Author Topic: All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?  (Read 19666 times)

Debra

  • Administrator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11228
    • View Profile
    • April Reign
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« on: October 06, 2006, 05:28:54 PM »
link
Quote
Five years after Barbara Enrenreich's masterful critique of ultrafeminine breast cancer commercial culture ran in Harper's Magazine, it's the pinkest October ever.

In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are plenty of exciting ways to get with the cause, from freshening your breath with pink Tic Tacs to test driving a BMW. Indeed, BMW will donate $1 for every mile to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation ("Choose from the sporty 2006 3 Series or the luxurious 7 Series, or better yet take them both out for a thrilling test drive!")

Or you can just stay home and click on pink text.

But there also seems to be an increased amount of discussion and scrutiny. Within the frame of Ehrenreih's essay, Rebecca Traister looks at some items on the market this year, including Pink Ribbon Barbie.

"Check her out and tell me how many cancer patients battle their disease while decked out in a mermaid-style chiffon gown," writes Traister. "And what is there to say about Barbie's glossy, towering bouffant as an expression of cancer awareness? As the reader who passed this tip along wrote, 'Does [this Barbie] perform a self-exam when you push a button on its back? Are the breasts and hair removable, to prepare them for future operations and let them know it's okay?'"

Doubtful, seeing how Barbie gloves go up to her elbows.
“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.” —  Josephine Hart

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2006, 05:36:32 PM »
I'm glad to hear this, as that stuff makes me want to scream, as well as inducing low-level constant terror that can't exactly be good for the immune system.
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

'lance

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3468
    • View Profile
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2006, 05:46:55 PM »
That Barbara Ehrenreich article was definitely eye-opening (or hair-raising). It's available online.

Quote
I was thinking of it as one of those drive-by mammograms, one stop in a series of mundane missions including post office, supermarket, and gym, but I began to lose my nerve in the changing room, and not only because of the kinky necessity of baring my breasts and affixing tiny Xray opaque stars to the tip of each nipple. I had been in this place only four months earlier, but that visit was just part of the routine cancer surveillance all good citizens of HMOs or health plans are expected to submit to once they reach the age of fifty, and I hadn't really been paying attention then. The results of that earlier session had aroused some "concern" on the part of the radiologist and her confederate, the gynecologist, so I am back now in the role of a suspect, eager to clear my name, alert to medical missteps and unfair allegations. But the changing room, really just a closet off the stark windowless space that houses the mammogram machine, contains something far worse, I notice for the first time now an assumption about who I am, where I am going, and what I will need when I get there. Almost all of the eye-level space has been filled with photocopied bits of cuteness and sentimentality: pink ribbons, a cartoon about a woman with iatrogenically flattened breasts, an "Ode to a Mammogram," a list of the 'lop Ten Things Only Women Understand" ('Fat Clothes" and 'Eyelash Curlers" among them), and, inescapably, right next to the door, the poem "I Said a Prayer for You Today," illustrated with pink roses.

sparqui

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7434
    • View Profile
    • http://resettlethis.blogspot.com/
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2006, 06:11:54 PM »
Fantastic article!!!

Much of the success of the pink ribbon campaign depends on fear and guilt. To not been seen wearing a pink ribbon is tantamount to not caring about the countless women who are battling (and dying) of breast cancer. And like lagatta says, there is an underlying message that no woman is safe from the ravages of breast cancer -- your mother, your sister, your daughter, you.) Marketing execs probably pat themselves on their back for the genius and success of their campaign.

The 'support the troops' -- wear red on Fridays pro-war advocates are also trying to use the same manipulative techniques. (Someone you know might be dying soon to protect your freedoms...)
If my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a tractor. -- Gilles Duceppe

fern hill

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10640
    • View Profile
    • http://scathinglywrongrightwingnutz.blogspot.com/
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2006, 06:03:15 PM »
Terrific article. I love Barbara. Pink ribbons are getting as yucky as white ribbons (don't get me started). And the corporate bandwagon leaping is revolting too. I saw pink-ribbon branded M&Ms. They're pink of course.  :roll:

suzette

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 740
    • View Profile
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2006, 07:58:27 PM »
Wow, it's happening in Canada, too?  There is an absolute WAVE of pink here at the moment: bottled water, Tim Tams (a type of chocolate biscuit, which has brought out a pink-filled variety), pens, lightbulbs, face cream.... I work in HIV and turn my mind to fundraising from time to time, and all I can think of when I see all this pink is "Wow!  This is the work of a marketing genius!  How can we get them on OUR side?"

fern hill

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 10640
    • View Profile
    • http://scathinglywrongrightwingnutz.blogspot.com/
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2006, 08:18:56 PM »
Yabbut, suzette, I'd like to know how much dough is actually going to breast cancer research, education, patient support and so on. 'A portion of the proceeds' is what exactly for the advertising advantage of using the pink ribbon and promoting the product at various other events and fundraisers? And the corporate 'good citizenship' the company can claim?

ruby

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 25
    • View Profile
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2006, 08:31:05 PM »
That article by Barbara Enrenreich articulated many thoughts that have been percolating in my head for quite some time.

That little pink ribbon is everywhere these days and as a symbol of breast cancer it barely registers in my mind as a "cause" anymore - I automatically shrug it off as a marketing ploy when I see it on a yogurt container or a tube of lipstick.

I also see so many women with plastic products featuring the pink ribbon and I wonder if they know about the manufacturing of these plastics, and how the chemicals involved might be contributing to rising breast cancer rates.

Did anyone see the documentary that Wendy Mesley did on this topic? I only caught a part of it but I would love to see the whole thing.

Toedancer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13966
    • View Profile
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2006, 08:57:43 PM »
This site at least goes a little ways in explaining the politics of breast cancer.

http://www.bcaction.org/Pages/GetInform ... itics.html

Quote
Where did the pink ribbon come from?

