s about the meaning. So let’s start changing that mindset, together, as journalists.