Pinktober, and a new era

Now that we’ve made it through another Pinktober, it’s time to take stock of what we’ve accomplished.

Most importantly, there is a new form of awareness in the public discourse. It has been bubbling up for a number of years, but this year people came forward in greater numbers to voice their concerns about the marketing of breast cancer, the exploitation of the illness for commercial gain, superficial messages of awareness, stereotypical advertising in the name of the cause, the lack of real progress, and the need for a wider lens. The pink ribbon can no longer ignore, marginalize, or co-opt these voices.

This is not about replacing the pink bandwagon with some other bandwagon. We’re beyond us/them scenarios. We need careful and considerate discourse that speaks to the many truths and experiences that surround this illness. Sure, we need social spaces to vent frustrations, but moving to another level necessarily involves productive criticism. Paying attention to the pink world around us. Looking closely. Examining the messages, the gaps, and the outcomes. Articulating them openly and constructively. Listening to one another. Being part of something bigger.

This month, we have seen numerous examples of the kinds of discourse that have the potential to change pink ribbon culture for the better:

Pink Ribbon Blues has also gotten some media attention.

It is heartening to see how many people have come together to support the cause of breast cancer. It is necessary to have thoughtful consideration about how to move beyond ribbons in a meaningful way. In the spirit of civic discourse, bioethics, and public health, let’s keep the conversation going and fix what is broken.

Feel Free to add to this list! I’ll keep it updated.

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1 comment to Pinktober, and a new era

  • This list gives me such hope that sooner or later people will start listening and we will see meaningful change and action. Thanks for all that you do in moving this fight forward.

“Pink Ribbon Blues”

Paperback includes a new Introduction on fundraising controversies and a color insert with images of, and reactions to, the pinking of breast cancer (2012).


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* GAYLE IN THE MEDIA *

"Seeing clearly through the pink haze" Toronto Sun

*Sad face*: Being happy does not help you live longer" New Scientist

How should we address breast cancer when norms continually change? The Guardian

Your Fun 'No Bra Day' Photos Are Overshadowing Terminal Breast Cancer Patients Broadly

Backlash against “pinkwashing” of breast cancer awareness campaigns BMJ

Breast Cancer to Rise 50 Percent by 2030? Hey, Not So Fast! Health News Review

Breast Cancer: The Flaws in the Cause iafrica.com

How to Make the Biggest Impact With Your Breast Cancer Donations Money

The Very Pink, Very Controversial Business of Breast Cancer Awareness Racked

NFL, Pink Ribbons Not Enough to Win over Women CNN

3 Questions We Need to Answer for Breast Cancer Awareness Month Chronicle of Philanthropy

The problem with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month Women's Health Magazine

Pink Ribbon Envy: Living with an Uncool Cancer The Nib

A Year After Bombings, Some Say 'Boston Strong' Has Gone Overboard NPR, All Things Considered

Canadian Mammogram Study KCRW, NPR Affiliate

Time to Debunk the Mammography Myth CNN

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream Watch »

The Pink Backlash Orlando Sentinel

Why Jolie's Test Costs So Much CNN

Preventative Mastectomies: Disease and Deception BlogTalkRadio

Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' KCRW

Our Feel-Good War on Breast Cancer The New York Times Magazine.

The Story Behind the Pink Ribbon Campaign Sisters Talk Radio

WISH Interview Women's International Summit for Health

Making Cancer About The Patient, Not The Body Part CBS Pittsburgh

Sexy breast cancer campaigns anger many patients USA Today

The perils of pink The Daily

Komen pink campaign creates breast-cancer blues for some Dallas Morning News

A yellow flag for the NFL's pink New York Daily

Gayle Sulik named #7 in SharecareNow’s Top 10 Online Influencers in Breast Cancer

Breast cancer cancer causes so easily derailed Philly Inquirer

Komen Charity Under Microscope for Funding, Science Reuters

The Fight Against Cancer - And Abortion? Salon.com

Susan G. Komen For the Cure defunds Planned Parenthood. In Deep with Angie Coiro

Amid Breast Cancer Month, Is there Pink Fatigue? NPR's All Things Considered

How is Breast Cancer Culture Undermining Women's Health? America’s Radio News Network

Pink Ribbon Culture and Breast Cancer The Kojo Nnamdi Show

The Big Business of Breast Cancer
Marie Claire

Does Breast Cancer Awareness Month Crowd Out Other Diseases? Slate

Pink Inc. Has Many Starting to See Red The Sacramento Bee

Get Your Pink Off Ottawa Citizen

Komen Pink Ribbons Raise Green and Questions USA Today

** MORE MEDIA LINKS **
** MORE RADIO INTERVIEWS **