Jamie's Blog

Saturday, September 29, 2012

RESCUING PINK: The Color, Not The Rock Star

October is just around the corner, its brilliant foliage a harbinger of autumn--of grape vines heavy with purple clusters, of brisk air, apple farms and hot cider, of pumpkin fields and Halloween. 

In recent years October has signaled a different kind of season, with its own signature color and cornucopia: store shelves bulging with beribboned stuff, pink festooned windows and football fields with pinked-out athletes; garbage trucks, toilet paper and  COFFINS.

 This one has 30 pairs of breasts painted on it.

All in the name of breast cancer awareness. Machine guns have awareness ribbons!  
Oh, and kitty litter, so our cats can be aware.

Such crass profiteering from what remains for thousands a deadly disease stirs a tumult of feelings in me, from fury to embarrassment to despair.  

Meanwhile sincere, well-meaning citizens who donate time and money are lulled into thinking that their contributions make a real difference--like ending breast cancer in this century.  

Many breast cancer activists like me are appalled by the growing evidence that garish fundraising tactics serve only to line corporate pockets. We have watched our sisters-in-arms die of metastatic breast cancer. 

Demoralized by these losses, the troops voices have grown more shrill in an effort to be heard over the cheers from Celebrations of Breast Cancer.  The screeching sound of impotent rage grates on everyone's ears ,and might even alienate the very people we want to help. 

To combat this sad turn of events, I will attempt to rescue pink, for it is a perfectly innocent color that was co-opted by the awareness movement because it traditionally symbolized wellness, e.g., 'in the pink of health."  That is why I named my website "Stay In The Pink", because it married the old meaning of pink with the breast cancer ribbon. Unfortunately the exploitation and scandals in the awareness movement have caused me embarrassment with my own website.

So rather than hide my brand in pink-phobic shame I will do all I can to turn the anti-pink tide.

After all, what did pink ever do to me to deserve my wrath?



  1. Good for you! As sick as I (and all of us) get about all the pinkness, I always have some hope that at least some of it might still be useful. There still are underserved communities; there still are young women who think of BC as only their mother's & aunties' disease. And there are millions of women around the globe for whom BC isn't even on the radar. It's up to all of us to do our best to keep the pink focused.
    And it's a fine color!!

  2. Thank you Julie! You are exactly right about the underserved communities: my own little town raises $$$ for the Relay for Life and gets nothing for it. SO the hospital is competing in a Pink Glove Dance for a $prize for my little nonprofit. The manufacturer of pink gloves is going to make a bundle from this! Sigh...

  3. pink coffins. with breasts.

    i am speechless.

    yes jamie. this has gone way too far.