She is the protagonist of the epic breast cancer survivor story.
She exists in many iterations; in magazines, advertisements, news stories, and awareness events.
She is a superwoman who courageously, passionately, and aggressively battles disease.
She faces tremendous difficulties.
With style and optimism, she learns from her experience, is transformed, and shares lessons learned.
She is the SHE-RO, the triumphant survivor who fights breast cancer and wins.
Those who do not embrace her have no place in pink ribbon culture.
Cancer Vixen: A She-ro . . . → Read More: The She-ro
After Pink Ribbon Blues came out, Bill Noren periodically sent me photos, news items, and other tidbits about pink ribbon culture that concerned him. Several of the images and photos that are sprinkled throughout the Pink Ribbon Blues Blog and in the ever-expanding photo gallery came from him. Last Spring, Bill sent me some news stories about Heather Beyer and told me how it represented, for him, a turn in public culture that not only glorified survivorship but actually hid the real difficulties people . . . → Read More: 16. Loss and Remembering: A Story of Heather Beyer
Dr. Linda Rubin, professor and licensed psychologist, is today’s Pink Ribbon Blues contributor.
While reading the first few pages of Gayle Sulik’s book, Pink Ribbon Blues, it hit me: I had never heard any public accounts of women’s breast cancer experiences that were anything but positive, triumphant, and uplifting. I asked myself, how could this be? How is it that I had never noticed that the public discourse on women fighting breast cancer did not match the overwhelming psychological distress that so many . . . → Read More: Pink Ribbon Culture as a Form of Psychological Denial
XKCD.com posted a comic strip called “Positive Attitude.” In just three frames, the faceless, nameless stick figures capture a common American experience: the mandate for positive thinking in the face of illness.
1. After telling a service provider that s/he is sick and scared, the provider explains to the patient that having a good attitude is vitally important: “Think positively and you’ll get better.”
2. When the patient starts to inquire about occasionally feeling sad, afraid, or “like crap” the provider interjects that, “If . . . → Read More: On “Positive Attitude”
Peggy Orenstein, author of forthcoming book Cindarella Ate My Daughter, wrote a compelling article for The New York Times Magazine (Nov. 12, 2010) addressing contemporary efforts to make breast cancer “sexy” for an upbeat and stylized cancer marketplace. In Think About Pink, Orenstein critiques the “I ❤ Boobies” and “Save the Ta-tas” campaigns that detract from the truth about breast cancer and fetishize breasts “at the expense of the bodies, hearts and minds attached to them.”
[singlepic id=181 w=320 h=240 float=right]I’m glad this aspect . . . → Read More: NY Times Magazine’s, “Think About Pink”
According to an article in The Vindicator by Kristine Gill, Susan G. Komen for the Cure stands firm that there is not enough pink. Carrie Glasscock, manager of corporate relations, states:
“There’s not enough pink when every 69 seconds a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer around the world. Women are still dying from this disease.”
Similarly, a representative from the American Cancer Society, Al Stabilito, said about awareness messages:
“Whatever clever way they want to come up with as . . . → Read More: Is Any Awareness Good Awareness?
The Ad for the pink and white awareness umbrella reads:
“A beautifully constructed umbrella is appreciated rain or shine! Recipients will know you care when you pick gifts that show you’re there! Umbrella comes in clear vinyl sleeve. Awareness Pink Ribbon Design.”
Awareness. We see and hear that word a lot, especially when it comes to the cause of breast cancer. The pink ribbon signifies awareness. People want to raise awareness. Products and services claim to spread awareness. But what exactly does . . . → Read More: Awareness Umbrella
“Cancer charities which work with less glamorous cancers, bowel, lung, pancreatic for example, let alone charities working with distinctly unfashionable diseases…mental health charities and Alzheimers… envy the ease with which consumers spend on pink products, though some cancer charities may welcome the ‘trickle down’ effect.” –comment to The New York Times article Pink Ribbon Fatigue
What is it about breast cancer that is so glamorous? It’s pink. As I write in What’s in a Color? “the cause of breast cancer has been . . . → Read More: Unfashionable Diseases and Less Glamorous Cancers