Why I hate pink ribbon culture

Did you notice it was some kind of dog-related holiday this week? Susan G. Komen For The Cure did. This is from their Twitter feed.

Know what I was doing on that dog day? This.

Here’s another one from the Komen twitter feed earlier this year.

Round about that time I was looking something like this, on my way to a blood transfusion.

Check it, I still I had eyebrows then! Ah, memories.

Here’s the thing, y’all: breast cancer is not some sorority where the treatment is the hazing and once it’s done, it’s all a party with giant bras and fake boobs on dogs. Cancer is a shitshow that leaves lasting scars. One of my closest friends had stage I breast cancer, and she’d be the first to tell you that although chemo and radiation are over, she’s not done with cancer. She lives with the scars and the pills and the emotional damage every day. And for those of us who are stage IV, the hazing of treatment only ends when we die. We never get to join the sorority.

All this pink shit, the bras and the feather boas? They trivialize a deadly disease. They make sport of our deaths. Actually, what they do is erase our deaths. Because if those dogs are what breast cancer is about, where do I fit into the picture, with my one breast? I’m being tortured so I can buy a little extra time with my kids before I leave them motherless. And I WILL leave them motherless, no matter how many dogs get put into bras. No amount of awareness will save my life.

The next time you see one of these things, I’d like you to register your dislike with the organization sharing it. And while you’re at it, demand that they spend more money on research, which is the only thing that will save my life and the lives of the other 150,000 Americans living with metastatic breast cancer.

15 thoughts on “Why I hate pink ribbon culture

  1. No breasts left here. Counting my days as well. Fun fun fun. I absolutely hate the rah rah efforts in the name of a disease that has killed my friends and is killing us. It’s wrong on all levels and I’ve ranted about it myself. Unfortunately, we continually face the message that our deadly disease should be met with a smile and a giggle, a fun pink time had by all… and then to add insult to injury, comments like the one above by “Kate who doesn’t have cancer” are common. Insulting and ignorant of our reality, but common.
    Carolyn Frayn recently posted…LifeMy Profile

  2. I’m repulsed every time I see breast cancer turned into a party. It’s demeaning and trivializing. I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this crap. I hope your children have their mother for more years than you thought possible.

  3. I had not seen the photos but looking at them here absolutely horrifies me. I find them extremely offensive. I stopped donating to SK years ago after seeing the CBS segment detailing the amount of money they spend on salaries and on attorneys so they can sue the pants off of any person or organization who even thinks about using the word ‘cure’ or ‘race’ or ‘run’ or ‘pink’. I think it’s time for another plug for the BREAST CANCER RESEARCH FUND: http://www.bcrfcure.org/?utm_source=Master+Subscription+List&utm_campaign=a6114ce247-Oct_31_FINAL_DAY_Engaged_10_31_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_da51bab24a-a6114ce247-53327493
    88% of their more than half a billion dollars in donations go to research while only 3% go to ‘awareness’–we’re all aware of breast cancer, aren’t we?

  4. You said it bcmets-sister!

    I’m sensing some better discretion now in Canada re bc fundraising marketing and events. Part of the problem is that “awareness” is not changing the outcomes for women so they have to change the message. Another part of the problem is that the population seeing these sorts of silly ads get the idea that it is not a serious disease anymore. Surveys show an incredible % of people believe that if bc is caught early it can be cured…not true. And that was caused by people playing with statistics and calling five year survival = cured…not true.

    A more sober advertising approach is needed to reset how people view this disease and therefore to get them to continue to open their wallets and donate to organizations who are (we hope) researching for a cure, meaning a cure to all bc not just early stage bc.

    Don’t get me started…
    Thanks for calling out Komen!

  5. I find it amazing that you all don’t see the benefit of these pictures, fund raising events and foundations. They are all designed to create and foater ibterest in giving money cor research etc.
    And just because I don’t knowingly have cancer doesn’t mean I don’t ‘get’ it.

    1. When Komen gives less than a third of its money to research, and only spends a tiny fraction of that research money on metastatic disease–which causes the vast majority of breast cancer deaths–then no, I wouldn’t say they’re doing good for those of us who are dying. Trivializing our disease like this makes it harder to raise money, because people come to believe that breast cancer is no biggie, I mean, look how fun it can be, right? WRONG.

    2. It is hard to understand that you “get it” and that you also support this kind of fundraising. Maybe prostate cancer fundraisers would raise more money by demeaning men’s private parts in a similar fashion. I find Komen’s ads to be mysogynistic and degrading to all women whether or not they have Breast cancer.

      That said, I hope you will continue to support research to find a cure for this dreadful disease. We need it!


    3. Yeah Kate, just because you don’t have cancer DOES mean that you don’t get it. Having a diagnosis of st 4 breast cancer means that we will never be cured. I started out, as have about a third of people with stage 4 disease with early stage disease, and was stunned to find out that years later, it showed up in my lungs. All of the rah-rah, feather boa, tu-tu bullshit from Komen does us no good. Organizations such as Komen ignore the facts of metastatic disease, have barely spent any of the millions they’ve collected on researching the hows and whys of metastasis, and have refused to address the facts that no matter how “early” a breast cancer is diagnosed, a third of us will develop metastatic (st 4) disease and die from it. The numbers of deaths from BC haven’t improved in 40 years. Think that deserves silliness? dogs with pink boobs?

    4. This is so annoying to me because I personally have never felt like celebrating. I am still dealing with the after-math and I am not done with cancer. I don’t want to be celebrated, I want a cure. I can end up being stage 4 at any time and to me this isn’t cute. So many women are dying everyday, including my family members. I find this ad offensive and it is a misrepresentation of what breast cancer really is.

      To Kate: I hope you never have to deal with cancer but please if you are donating for breast cancer research, think about who you’re giving your money to. Stage 4 breast cancer needs a lot of funding (check out: http://www.metavivor.org/). 108 women are dying everyday (I believe the number recently went up). Having dogs dressed up with fake boobs isn’t doing anything for these women. We have enough awareness about breast cancer already. What we need is a cure. Soon.
      Rebecca recently posted…Missing my spontaneityMy Profile

  6. I am also stage 4 breast cancer and totally agree with you! We fight for our lives every day and to have people turn it into fun and games is disgusting.

  7. I just can’t believe Komen did THAT…it’s disgusting how they’re demeaning us and making us invisible…shame on them! Thank you Beth! I have the joy of infusions for life with one boob as well. Counting my days….Joanne

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