toughtitties is a small, San Francisco-based clothing company that sells tee shirts and other articles of clothing. All of their clothes come with a breast self-examination kit and a percentage of their profit goes to breast cancer research.

This is a clothing company with a good attitude. They have fun, they fundraise for a valuable cause, and throughout it all they have tongue inserted firmly in cheek. The best thing about their tee shirts is that the logo is printed in letters with fairly close leading, so you have to effectively stare at the breasts of the wearer in order to read the logo. They also seem to manage to print it so that the logo reads pretty consistently from nipple to nipple.

I rarely wear tee shirts, or anything with info printed on it. I'm not an advertising wearing kind of girl, and I generally hate corporate america. This is one of the few exceptions. These kids have awesome grace, and a black toughtitties hoodie if you don't wear tank tops.

This is one of the only times I will break the rule that I am not here to talk about my boobs.

As many of you know, several close friends and relations of mine have survived cancer, and some have not. Gilda Radner, possibly the best female comedian ever, died from ovarian cancer, as did my mother. One of my cousins, who is under fifty, recently had both breasts completely removed - a radical mastectomy. She'd had a lumpectomy about a year ago, and the cancer recurred. She is now, she tells me, shopping for boobs.

This is a funny node about a very serious topic. One in nine women will get breast cancer during their lifetime. Of women who get ovarian cancer, 40 percent will be alive in five years. That's right, only 40 percent. My mother was in the other 60 percent, which puts me at high risk for breast, colon and ovarian cancer. Were you aware there are several known carcinogens in your shampoo? How about that anti-bacterial soap you wash your hands with? Your perfume? What about that talcum powder on your condoms? The next time you make a joke about boobies in the chatterbox, say a prayer for women who have none, who are going through chemo and had all their hair fall out, and for those we've lost. And for your female friends, who as we age, face the choice of having them kill us or having them removed.

Without my boobs and hair, am I still a woman?


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