Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Problem With "Breast Cancer Awareness"

A friend of mine recently posted this quote from Wikipedia and it sparked some interest of mine. First of all, here's the quote:

"Promotion of the pink ribbon as a symbol for breast cancer has not been credited with saving any lives. Wearing or displaying a pink ribbon has been denounced as a kind of slacktivism, because it has no practical positive effect and as hypocrisy among those who wear the pink ribbon to show good will towards women with breast cancer, but then oppose these women's practical goals, like patient rights and anti-pollution legislation. Critics say that the feel-good nature of pink ribbons and pink consumption distracts society from the lack of progress on preventing and curing breast cancer. It is also criticized for reinforcing gender stereotypes and objectifying women and their breasts. Breast Cancer Action launched the "Think Before You Pink" campaign, and charged that companies have co-opted the pink campaign to promote products that encourage breast cancer, such as high-fat Kentucky Fried Chicken and alcohol."
As time went on, I thought about the quote more and more. I didn't really investigate the sources from the site. The quote kind of made a lot of sense. I personally have family who have been diagnosed and survived breast cancer. But a friend of mine also died from breast cancer- so it is something I am well aware of. However, I'm not a pink-boa-wearing female who runs in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer or anything of the sort. Am I a bad cancer-hater? Should I be doing more? Am I obligated to raise "breast cancer awareness?"

I think the point of this quote was to say, "Wearing pink is for 'Breast Cancer Awareness'; however, people are aware breast cancer exists. We need to be raising awareness of the lacks of funds, lack of a cure, and working with each other to help those affected by breast cancer.  The 'Save the Ta-Tas' signs aren't really helping anything, unless all the money from that sign went to help fund breast cancer research."

And I agree {for the most part} but I will say that I truly appreciate any and every company that wants to give a percentage of their sales to the Susan G. Komen Fund, etc. during the month of October.  If I have a choice between a product I always buy, and the same product in a pink bottle, I'm going to buy the pink bottle and be glad that a percentage of that sale will go to actually help someone in need who has been affected by breast cancer.  I just hope that everything "pink" this month that is supposed to "raise breast cancer awareness" has an actual donation behind it in some way to help fund the research to cure or prevent the disease, or help someone that has been affected by the disease. Otherwise, shame on them!

While on Google searching for images of "breast cancer awareness" I found this site that accurately vents saying:
If you are female, you’ve probably had at least one message on Facebook saying something along these lines:
 ”Shh, don’t tell the boys but post your shoe size in inches, the number of weeks by multiplying your birthday with your starsign, how many seconds you think it would take you to get David Tennent naked*, where you like to keep your handbag, as your Facebook status and it will magically help promote breast cancer awareness.”
Cue the sound of sighing and the rolling of eyes.
Help promote breast cancer awareness? Really? How? We are not even supposed to tell half the population of the world – the men – despite the fact that they too can contract breast cancer. And the status updates don’t mention breast cancer. There are no links to websites where people can read more, no helpful information about how often one should check oneself, no, well, anything.
Here’s an idea, if you want to help fight against breast cancer click this link to the breast cancer site. There you can click a button which will give a free mammogram to someone that needs it.
And if you want to raise breast cancer awareness, try using the words breast cancer and following them with some useful information.
 Now THAT I also agree with!! I couldn't have said it better myself.

I wonder what your thoughts on the topic are. Feel free to share! :)


  1. I wear pink (as you probably already know) almost every day. For me, it's like a badge. I'm proud to be a survivor, and if wearing pink will jog women's memory to get a mammogram, or maybe stop and ask me questions about my cancer, then it has done its job. That's what October Breast Cancer Awareness is all about - getting folks to think!

    -Nancy Hampton

  2. That is awesome! I don't think "breast cancer awareness month" should be a just-in-October thing. I think if you're going to be a gung-ho awareness-bringer, do it all year long if that's what your passion is! So thank you for doing that, Nancy! I know you have encouraged many!


Let me know what you think! :)

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