As we enter the middle of breast cancer awareness month, SurvivorNet wanted to look at some different opinions on the month to better understand the debate around its impact, and the incredible amount of “pink” awareness raised each year for breast cancer.
Information About The "Pink" Debate -- Breast Cancer Awareness Month
This October 1st, people began pinkifying their possessions, getting pink manicures in honor of breast cancer, attending awareness-raising benefits for the illness, and raising money for the cause. And as a way to keep people engaged with the cause, people and companies try to be as creative as they can, and often as cute as they can, in order to attract attention.Read More
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Once Again October is Here and its Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Women are 1-8 Chances to Get Breast Cancer and Men Can Get it Too! Save the Ta Ta's by Getting Involved, Get Educated and Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month!! ????????????âœŒ????#cancersucks #fuckcancer #savethetatas #busbros #bus__bros #bbsc #busbabes #babes #cancerawareness #fightcancer #volkswagen #nevergiveup #regularcheckups #pink #vwbus #vwlife #buslife #vwlife #liveyourlife #dowhatyoulove #october #indiansummer #southerncalifornia #socal #marchon #fighton #winning. Bus Bro's & Babes to Check Out @la_aircooled @vw_bugs_n_babes @vintage_volkswagens @h2o_negative_vwsquadron
In another post, @Iamstufft uploaded a recipe for a banana strawberry smoothie, and said that it was her contribution to the #hellocookpinkchallenge, where people can upload photos of pink foods and attach recipes for making them during breast cancer awareness month.
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âœ¨Think Pink.âœ¨October is breast cancer awareness month. ???? We all know someone that has been affected by breast cancer in some way. This post is my tribute to all the brave women and their families who have touched by breast cancer and a reminder to all of us to get screened and continue spreading awareness. â ???? â â € Seen here is my simple strawberry banana smoothie. ????????????Fresh fruit, plant milk and hemp seeds. It is my favorite flavor of smoothie and always feels like a treat. It’s my contribution to the #hellocookpinkchallenge â â € â â € I have a full blog post on how I build my strawberry banana smoothie and what I like to add for some extra protein, fiber or nutrients. The link is in my bio. â âœ¨???? _____________________________________________
For some, these are valiant attempts to further the cause of breast cancer, pass on awareness, and generate interest for the cause.
But there are also those who criticize the month, saying that it trivializes the experience of survivors and reduces that experience to something cute, pink, and stomach-able for those who don’t know how hard the illness really is.
One breast cancer survivor, @andrenaburns, who finds breast cancer awareness month a detriment to the cause recently uploaded a an ironic photo of a bunch of pink balloons with nipples painted on them, so that together they look like a bunch of balloon breasts, “I really fu@king struggle with Breast Cancer Awareness Month…it feels like my entire world (my socials anyway) are awash with pink…pink ribbons, t-shirts and other useless ephemera along with frothy messages telling us that if we give our girls a squeeze every month…well…simply put, it will all be ok! I did, and it wasn't!”
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Ok I'm going to be the arsehole and say it like it is…I really fu@king struggle with Breast Cancer Awareness Month…it feels like my entire world (my socials anyway) are awash with pink…pink ribbons, t-shirts and other useless ephemera along with frothy messages telling us that if we give our girls a squeeze every month…well…simply put, it will all be ok! . I did, and it wasn't! . I get it that we need to keep educating everyone…I really do…but when you start to understand where all those pink $,â‚¬ & £ are being spent it's heart breaking. . It's estimated that 95% of ALL money raised for breast cancer goes on awareness programs & treatment research for primary breast cancer! . And no one dies from primary breast cancer…did you know that? . I'll just let that sink in a bit…yep that's right…people only die from secondary breast cancer – secondary breast cancer is when the cancer spreads outside of the breast & nodes into the bones, liver, lung or brain. . So that means ONLY 5% of all that money raised goes towards research for a cure for those of us that have secondaries – and it's those secondaries that will take our lives. . Please, please, please check your breasts, attend your mammography appointments and if you wouldn't mind, when making a donation or buying a bit of 'pink' please ask the charity what percentage of the donation will go towards saving the lives of the 958 British women and 268 Australian women a MONTH who die from secondary breast cancer! . Sorry…rant over…as you were! . ???? Fanny McPhee . ???? @ninas_nips . #SecondaryBreastCancer #MetastaticBreastCancer #Stage4 #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth #PinkWashing
For her, it seems the primary problem with breast cancer awareness month is that it makes the process of screening for breast cancer seem simple (as many campaigns emphasize the ease self-breast-examinations) and that it doesn’t recognize the true pain and difficulty that came after her diagnosis.
