Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pinktober: The New October

It's October, and Fall is in the air in many areas of the country (although it is still Summer in my neck of the woods, Texas). Autumn is starting to strut its color palette of the turning leaves: golds, oranges, reds, browns. Mother Nature is showing off her breath-taking display ... but it is being obscured by pinkwashing. Cool, feminine, and flirty pink has become a man-made intrusion into the warm, rich colors of Fall.
This used to be October ...

and now it looks like this ...
and this!!

This explosion of pink has actually taken over the month of October, all in the name of breast cancer awareness. It has gotten so in-your-face obnoxious that October is now called "Pinktober" by many both in and out of the breast cancer community. But more on that later ...

First join me as I ponder over the timing of this pinkness. It is interesting to me that the color pink, a very Spring-ish pastel color, is so prevalent in the Fall. Wonder what the thinking was on that? Isn't it curious that a cancer using pink as its awareness color doesn't have March or April as its special awareness month? Do you think the fact that football is a Fall sport and perhaps needed to
be spiced up with lots of pink accessories was part of the decision-making on that? If the powers-that-be wanted October as their awareness month, why didn't they select a typical Fall color ... like orange? Marketing companies get paid big bucks to figure out these things ... but the logic just isn't there for me. Not that any of this matters; it is just one of those things rattling around in my brain looking for answers. Thanks for indulging me!

Now getting back to Pinktober, it is no secret that I am not a fan. But please don't just call me a hater and dismiss me. I don't hate breasts (I actually have a couple of those myself); I don't hate pink (it was my daughter Jaime's favorite color but not so much mine) ... but I DO hate cancer (and melanoma, the cancer that killed my Jaime, in particular)! I DO support breast cancer awareness and research. I was one of the founding members of the Susan G. Komen chapter in our county about 30 years ago. I have lost too many friends and family members to this disease, and I actually, because of a pre-breast cancer condition diagnosed earlier this year, have my own breast cancer surgeon whom I visit often.

But enough is enough already with the pink!! Pink is everywhere ... from trash cans to PF Chang horse statues ... even drill bits used for fracking. Pink ribbons adorn almost every product on store shelves. You don't have to look hard in the Hunt for the PINK OCTOBER! If you love pink, you are in pink cotton-candy heaven. But for some of us, it just makes us feel like we are drowning in a sea of Pepto-Bismal!

Is this crazy pinkness doing its job to raise breast cancer awareness? Better question: Is there anyone out there who already isn't aware of breast cancer? And an even better question: How many lives are being saved by this awareness campaign? Is it raising funding for research? Possibly, but not near what it should be. Most likely it is raising money for the businesses that advertise the pinkness. Pink has become a commercial honey pot!

Buying your drink in a pink cup may make you feel all warm and fuzzy, but that is probably all it will do. My guess is that businesses are jumping on the pink bandwagon to capture your business and not because of their strong desire to cure breast cancer. Unfortunately, most consumers are not aware that there are no regulations on which products can advertise with the pink ribbon ... even products not remotely connected to cancer or that contain chemicals that research has shown possibly cause breast cancer. Now in defense of cat litter, read my blog From Litterbox to Laboratory!

And what about all the other cancers, many you have probably not even heard of? What about awareness and research funding for those? Shouldn't we be concerned about ALL cancers ... about finding a cure for ALL cancers and not just the pink one?

Today I saw an ad for Swarovski crystals, stating that for this month a donation would be given to a breast cancer foundation based on all pink crystals sold. Before Jaime died, she designed and created awareness bracelets for all cancers using Swarovski crystals. I have continued to make them in her honor so I am aware of the different colors used for different cancers. I have never seen donations made for buying gold crystals for childhood cancer in September or black crystals for melanoma in May, etc. ... just pink in October.

My point? There are more colors than pink, and there are more cancers than breast cancer. Everyone is so fixated on breasts ... but what about colons, lungs, livers, thyroids, brains, skin? Last I checked there is no cure for any of these cancers once they have reached an advanced stage. As a melanoma advocate, I admit to being biased and even a bit (okay, a lot!) jealous of all the attention and funding that breast cancer gets, but recently, to be quite honest, the pinkness has become overwhelming and its results questionable.

And why the focus on breasts instead of on the lives of those who have the
breasts? Decorating bras may be fun, but it must be hurtful to those who no longer have a need for bras. But that is another blog for another day ...

Melanoma Mama (Jaime's mom, Donna) (Remember Jaime) (Jjem Creations) (Jjem Creations)

1 comment:

  1. I'm so with you. Not only do I get seriously angry by companies using Pink-tober to sell their product but they are increasingly putting the ribbon on products that contain cancer-causing chemicals. Of course, as a melanoma survivor, certain types of sun screen are on the top of that list for me. The pink ribbons do a dis-service to all types of cancer and I believe, even breast cancer warriors.