No doubt you’re aware — since this is the month of awareness, after all — that all kinds of arguments exist against capital-P Pink and its annual bedfellow, October. The arguments swirl, especially with assistance from today’s social media. Earlier this month, Twitter’s trends and hashtags included #breastcancer, to be sure, but also #pinktober, #pinkwashing, and even #toomuchpink.
Dr. Gayle Sulik’s book, Pink Ribbon Blues, discusses these issues, determining that the truth about breast cancer has now been “silenced in a cacophony of pink talk.” Consumers buy countless pink tchotchkes and tee-shirts in the name of “hope” and “the cure,” but these products may have little or nothing to do with actually funding such intentions. (Read our review at TheBreastCareSite.com, by scrolling down and clicking on the title.)
But today, I read a response to the question of Pink, by Nancy Brinker. She and the Komen organization are often pointed to as the bad guys in all of this. What she had to say made me stop and think:
Breast cancer already had a head start of several thousand years before we got to it. And in the flutter of time since, we’ve gone from never discussing breast cancer publicly to a time when some say that maybe we talk about it too much. From a time when few women even knew what a mammogram was, to a time when some say too many women are getting them….Pink had everything to do with that.
I’m certainly not qualified to say decidedly whether the use of pink ribbon products and promotions is a good thing or a bad thing in today’s world. However, the fact that we’re still talking about it means something. Maybe this very debate is helping the cause by keeping breast cancer in the forefront of people’s minds. More important, this very debate and the response (outrage?) it has caused is making donors pay more attention to where they send their money and support. Maybe that means local, hands-on groups are getting more support than before. Maybe groups who actually help the uninsured and underinsured are getting more funding. Maybe — hopefully — research entities are starting to receive direct support.
We wouldn’t have that result if Pink and October had never met, would we? What do you think? Let’s use this post as a safe place to discuss it.