Friday, October 8, 2010

Are You Thinking Pink?

I am taking the time to steer away from the usual topic on this blog to address something very important. I am sorry if you had read this from me before, but the word needs to be spread.

Yes, October is "Breast Cancer Awareness" Month. This means everything in sight is donned with a new bright pink advertising and packaging paint and/or there are several new ways to "support the cause".

The biggest things in my life that always seem to pop up this time of month are the stupid Facebook Memes and "buy this and proceeds go to research" crap. Have you ever stopped to think about where this money is going, or what you are really buying? Have you ever stopped to think about someone suffering from the fight against breast cancer? How does a woman who has had a double mastectomy fill in the blank of what color her bra is?

I have always thought these Facebook Meme's were stupid for several reasons. What do vague sexual innuendoes do to support a cause? Who gives a crap where you keep your purse? Also, you would be surprised to hear the amount of men out there fighting breast cancer as well. Not because their wives have it, but because they do! Sorry but bras, purses and the color pink do little to help men. Today, I was shared the link to a few different articles and blog postings that really struck me.

Susan Niebur is an Astrophysicist, mother of two and blogger, that is battling cancer for the third time. Earlier this morning I was directed to a letter she had submitted to about this whole Facebook Meme of bra colors and purse locations. These games have really romanticized something truly devastating. Susan writes in her letter "Cancer is not pretty. It's not pink. And it's definitely not flirty. It's a deadly, bloody, nasty disease, and it's killing me." As someone that watched her grandmother die from cancer and lupus, I can completely agree. No Facebook status update is going to change that.

One of the ways people can really help is stop thinking about "Awareness" and start focussing on action. Start with yourself. Touch your breasts. Examine yourselves! Schedule a mammogram, especially if you are over 40 and/or there is history of this disease in your family. Speak up. More and more men are finding out they have breast cancer when it is too late. Men and women alike, if you notice something weird about your body tell someone! Last but not least, donate! Whether it be your time or money, give something worthwhile to cancer research. Participate in studies in the area, online surveys, Relay for Life and monetary donations, but be smart!

In this economy, no one can afford to be just throwing money away. I have never bought something in a store or online just because it was pink, or had ribbons on it or said "proceeds go to cancer research". October and the earliest week of November seems to be the time of "pinkwashing". Hell, they even have the NFL in on the act. After posting the link to Susan's letter to I was referred to her personal blog and her views on both the Bra Color game from facebook last year and how little you actually donate from grocery store product pushes, Cafepress support t-shirts and other pinkwashing schemes.

So before you decide to post "where you like it" or to buy that $25 shirt "in the name of awareness", think about what you are really supporting. I introduced one of thousands of other cancer survivors and fighters that feel just like she does. If you want to help someone, think about something that will really make a difference!

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