Saturday, November 13, 2010

"It also reinforces the idea that breasts are the fundamental, defining aspect of femininity."

I mentioned to a friend last week, off hand, that I hate pink-colored items for sale in the name of "breast cancer awareness" or "breast cancer support". Awareness and the support are great - as is research for a cure - and so the friend was shocked and said, "Why do you hate it? I like it. I support research when I buy it."

And I only had a vague answer that many of the products donate a portion of the proceeds to research, and usually only a portion of the first 1,000 or 10,000 or 100,000 sold - be it yogurt lids or shoelaces. It was decidedly not a powerful response. And it was decidedly not everything that bothers me, that prompted me to use the word "hate", but I just couldn't find the words for the feelings/thoughts.

Then I read this article today, from which the quote/title of this post is pulled, and I realized that's the answer I want to give. It's not only the marketing devilry involved in the pink-ifying of everything. It's the "Save the TaTa's" type campaigns, that reduce cancer treatment to a reason for saving a woman's defining role in the world: being sexual, particularly using her breasts -- and preferably for another's pleasure. So I tip my proverbial hat to Peggy Orenstein for that great essay.

1 comment:

  1. Have you read the piece Barbara Ehrenreich wrote in Harper's about her experience with breast cancer? I can't find a link to it at the moment because my internet is being atrociously slow, but it's called "Welcome to Cancerland" and it's worth a read if you can find it. She talks about how stifling and infantilizing she found the breast cancer culture--how everything having to do with the disease was surrounded by pink teddy bears and other sweet, "uplifiting" mementos. She said something about how ridiculous she found that--how she was sure men with cancer didn't get Matchbox cars as gifts that were supposed to help them pull through.