I’ve wanted to see the movie Pink Ribbons, Inc. since its release in theaters earlier this year. I was even contemplating driving the 100 miles or so back to the Twin Cities to see it as it didn’t make it into theaters close to me. But of course, I waited too long.
About a month or so ago I decided to just order my own copy, which would allow me to pass it around to friends and family too. It was my plan to write a blog post about it in October. Well, the other day I realized I better get crackin’ before this crazy month has come and gone.
Recently I suggested to hubby that it might be the perfect night to watch it, but if he didn’t care to, that would be just fine with me.
“I think I have some work to do,” he mentioned, which he did, but I don’t think that’s why he planned on bowing out. As far as following my blog and all that goes with it, he often reminds me and others as well, “I’m living it.” Sometimes he’s had it “up to here” with breast cancer anything, understandably so.
Once the movie got rolling, however, I noticed (but kept quiet) he did not leave the room. Nor did he nod off as sometimes happens when viewing movies I’ve selected. In fact, he seemed quite captivated.
I think this is a review in and of itself. (And thanks for watching it with me, David).
For those of you who don’t know, Pink Ribbons, Inc. is a 2011 documentary feature film based on the book Pink Ribbons, Inc. Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy by Dr. Samantha King, who is an associate professor of kinesiology and health studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Click here or on the image at the end of this post to view the movie’s trailer.
The movie examines the origin of the pink ribbon, the pink ribbon culture that has evolved around it, what motivates people to keep walking and running in races, corporate greed as it relates to the pink ribbon, lack of change in how breast cancer is treated, environmental factors possibly at play in causing breast cancer, the questionable role of pharmaceuticals in all of this, the hypocrisy regarding safety standards and the lack of research collaboration to name a few things.
A main message of the movie is that breast cancer has turned into the poster child for cause marketing; in other words, just a fancier way to say what I’ve been saying a lot lately – breast cancer has turned into the shopping cancer.
Once again we come back to that million dollar question, who is really profiting?
There were numerous interviews in the movie, not the least being one with Nancy Brinker, founder of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Komen’s fundraising tactics and lack of dollars marked for research were what I would call “attacked softly” in the movie.
The most moving parts of the entire movie were the conversations with women living with stage IV breast cancer. Even the way these women were presented in the movie, as a group separate from any other, made a statement. It was like they were completely separate from the rest of the movie in some way. It’s hard to explain and I wonder if this was staged intentionally. Several women from the group spoke eloquently and emotionally about this very feeling of isolation and disconnect from the “pink party survivor parades”.
Those scenes were by far the most powerful for me.
An eye-opening revelation for hubby was realizing the staggering amount of money involved in all this pinking. Vast amounts of dollars are coming in, but there seems to be little accountability and too many questions such as:
What exactly is all this money being spent on?
Why is so little going to research?
Why is research not more of a collaborative effort?
What exactly are we researching and what are the specific outcomes of research projects?
Why is so little (5%) spent on environmental risk factor research?
Why is so little spent on cancer prevention research?
Why is so little spent on metastatic breast cancer research when it’s what kills?
These are all valid questions.
One of my favorite things in the movie was hearing all this “pinking” referred to by Samantha King as the “tyranny of cheerfulness.” I am not a grumpy person, but I loved that.
Hands down, my favorite part(s) were whenever author Barbara Ehrenreich was on the screen saying anything at all. (It’s worth your time to watch the movie trailer just to hear her briefly there). I loved her candor, wit, humor and blunt honesty – something often lacking in pink cancer land. I also appreciated her discontent with the “survivor” label, calling it a put down to those who don’t survive.
That’s exactly how I feel about it!
I’m putting her book(s) on the top of my Christmas wish list.
All in all, I found Pink Ribbons, Inc. to be thought-provoking. While much of it was not new to me, seeing all this stuff compiled together in a movie format was powerful and well worth the ninety minutes or so of viewing time. The movie ends with the message to viewers that their actions matter; each of us can help facilitate change.
“When ordinary people do a simple thing, it changes the world.”
And that’s a pretty empowering message don’t you think?
So, two thumbs up from my house!
NOTE: Click on the image below to view the movie’s trailer.
Have you seen Pink Ribbons, Inc. or do you plan to?
If you have, what’s something that “stuck” with you the most?
Do have any thoughts (any kind) about this movie to share?