In an Instagram post from earlier this year, @themenopausecollective shed some awareness on “pinkwashing” and the cutesy nature of breast cancer campaigns at large in a post that illuminated two different voices. The first noted that as a result of ovarian cancer, she now has a “front bottom,” pictured in the Instagram photo. She said that while everyone is busy focusing on breast cancer, ovarian cancer doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and that there is nothing pretty and cute about her front bottom, as the pink campaigns suggest.
The second voice that the post illuminates talks about the reality of breast cancer, and the lack of pretty pinkness in her experience of disease, “Do you see anything pink and fluffy here? I don't. I simply see a broken, petrified and seriously unwell woman. A single mum of four. Three of them tiny babies. I didn't feel sexy or glossy or bosom focused on this day nine years ago. And I certainly wasn't giving much thought to who my 'bosom buddies' were. I simply wanted to stay alive. As I do now, dealing with my third diagnosis. Maybe it's time for a rethink?”
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The responses on here to @marksandspencer #bosombuddies campaign have justifiably been one of anger. If they want to do good, let's hope they are listening to them all. To quote Gayle Sulkik on breast cancer being commodified as a 'trendy social cause', "The commercialization of breast cancer has contributed a lighthearted approach to awareness and advocacy…This trivializes breast cancer and limits our ability to comprehend what it's really like to face the disease, live with medical uncertainty, and accept the difficult realities of risk, recurrence, treatment, and even death." With kind permission, here are two of said responses that we hope M&S (and other corporations) take note of for the future. Via @justjuggling: "@marksandspencerfashionpr soz mate you seem to have made a mistake in your ads. THIS is cancer. Behold my "front bottom" this was " gifted" to me kindly by ovarian cancer, and the wonderful range of treatments I enjoyed. Don't get me wrong I'm grateful to be alive, but your twee celeb/instafluencer ridden schmaltz infuriates. There's too many cancers, support them all! Don't pay models, celebs and instafamous folk (who I sincerely hope donate their 30 pieces of silver to charity) pay real women who are living with this nightmare. I'm reminded daily by my scars, bizarrely more by those on the inside these days of what it took, what it left….. and my bikini days are definitely behind me, and this is one of the bravest things I've done, but if it makes some difference and stops companies and people cashing in. So be it. It ain't pink, it ain't glittery it ain't instafamous it ain't a "shoot" we can enjoy…… THIS IS CANCER. *apologies for the picture…." Via @emplus4: "Do you see anything pink and fluffy here? I don't. I simply see a broken, petrified and seriously unwell woman. A single mum of four. Three of them tiny babies. I didn't feel sexy or glossy or bosom focused on this day nine years ago. And I certainly wasn't giving much thought to who my 'bosom buddies' were. I simply wanted to stay alive. As I do now, dealing with my third diagnosis. Maybe it's time for a rethink? @fashiontargetsbreastcancer @marksandspencer"
As a result, post guides viewers to a writer named Gayle Sulik, whose 2010 book, “Pink Ribbon Blues: How Breast Cancer Culture Undermines Women’s Health,” looks at the trivializing impact of pink culture upon breast cancer survivors.
“The commercialization of breast cancer has contributed a lighthearted approach to awareness and advocacy…This trivializes breast cancer and limits our ability to comprehend what it's really like to face the disease, live with medical uncertainty, and accept the difficult realities of risk, recurrence, treatment, and even death,” she writes.