Monday, October 3, 2011

Say No To Pinktober

[2016 update: 5 years later, this is still relevant.]

If you haven't noticed, it's October. Many great things happen in October. Baseball is finally worth watching, hockey and basketball seasons start, and football is, well...that's a story for another post. There are apples, squash, and candy to contend with. A lot of pink things start showing up as well. I'm personally not a fan of the pink initiative. Before you hate me, let me include a disclaimer: I'm against cancer. I just don't know how strong the link between "awareness" and "cure" is. If October were National We Found a Cure for Breast Cancer month, I'd be more supportive.

There's a great article here [2014 update: here, here, here, and here, 2016 update: here] that sums up my feelings on the month. What angers me most is how much of a lucrative business gimmick it's become. If someone wants me to buy a pink item to raise money for breast cancer awareness, the answer's no. I'm not paying to bring about awareness. Awareness doesn't equal action or results. I'll support finding a cure, supporting survivors, families, and those who currently have cancer, providing treatment, and introducing programs for early detection, but I think we're all well aware of breast cancer itself at this point.

Besides, can't we all just agree the "I (heart) boobies" bracelets (and their offshoots) are objectifying? Women are more than their chests. A woman who's had a mastectomy probably misses not just her boobs, and she's no less of a woman (or a person) without one or both of them. Plus there's the fact that breast cancer is still most common in women past the perky point in their boob life--I doubt they refer to their breasts as boobies. And let's not forget men, who can also get breast cancer but maybe don't care about "boobies," per se. [2016 update: All this to say, I do (heart) boobies. I think they are great. But breast cancer is not about boobs, it's about a malicious disease that affects a whole person.]

What I'm saying is: wear pink if you want. Or don't. But let's not pretend that this color is doing the real work of preventing, treating, or curing breast cancer. That's for us (and teams of qualified doctors and scientists) to do. And while we're at it, let's treat people with cancer like humans, not like body parts that happened to have people attached to them.


  1. I have to admit that if I ended up getting one of those bracelets it wouldn't be as part of a greated cause, it'd just be for the simple truth of it...alas, I haven't conformed...yet. I agree, cancer is a bit more serious than just boobs, or a lack thereof. It's really quite trendy now, so why would we cure something that is so popular to rally around?

    Great post my friend. :) You raised a great concern and made me re-think a lot of things. :)

  2. YOu are so right my dear, you don;t have to be made more aware of cancer it is like the moon its there.