That rubber bracelet is part of a newer, though related, trend: the sexualization of breast cancer. Hot breast cancer. Saucy breast cancer. Titillating breast cancer! The pain of “First You Cry” has been replaced by the celebration of “Crazy Sexy Cancer,” the title of a documentary about a woman “looking for a cure and finding her life.”
I hate to be a buzz kill, but breast cancer is just not sexy. It’s not ennobling. It’s not a feminine rite of passage. And, though it pains me to say it, it’s also not very much fun. I get that the irreverence is meant to combat crisis fatigue, the complacency brought on by the annual onslaught of pink, yet it similarly risks turning people cynical. By making consumers feel good without actually doing anything meaningful, it discourages understanding, undermining the search for better detection, safer treatments, causes and cures for a disease that still afflicts 250,000 women annually (and speaking of figures, the number who die has remained unchanged — hovering around 40,000 — for more than a decade).
I’ve never been comfortable criticizing the breast cancer awareness campaigns. I don’t feel it’s my fight (despite the reminder that ALL women have to worry about breast cancer). But this article puts its finger directly on the issues that I have: not only is the campaign overdone, tasteless and sexualized, it isn’t doing any good.
Thanks for the link, Michelle. This confirms what I have felt for a long time. And for all the money that this country has thrown at “the pink” there still is no cure. One wonders how much of that pink money is really being used to find a cure for breast cancer, and how much is being used to promote “the pink.”
Along with the Komen/Planned Parenthood connection.
Save the ta-tas, indeed. How about “save the women” instead of their most popularly sexualized part.
My husband's aunt survived breast cancer four years ago and she finds all the pink breast cancer awareness merchandise to be trite. She was unable to hide how useless she feels “supporting breast cancer patients/survivors” by buying breast cancer awareness items is when a family member excitedly showed her the pink bracelet she had brought. There's nothing sexy or glamorous about any cancer. I actually think all the awareness marketing does little to promote a cure. It seems like it's just another way for companies to fatten their bottom line.
I lost both of my grandmothers to breast cancer and often think of those two classy ladies when I see a “save the ta tas” or something just as tasteless. They would both be mortified!
I loved the article and to know that I am not the only one who feels this way!
Our Lord has kept me safe from this harm in my family, thus far, but there have been other cancers . . . cancer is definitely not sexy and to minimize it through marketing pink things is just over the top and, as you state so well, not helpful.
God bless the women who must suffer this disease as well as having to face marketing campaigns such as this.
Thank you for the link. I, too, have struggled with the breast cancer “campaign”. This article expresses so eloquently my feelings.
As a previous poster indicated, the Susan G. Komen support of Planned Parenthood is a big issue for me. It drives me crazy to see all the campaigns with the pink in every store, on every grocery item, etc., along with people constantly asking me to donate to a Breast Cancer Walk, with the money to go to SGK. People look at me like I have 3 heads when I say why I won't donate. Sigh. Certainly, research to cure breast cancer is a worthy cause. I just wish the money was actually going to fund research, and not to fund other things that I cannot ever support.