The She-ro

Ch3 Cancer VixenSuperCROP

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

Attention! [by Chemobabe]

Lani Horn, a.k.a. Chemobabe

Pink Ribbon Blues is honored to share a recent post from blogger, Lani Horn, who writes under the name Chemobabe. She is a social scientist in her “regular life” and created ChemoBabe as a persona who has “enough spunk and edge to get smacked down” by treatment and “stand back up ready to fight some more” and who could “talk back bluntly to the euphemistic ways people skirt that horror in everyday conversations.” Horn has shared her experiences with cancer and . . . → Read More: Attention! [by Chemobabe]

Rethinking, Reclaiming, and Remaining Compassionately Pink

Today’s Pink Ribbon Blues essay is written by Molly Brenner, a senior at Vassar College whom I met last fall after giving a lecture on pink ribbon culture. —

Molly Brenner

In the summer of 2010, I worked as a Program Operations intern at Strong Women, Strong Girls, a nationally recognized after-school mentoring program for girls in grades 3 through 5. The organization focuses on teaching girls how to build relationships and skills while modeling these characteristics through historical and contemporary “strong women.” Each fall, . . . → Read More: Rethinking, Reclaiming, and Remaining Compassionately Pink

Komen’s Leadership In Question

Photo by Astrid Stawiarz for The Wall Street Journal

The fury over Komen’s official responses to the trademark debacle continues to mount as individuals, breast cancer advocates, journalists, bloggers, and the diagnosed raise numerous questions about Komen’s trademark policing, hubris, and financial allocations. Despite an ambiguous admission on the Nightly News with Brian Williams that Komen may have been “overzealous” in its trademark protection and that the organization is “not perfect,” Komen maintains its official response that it sees trademark protection as “responsible . . . → Read More: Komen’s Leadership In Question

There Is More That Unites Us

Sarah Horton, author of Being Sarah, a true story about choice, control and breast cancer, is today’s Pink Ribbon Blues contributor.

Photo Credit: Karen Choudhary

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2007. Nearly four years ago. And four years of breast cancer treatment is a lot of hospitals, doctors, and blood tests. A lot. And during the hours and hours of my life that I sit in hospital waiting rooms, I often look round the room and observe the other patients. . . . → Read More: There Is More That Unites Us

NY Times Magazine’s, “Think About Pink”

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”

“Seeing Red Over All That Pink”

The Dallas Morning News published an article yesterday by Kim Horner exploring the growing concern about pinking and pinkwashing. In “Merchandise tie-ins to breast cancer awareness have some seeing red over all that pink,” Horner speaks to those in support of, and those concerned about, all the pink. From pink rubber duckies to Smith & Wesson handguns with pink grip, the article hints at that fine line between where is the money going and what kinds of ethics should be used to market breast . . . → Read More: “Seeing Red Over All That Pink”

Is Any Awareness Good Awareness?

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?

Breast Cancer Avatars on Second Life?

Indeed. You can have have virtual breast cancer, wear pink t-shirts, attend pink ribbon fund raising events, and even go to a support group. I’m speechless. Luckily, Anna Rachnel who writes The Cancer Culture Chronicles is not. What follows is Rachnel’s post about second life, titled “Virtual Breast Cancer.”

Virtual Breast Cancer by Anna Rachnel (October 22, 2010)

Today I thought I would take you for a magical mystery ride into a real-life Bizarro World.  So strap yourself in, sit back and . . . → Read More: Breast Cancer Avatars on Second Life?

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

A billboard tells you to try harder so you can beat cancer? I'm aghast @NancysPoint! #BCSM

“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?

"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