1 October 2014

“Pink is not going to cure anything. It’s just a damned color. Get over it already.”
It’s October 1st, the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The backlash has already started; I noticed it a few days ago online, people already complaining about it, grumbling about having to put up with all the “pink shit” for a full month.
“Yeah. We’re already aware of breast cancer.”
Allow me to interject.

No shit.
“Why should it get its own month? Men don’t get a month for anything.”
Know what September is? Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. Why didn’t you know about that? There were events all over the world. This past weekend there was a global motorcycle ride to raise money, the Distinguished Gentlemen’s Motorcycle Ride, and it raised a couple million. If you shop for groceries at a particular national chain, you had the option to round up the cost of your purchases and donate that money towards prostate cancer research.

The events are out there. So why didn’t you know?

Because it’s not as big as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Give it time; in ten years you might be complaining about light blue. It’s just a color, after all. It’s not going to cure anything, either.

But think about it. You’ve become attuned to pink being the color for breast cancer because it’s been upfront every October for as long as you can remember, and it’s been well promoted. Breast cancer charities are well organized, and they’ve taken the time needed to get you to where you’re sick of it.

You should be sick of it.

The ultimate goal is for the color pink to again be nothing but a pretty color, and someday we’ll get there.

Someday we’ll be sick of light blue ribbons…and that’s a good thing. It means we’re trying harder to save lives. It deserves the passion that everything pink has earned.



This month is a reminder: do what you can. Fight it how you can. Check yourself—too many people just don’t think about it any other time of year—whether you’re male or female. Schedule a mammogram. Teach your kids about self-exams. Donate to your favorite charity.

You’re aware of breast cancer; that doesn’t mean you’ll do anything about it any other time of year.

That said…I’m not a fan of pinkwashing. I’m not a fan of every company out there slapping a pink ribbon on their product with the promise that a portion of sales will be donated to a breast cancer charity. I’m not a fan because I don’t think the amount donated adds up to much, as little as 2-5%, but it garners a whole lot of sales and profit for those companies.

Pick your own awareness endeavor. It doesn’t have to be monetary. Educate yourself, educate your kids, schedule the long-put-off exam. Support a friend going through treatment. Make this month a touchstone.

It is easier to donate; don’t buy a bunch of crap just because it has a pink ribbon it unless you really want that particular item. Find your charity of choice. Use Charity Navigator to help narrow the field down.
“Yeah, Thump, you’re a Komen freak…I’m not giving anything to them. Most of their money pays their CEOs, not to research.”
I’m not a Komen freak; I have my issues with them but overall I’m satisfied with where the money goes. As of 2013, 84% of the money they raised went directly to programs. Only 6.4% went to administrative costs—those salaries that are always getting bitched about. A little less than 11% went to fundraising efforts; it takes money to make money.

And no, not all of that 84% goes to research, though 80% of the money raised in the walks I participate in does. They do more than fund research; they fund mammograms, health screenings, education, and a plethora of other worthwhile endeavors.

I’m not 100% on board with them, but on the scale of good versus evil, they do far more good.

But there are other BC charities out there. is highly rated on Charity Navigator; they don’t spend as much on programs—80%—but they do a lot and they’re transparent about where the money goes.
“Pink is STILL just a color.”
Symbolism, guys. Red, white, and blue are just colors, too, but put them together in just the right way, and you have something people are willing to fight over.

Remember this shirt?

I wore it on my first 3 Day. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of names on it.

The next year, the number of names doubled.

Every year, the names I add give extra weight to the shirt.

This year, there are so many names that I don't think my shirt is big enough.

Try tell those people, or the family members of the people whose names are there but they are not, that pink is just a color and this is all just "pink shit."

Pink isn’t just a color, but the ultimate goal is that one day it will be.

Until then... Peoples' lives are more important than someone's offended sensibilities.


Gemini and Ichiro said...

Komen also helps low income women with their bills. One of my friends talked t them when she found a lump. She's an LMP and self employed. They helped her with the Medicaid paperwork and got her on there. Then, when she knew for sure it was cancer, they assisted her in making a plan to survive the process-not just via the medical side, which they mostly left up to her doctors, but survive financially. When the money ran out and she still couldn't go back to work (LMP's use a lot of body strength) they gave her a $500 to pay her rent. Something the rest of her friends couldn't do at that point because we'd already done what we could. And that makes SGK worth it to me. Because they're keeping people in their homes, eating food, caring for their children even while they go through treatment.

Just Ducky said...

Mum see her furiends names there. Plus the men have Movember for general men's health!

Lone Star Purrs said...

We got a little teary eyeing owe family names on the shirt. :'-)

Unknown said...

Maybe people are tired of hard sell charity because all we hear about are the walks and how much people need to send money so there can be a cure for things someday. It's ALWAYS someday. It never ends being someday. Kinda like PBS pledge breaks how nothing ever ends. Even though, yeah, giving money and finding cures are important there is nothing said about any success stories. That's totally not understandable. Sometimes people need to know people have been cured because of money that gets raised. Then maybe we'll start to care again. Not just about boobies but every charity.

Sleepypete said...

Yey ! Claps hands in manic agreement :-)

I got a fair bit of stick for wearing the Pink Hat for a whole cricket season a few years back. But I was damn proud of doing that because of what it represented :

Awareness of the condition
Rememberance of a lost colleague