As if it was not bad enough to be diagnosed with cancer, I had to be diagnosed a few weeks before Pink Hell Month. And that is what it is. (If you are a Pink-er, you should probably stop reading now.)
Pink Hell Tidal Wave
Imagine this: A man is diagnosed with prostate cancer. He is told he has to have a radical prostatectomy and is facing chemotherapy and radiation to a very sensitive part of his body. Rather than his friends and family coming around to support and comfort him with promises of helping him get through it, they visit him with teddy bears and ribbons and pink underpants. We would never treat a man that way. We would treat him as a man with a life threatening disease not an E-Ticket to Pink Cancerland.
I was inundated with sappy, smiling stuffed animals soaked in pink dye, their sad eyes looking back at me as if to say, please don't rip my head off before you throw me away. I was given pink angel statues... a promise of what was to become of me? Dying and becoming an angel - a pink one no less? Then came the ribbons. Polyester, cotton even vinyl to put on my car. Pink ribbon necklaces, earrings, bracelets and my favorite- the pink ribbon hair accessories. Those come in handy when you have no hair from chemo.
Why have we permitted ourselves to be infantilized into pretty little pink girls with a frilly little illness that will be made better as long as we have something pink attached to us? We are patted on the head and are considered a bunch of children and heaven forbid we open up our mouths and scream "WTF!" If we don't march in the pink parade and show we are part of the pink team then we are considered "negative" and as any pink expert will tell you, only people with a positive attitude survive.
Some of the most positive women I have ever encountered in my life succumbed to this disease. And yes- despite what you may think as the tidal wave of pink washes over you this month, no, we are not all OK. Women die from this disease. No amount of pink will save them. There is actually a belief out there that breast cancer is pretty much under control now and no one dies from it anymore because of everyone is so happy at all the pink celebrations. They couldn't be more wrong. And that is what is killing us because that may translate into less research money being donated to the only thing we need to be supporting: RESEARCH.
Every October my No Surrender inbox is inundated with PR companies pushing pink merchandise "for awareness." They all start the same way: "Dear Gina, As you may or may not know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we would like you to feature our pink hair tie, spatula, hammer, lug nuts, tape dispensers, tissue boxes, wet wipes, toilet paper, etc. so that the women who read your site would buy them so they, too, can become AWARE of breast cancer!"
How in hell does a pink spatula make you aware of breast cancer? Newsflash: WE ARE AWARE. We don't need your pink shit - we need a CURE.
That is all we want.
To every corporation, CEO and marketing team who hijacks our disease - our life threatening, horrible disease- to increase your sales and then offers some obscure "promise" that a portion of a percentage of every pink piece of crap sold will go toward awareness: STOP IT. I am not the only one who is on to you. We are mad. And we don't buy your products because of the way you are using us. There are over 2 million breast cancer survivors walking around in the US today. Soon, we hope they will all say no to you.
You don't make us feel better. You don't increase awareness. You don't do anything but line your own pockets and devalue the mighty battle we wage every single day.
Please join me, dear reader. If you see something pink this month please don't support the corporate hijackers who benefit from our disease. Give to research instead. Have a dinner delivered to someone recovering from cancer surgery. Anything, but Please Don't Pink.
JUST SAY NO.