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Yay or Nay: Boycott Breast Cancer Awareness Month?


It's impossible not to have seen the tidal wave of pink gear that's part of breast cancer fundraising, especially with October, Breast Cancer Awareness month, having just passed.  However, The Assertive Cancer Patient, a breast cancer survivor, says she simply feels exploited and many other breast cancer survivors feel the same way.  She says often only a small percentage of the pink product cash goes to the cancer fighting efforts, so it's really just a way for companies to sell more stuff.  We need health care, she argues, not junk with a feel-good pink paint job.

The thing I've always wondered about the whole pink campaign is, why do feminists tolerate it?  There are hundreds of kinds of cancer, yet the one that gets the most airtime is breast cancer.  How is that not objectification of women?  The implication has always been to me that our breasts are the most important part of us, therefore let's not bother to address brain cancer, heart disease, AIDS, etc.  How can splintering types of cancer research, and forcing breast cancer to compete for public attention (therefore, funds) against other kinds of cancer, be desirable?  Why doesn't October apply to all kinds of cancer - at the very least?

I realize people like the whole pink thing because they've had some female friend die of breast cancer and it lets them memorialize.  There are a lot of sharp responses I can give to that kind of muddy thinking, but it boils down to that living people are more important than dead ones, nearly every time.  Charity fundraising has splintered in the most alarming way over the past 20 years; it seems everybody has a bracelet, chocolate bar or random bit of foil-covered plastic we're supposed to purchase so that some cut of the take goes to send albinos to band camp or fight Tourette's Syndrome in carpet layers.  Any businessman alive will tell you you don't split your R&D budget into blue widgets, green widgets and red widgets; you have a widget budget and design them so they can be painted afterward.  (And then you add in a pink widget so you can say you're interested in women.  I bet you are.) 

Post Yay or Nay on Boycotting Breast Cancer Month.  [GT]

The Assertive Cancer Patient

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November 9, 2006 in Agree or Disagree? | Permalink


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Hmm, Yay AND Nay from me. When pink gadgets started coming out originally, they were just pink - with no charity association. I have to admit I feel uncomfortable about this new craze for charity pink tech. It's always struck me as yet another marketing ploy. The problem is, it seems a bit churlish to get too worked up - after all, money is going to charity (even if charities are getting less than they'd probably get with a direct donation).

When it comes to pink tech, a lot of people will buy the stuff anyway, so why not have that charitable donation thrown in?

I do agree about the breast thing though - it's always puzzled me what this fixation is with that particular form of cancer!

Posted by: Katie | 9 Nov 2006 17:22:18

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