This is my first breast cancer awareness month as someone with cancer, but already I hate it. I mean, I REALLY fucking hate it. It brings out all the cancersplainers, and Jesus, the marketing.
When I was pregnant with The Boy, I obsessed over which baby things to buy. Which car seat was best? Which crib? Which stroller? Which baby bottles? I felt like if I chose wrong, everyone would think I was a bad mom. And conversely, if I got it right, everyone would know I was an awesome mom. Which was crap, of course, but marketing is powerful stuff.
It feels the same with all this pink stuff in October. As if you have to buy shit with pink ribbons on it so you can prove you are a good person who is supporting cancer patients like me. Or even more absurdly, post pink ribbons on Facebook and Twitter to “raise awareness.”
Look, if you are my friend, I know you care. I know it because you brought us dinner when I had chemo, or offered to take the kids on a play date, or made me a quilt, or sent me a note saying you were thinking of me. You don’t have to get with the pink marketing to prove you hate cancer. I already know you do.
Besides, barely any of the money you spend on pink crap is going to the research to cure my cancer. The little bit that actually flows to real cancer charities is often spent on education and awareness programs. And of the few dollars going to research, only a tiny fraction goes to metastatic research. I mean, thanks for the hundredth of a cent from that $3 bottle of water you bought and all…but if you want to buy a $1 bottle without a pink ribbon instead, I won’t be offended.
And posting that pink ribbon to your Facebook page? Yeah, that does nothing. Seriously, is there anyone left on the planet who isn’t aware of breast cancer? Like, seriously, we need a whole month of pink ribbons and inspirational Facebook posts to make us go “oh wow, I had no idea you could get cancer in your breast until I saw that pink ribbon in my news feed”? Seriously?
Also, and maybe this makes me kind of a traitor to the breast cancer world, but I don’t see why breast cancer needs its own marketing separate from other cancers. Like, I have tumors on my bones too. Cancer is cancer. As Reverend Al Sharpton said, “The most insane thing for sick people to do is to lay up in the hospital debating about who’s the sickest. We all need to unite and get well together.” When we single out one type of cancer for special treatment, it divides our community, instead of helping us all get well together.
I could go on, but this blogger really said it better than I could have. Go read her words, and then feel free to change your profile picture back from that pink ribbon to a picture of your kids covered in finger paint. Because THAT picture will really make this cancer patient smile.