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i touch myself: from female masturbation to breast cancer awareness

Iconic female rock star and frontwoman of the Divinyls, Chrissy Amphlett, passed away last year due to breast cancer, and the tributes flowed for a woman who pioneered female frontwomen of rock bands, a crass and confronting live performance style, her strength and dignity in the face of not one but two horrible diseases of breast cancer and multiple sclerosis. She was aged just 53 when she died on April 21, 2013.

One of Amplett’s most famous and controversial songs with the Divinyls was the 1990 single ‘I Touch Myself’, which saw the band reach the top of the ARIA charts, and it quickly became an iconic Australian and female anthem. The song was an ode to female masturbation, and has ensured that the Divinyls will long be remembered in the history of Australian music.

Now, almost a year since Amphlett’s death, the song has ensured another legacy, becoming the head of a new project which involves many of Australia’s best known female singers, and has the extremely important potential to save lives.

The ‘I Touch Myself Project‘ has come together as a tribute to Amphlett, and one of her dying wishes, that the song becomes a new anthem encouraging women to regularly check their breasts for any abnormalities which could result in breast cancer.

Amphlett’s family and friends, as well as the Cancer Council NSW have come together to launch this project. The project features a video of ten of Australia’s most well known singers (including Kate Ceberano, Sarah McLeod, Megan Washington and Olivia Newton-John) singing the song acapella, naked from waist up, singing and encouraging women to regularly check their breasts – the final frame in the video shows the reason why this message from Amphlett is such a very important legacy to leave.

According to AdWeek:

‘Friends say that her [Amphlett’s] dying wish was that her 1990 hit song could become a reminder for all women to check themselves regularly for lumps and other signs of breast cancer. So Australian advocacy group Cancer Council NSW worked with Amphlett’s widower and supporters to create the beautiful rendition below.’

The combination of the video and the song become even more poignant when Billboard reports that a mammogram and an ultrasound both failed to detect Amphlett’s cancer, and that it was discovered by Amphlett herself by a self-exam.

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  1. Pingback: Feminist News Round-Up: 26.04.14 | lip magazine

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