Following press coverage of Sarah Horton’s honest, opinionated diaries during her treatment for breast cancer in 2008, Sarah then began writing a book about her experiences. Being Sarah is a true story that brings into sharp focus society’s perception of breast cancer, the politics of the disease, and the need for prevention. Opinionated, outspoken, and life-affirming, her book is also a protest call that is angry and questioning of the pink culture surrounding breast cancer.
Being Sarah is the book that brings many of the issues about breast cancer culture and industry . . . → Read More: 17. Excerpt from “Being Sarah”
…the root causes of breast cancer remain unchanged?
…the information disseminated is inaccurate, incomplete, or decontextualized?
…the messages trivialize, misrepresent, or marginalize the disease or the diagnosed?
…the campaign uses sexualized language and imagery to sell itself?
..the campaign intentionally or inadvertently supports products or services that contribute to the total cancer burden (i.e., pinkwashing)?
…the campaign shifts attention and funding toward programs that will not have an impact on the eradication of the disease, and detracts attention and funding from innovative measures and research that will?
…the . . . → Read More: What Good Is Awareness If…
“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
On the first day of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (2010) GoComics published the comic strip Non Sequiter by Wiley Miller. It explains the “Birth of the Perpetual Fundraising Industry.” When approached by a dragonslayer, the dragon offers a rational explanation as to why sparing its life would be a win-win proposition. The dragon says:
“Look. You’re dead if you lose and out of a job if you win. So what I propose is a win-win that can be summed up in 3 . . . → Read More: Birth of the Perpetual Fundraising Industry
An Excerpt from Pink Ribbon Blues–
In the early 1990s, it seemed as though society was ready to confront breast cancer. Breast cancer activism was starting to gain momentum in extending public outreach, increasing research funding, and gaining a seat at the public policy table. In August 1993, the New York Times Magazine published a story about the achievements of the breast cancer movement with the title, “You Can’t Look Away Anymore.” The caption referred both to the success of the movement in agitating . . . → Read More: Remembrance
Talking about gender, says Sociologist Judith Lorber, is for most people the equivalent of fish talking about water. It is so common, routine, pervasive, and normal– that “questioning its taken-for-granted assumptions…is like wondering whether the sun will come up.” It seems natural and predictable. The same is true for pink. Pink ribbons are so commonplace that we’ve just gotten used to them.
Pink is supposed to signify awareness. But how much awareness can there be when people casually swim through the pink without noticing its texture, intent, presuppositions, . . . → Read More: Swimming In A Sea of Pink
During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM), and throughout the year, pink ribbons and products abound in supermarkets, shopping malls, magazines, newspapers, television shows, billboards, and work places with inspirational stories from pink ribbon culture to accompany them. The media-friendly interplay of pink femininity and cancer culture provides a light, entertaining, and at times comical depiction of the cause of breast cancer that some, including myself, find disturbing.
Like most everyone else spreading the pink, NBCAM has its own store for pink products. These . . . → Read More: Pink Kitsch, Brought To You By NBCAM