Well, we’ve almost made it through another Breast Cancer Awareness Month. How are you feeling about things at this point? I’ve observed less pink shenanigans this October, or maybe it’s just that I’m becoming better at tuning it out. Or maybe I’m just not shocked by pink outlandishness anymore. That’s probably it. I do know the whole idea of shopping being so tied up with breast cancer in the first place is just wrong.
What’s even worse, is how breast cancer somewhere along the line, turned into the party-like disease, or the disease where frivolous awareness campaigns have become accepted, encouraged even. WTF?
How and why did we allow this to happen?
How did shopping become so snarled up with breast cancer in the first place?
I suppose it’s just so darn easy to slap a pink ribbon onto whatever product you are selling. After all, who wouldn’t want to buy a pink blender or a doughnut topped off with pink frosting and sprinkles under the guise of helping women everywhere?
Isn’t this a win-win for everyone, merchant and consumer alike?
Therein lies the problem. It might be a win-win for the merchant and for the consumer. The merchant racks up more sales and positive PR and the consumer walks away from her/his favorite store feeling as if she/he has done something important for “the cause.”
But what about the real-life breast cancer patient, the one with the scars, medical bills, horrendous side-effects from treatment, lost income, lost relationships, lost body parts – what about her (and him)?
What does buying pink ribbon stuff really do for her or him?
Who knows? Maybe not much. Maybe nothing at all.
This is why it is so important to “think before you pink”.
And how and why did breast cancer turn into some sort of weird party-like, pink sorority?
This bothers me even more than the shopping nonsense. Why is it so acceptable, encouraged even, to dress up in sassy t-shirts or crazy costumes for ‘the cause’? Why are there so many silly campaigns encouraging women to take off their bras for a day (this one makes no sense at all), show their straps or whatever? Why are people encouraged to grab a feel, cop a feel or save ’em all? Why do malls and other places string up bras all over the place?
Why is the illusion perpetuated that breast cancer isn’t really all that bad? Or that you should at least have fun while pretending to be aware of it.
I mean come on, it looks way too fun doesn’t it?
Even the NFL is in on this “party”.
It’s just all gotten way out of hand. Too much pink. Too much distortion. Too much trivializing. Too much sexualizing. Too much down-playing. Too much misinformation. Too much hoopla. Too much outlandishness. Too much greed. Too much cover up. Just too much.
And what has there not been nearly enough of?
There haven’t been enough stories about breast cancer reality, including those of the women and men who live with and too often die from metastatic breast cancer. Those stories aren’t so fun and party-like. Or what about the reality regarding too-many-to-count horrible, short and long-term physical and emotional scars and side effects from treatment so many of us live with on a daily basis?
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with pink. Or pretty. Or parties.
But breast cancer is none of these things; it’s a horrible disease.
Breast cancer is not pink.
It is not pretty.
And it is not party-like.
And this true no matter what month it is.