How much damage has been done “trying to make ugly pretty” during Breast Cancer Awareness Month over the past 30+ years?
Here we are heading into yet another Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It sure seems to roll around fast, right?
Advocacy work of many through the years has brought about changes to BCAM, or I’d like to think it has anyway. But clearly, there hasn’t been enough change nor has there been enough progress in changing the outcome that matters most — reducing the number of deaths each year from metastatic breast cancer. I mean, isn’t that the ultimate goal — or shouldn’t it be?
If we figure out metastatic breast cancer, it’ll help every stage. It’ll hopefully even help to one day prevent breast cancer.
You might want to read, Metastatic Breast Cancer, Let’s Talk About It.
It’s like we’ve got the research/advocacy thing upside-down, inside-out, backwards, twisted — take your pick. We spend the least amount of dollars on MBC advocacy and research. Not that awareness, education, early detection, prevention and all the other stuff doesn’t matter; of course, it does. But the balance has been way out of whack for years.
Do you ever wonder if we might’ve made more progress had we not spent so much time “trying to make ugly pretty” every BCAM?
And breast cancer is ugly. It’s not pretty. It’s not pink. It’s not a pink ribbon. And, it is not an excuse to make, buy, sell, or eat pink stuff.
You might want to read, Breast cancer Isn’t Pink, Pretty or Party-like, Period!
Breast cancer is trauma. Regardless of type or stage. It’s ugly. It’s the opposite of pretty.
Smiling women dressed in pink, sometimes wearing pink boxing gloves, running in races, giving speeches about how they beat cancer (of this they seem quite certain), proclaiming positivity solves everything (again, of this they seem quite certain too) — these are the images we’ve so often been bombarded with for decades whenever we visited the local mall in fall or opened the October issue of our favorite magazine.
Sure, those images were/are supposed to inspire.
But did they?
I can only speak for myself, but such images have never left me feeling particularly inspired. In fact, more often they’ve had the opposite effect.
My thoughts tend to go more into the realm of, what’s wrong with me? Why don’t I feel brave, courageous, like I’ve kicked cancer’s ass or anything remotely close to beautiful?
And what about the men who get breast cancer?
Making ugly pretty certainly hasn’t helped to increase awareness about male breast cancer. Pretty in pink, pink ribbons — they’re PINK! That kinda says right there how much value’s been placed on blue, men and male breast cancer, does it not?
Those pretty in pink tactics don’t seem to have served the cause all that well either, or at least, not well enough. unless, of course, your cause is more about marketing, selling stuff and lining your own pockets than it is about breast cancer anything.
I can’t help but wonder if we had been more frank about the ugly side of breast cancer all these years — if we had not worked so hard and for so long to make ugly pretty, we might’ve been further along today in the quest for that elusive cure and ultimately, if more lives might’ve been saved.
The damage that’s been done trying to make ugly pretty every BCAM isn’t really measurable.
Or is it?
Roughly 44,000 precious lives are expected to be lost to MBC in 2021, an annual number that hasn’t shifted in the right direction for years.
When you look at it that way, maybe the damage that’s been done, and is still being done, is measurable after all.
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What sort of damage, if any, do YOU think has been done trying to make ugly pretty all these years?
How do we change this?
Do you think I’m I completely off base with this one?