A Satirical Comment: Has Komen 'Lost the Brand'?

Ronnie Hughes

Pink Ribbon Blues is pleased to share an essay by friend and filmmaker, Ronnie Hughes. Ronnie is the partner of Sarah Horton, author of ‘Being Sarah’ and a contributor to the Pink Ribbon Blues Blog. Together, in Britain, Ronnie and Sarah have run their social enterprise ‘a sense of place’ for nearly seventeen years. They’ve also spent the past five years in cancerland, as Ronnie has cared for Sarah throughout her treatments for breast cancer.

Ronnie graduated from Liverpool University with a degree . . . → Read More: Has Komen ‘Lost the Brand’?

Unfashionable Diseases and Less Glamorous Cancers

“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

“Fatigue Indeed” – NY Times Well Blog

Barron Lerner MD published a review of Pink Ribbon Blues in The New York Times yesterday with the title “Pink Ribbon Fatigue.”

The title captured the reality that many of us warily and wearily march through Pinktober as we try to discern whether all of this pink is doing any good. Lerner rightly points out that breast cancer events do have the potential to create “emotional uplift” and a “sense of community” for survivors, and that “the pink ribbon has been a spectacular success . . . → Read More: “Fatigue Indeed” – NY Times Well Blog

Sarah Horton, Alive and Anti-Pink

After her diagnosis in 2007, Sarah Horton was shocked, overwhelmed, and angry. Her life had taken a sudden turn as she was thrown into a world of medical decision-making, multiple surgeries, physical and emotional trauma, personal loss, fear of death, and the onslaught of pink ribbon culture and disease politics. Yes, she was grateful to be alive, and thankful to those who helped to make that so. But Sarah was not smiling her way through illness, and her anger never dissipated.

Sarah was . . . → Read More: Sarah Horton, Alive and Anti-Pink

Runaway Ribbons and De Facto Cause Support

Paula’s thinking pink, are you? Regardless, you may be supporting pink cause marketing by default. Pink products are so ubiquitous  – especially during breast cancer awareness month – that you might have to go out of your way to avoid pink ribbons when you purchase your favorite products.

One woman, Maria, told me that she does not believe in cause marketing. Instead, she chooses to support the cause in more direct ways, (i.e., being a member of a grass roots advocacy organization and reading . . . → Read More: Runaway Ribbons and De Facto Cause Support

Go Pink, or Go Home!

Last year, NASCAR fans at at Lowe’s Motor Speedway cheered, “Go Pink or Go Home” as five pink cars raced around the track in support of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The president and CEO of Komen served as the honorary race director, and Candy Coburn performed the song “Pink Warrior” during the pre-race celebration, which was written for Komen and for breast cancer survivors. Komen includes a write-up about the event in the organization’s website.

The cheer unequivocally reinforces the us/them scenario . . . → Read More: Go Pink, or Go Home!

“But Doctor…I Hate Pink!”

I didn’t say that! But Doctor…I Hate Pink is the the title of a breast cancer blog by Ann, a self-proclaimed breast cancer ass-kicker from Sacramento, CA. I like Ann’s blog because she’s a straight talker. Something we desperately need when it comes to breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2009 with stage II infiltrating ductal carcinoma, Ann walks readers through her diagnosis (which started by finding her own lump and diagnosing her cancer on google), her treatment, the one year anniversary of her diagnosis, and . . . → Read More: “But Doctor…I Hate Pink!”

Library Journal Reviews “Pink Ribbon Blues”

Library Journal, in its 133rd year of publication, is the oldest and most comprehensive publication in the library field and serves 100,000 library directors, administrators, and staff in public, academic, and special libraries. I’m very pleased that the journal has featured Pink Ribbon Blues in its 2010 breast cancer awareness month round-up. With the title Tough Questions, Hard Choices, Bette-Lee Fox writes this about Pink Ribbon Blues:

“Sulik…considers the pink ribbon more of a noose around women’s necks than its ubiquitous . . . → Read More: Library Journal Reviews “Pink Ribbon Blues”

“Pink Ribbon Blues,” Book

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

Order the Paperback » 

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Recent Sulik Interviews

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

Canadian Mammogram Study KCRW, NPR Affiliate

Breast Cancer: Awareness, Activism & Pinkwashing NPR Charlotte

Buying Pink Al Jazeera's The Stream Watch »

The Pink Backlash Orlando Sentinel

Preventative Mastectomies: Disease and Deception Listen to BlogTalkRadio »

Angelina Jolie and the 'Breast Cancer Gene' Listen to 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