During the month of October, pink ribbons everywhere remind us to race, drive, cook and shop for the cure. But where did the pink ribbon come from?

In the early 1990s, 68-year-old Charlotte Haley began making peach ribbons by hand in her home. Her daughter, sister and grandmother all had breast cancer. She distributed thousands of ribbons at supermarkets with cards that read: "The National Cancer Institute annual budget is $1.8 billion, only 5 percent goes for cancer prevention. Help us wake up our legislators and America by wearing this ribbon."

As the word spread, executives from Estée Lauder and Self magazine asked Haley for permission to use her ribbon. Haley refused, and Self magazine was startled by Haley's answer. "She wanted nothing to do with us. Said we were too commercial." But they really wanted to have her ribbon. They consulted their lawyers and were advised to come up with another color. They chose pink, a color that focus groups say is 'soothing, comforting and healing'—everything breast cancer is not. Soon Charlotte Haley's grassroots peach ribbon was history, and the pink ribbon became the worldwide symbol for breast cancer..


So Peach from a women's kitchen was the original. But just try to bring that back. Instead we must be infantized. I'm only guessing Charlotte made them in the kitchen, maybe it was her DR table, I dunno.

Quote
# How are the funds being raised? Is it through the sale of cosmetics that contain chemicals suspected to cause cancer? Is it through a tournament on a golf course sprayed with pesticides? Is $1 being given each mile you test-drive a polluting car?  Don't let "pinkwashing" corporations exploit your good intentions by positioning themselves as leaders in the struggle against breast cancer while engaging in practices that may be contributing to rising rates of the disease.
# What types of programs are being supported? If research, what kind? Is it research at major institutions that already get enormous financial support, or is it innovative research into the causes of breast cancer that is currently underfunded?
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

k'in

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2334
    • View Profile
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2006, 09:06:15 PM »
ruby-you can watch Wendy Mesley's informative  "Chasing The Cancer Answer" here:

http://www.cbc.ca/consumers/market/files/health/cancer/

I (almost) have to give them credit for the pervasiveness of "The Cure" campaign that seems to be everywhere.  I caught myself one day last week checking out nail polish.  I picked up a bottle, then backed up to see a huge pink ribbon P.O.P. display.  Eeek!  Dropped that little sucker as if it were radioactive.  The word "proceeds" is indeed one of those weasal words that legally means that "something" (could be $1 out of $100) from your donation goes to the charity (which itself might have huge overhead).  A couple of blocks over they had a street yard sale with cute "yardsale for the cure" signs. A major chartered bank is the title sponsor for the "Run For the Cure". I've seen the M&Ms, and the Barbies and...on it goes.

I love pink too (pastel to "hot").  I hate how this colour has been co-opted as (indeed) a marketing ploy.

lagatta

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13093
    • View Profile
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2006, 09:15:05 PM »
In my favourite cookware shop, Quincaillerie Dante (also known as "kill it and cook it" as the other side is a gun and outdoor shop) I noticed a microplane grater with a ... pink handle. Looked rather gross.

I thought the pink stuff was either for li'l girls in pink or a racist assumption about the colour of women's breasts...

The cheeriness is nauseating. And I'm not surprised that it is a détournement of women's self-health action.

In a similar vein, the Black and Blue festival here in the (mostly male) gay community is a commercial dérive of the activist fight against HIV-Aids...
" Eure \'Ordnung\' ist auf Sand gebaut. Die Revolution wird sich morgen schon \'rasselnd wieder in die Höhe richten\' und zu eurem Schrecken mit Posaunenklang verkünden: \'Ich war, ich bin, ich werde sein!\' "
Rosa Luxemburg

Toedancer

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 13966
    • View Profile
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2006, 10:07:20 PM »
I haven't looked for any source, but I heard recently that teal-blue will be representing women's ovaries soon.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

deBeauxOs

  • Guest
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2006, 10:59:51 PM »
Quote from: lagatta
In my favourite cookware shop, Quincaillerie Dante (also known as "kill it and cook it" as the other side is a gun and outdoor shop) I noticed a microplane grater with a ... pink handle. Looked rather gross.
 
In spite of the cloying prevalence of pink for women, and thus for breast cancer, this company does approach tool empowerment with a positive attitude.  
Quote
Tomboy Tools is very different from the run-of-the-mill home improvement retailers. We advocate education and have an internal culture that supports women in becoming confident, competent homeowners and DIHs – Do-It-Herselfers! Our tool parties and events provide a fun, relaxed atmosphere with quality tools sized right. Giving women the proper tools and techniques to create a more functional, beautiful and livable space.
Yup, tupperware parties with a difference.

As for the use of teal blue for ovarian cancer, that has been around for about 5 years, it seems.

skdadl

  • Global Moderator
  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 32874
    • View Profile
    • http://www.pogge.ca
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2006, 07:15:49 AM »
Teal blue -- that is news to me. I must explore that site to see what I think of it. The basic informational pages I read looked ok to me, if very basic.

suzette

  • Senior Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 740
    • View Profile
All Pink'd Out On Breast Cancer?
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2006, 08:55:57 AM »
Quote from: fern hill
Yabbut, suzette, I'd like to know how much dough is actually going to breast cancer research, education, patient support and so on.
True enough.  Here the actual percentage seems to be on all the packaging.  I think it's all of it.  The bottle of water I bought recently said 5% of sales would go to.... whatever it went on to say.  I think 5% is the figure I've seen on most things here.  I'm not sure if specifying the figure is law in this country; given that they're all doing it, I'd say it is. Even still, 5% of all that be-pinked stuff is going to be worth a fair bit of spondouli, although where and how that is being distributed is another question again.

 

Return To TAT