I was really happy to see all the discussion that yesterday’s post generated, both from people who agreed and disagreed. Thank you for pitching in your voice. I enjoyed hearing from people who had much different experiences with Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Most of all though I would like to apologize to anyone who I might have offended. So I thought I would clarify a few points.
Awareness, to me, is the most important part of BCAM, and the way I conceptualize awareness tends to be concrete information about prevention and causality. I don’t see pink products as achieving that goal. For other people though, pink takes on a different role. It acts as a reminder or serves as a memorialization. I don’t mean to diminish that purpose at all. Ultimately I would like to see them combined – pink water bottles that say “BSEs once a month” or boxes of pink granola bars that include a handout describing risk factors and prevention measures.
My goal was to get people to question their purchases in the name of charity. I don’t think that buying pink products in and of itself is bad, but I think it’s good to take a moment to double-check why we are doing it. Ask questions like, “What percentage of the proceeds are actually going to research?” or “is this company just using my sense of goodwill to sell a product?” You might still decide to buy the product, you might decide to send a check directly to the campaign, or you might decide to support another cause. I think breast cancer awareness has pure intentions, and I worry that corporate interests have used those intentions to manipulate customers. But that doesn’t mean supporting breast cancer awareness or buying something pink is bad in and of itself.
Last, I just want us to remember there are other diseases that are not as well known or not as easy to sympathize with. While every single person can’t care about every single cause, I hope that we haven’t gravitated towards breast cancer awareness over other important diseases because of its marketability. Is it important disease to research, treat, and cure? Of course! I just hope that it isn’t distracting us from other important diseases.
Again, I am sorry if I offended anyone. I just want us to stay aware and always question what is presented to us. Being a medical anthropology student I am used to taking these impersonal, analytical views on things which can be very personal to other people. Sometimes its good to step back and take an impartial view and other times it’s good to hear from people who have experienced these things. I hope that we can keep open minds and the discussion alive.
And here’s a breast cancer charity I can get behind: Tit Bits