Every October I rant a bit about how the Susan G Komen Foundation is nothing but a party planning service. In addition to misery directly from the NY Giants (G-Men fix that shit) there’s the misery of pink all over the NFL to raise Breast Awareness.
No, they aren’t raising Breast Cancer Awareness. Everyone is aware of Breast Cancer. In fact, they’re so aware that they’ve inflated the number of incidence concurrent with the cure rate. Stage zero breast cancer anyone? It’s easy to cure because the 10 year morbidity rate is less than 1%. This means that less than 1 in a hundred would die of stage zero cancer – which is actually DCIS if it were untreated after ten years. I’m pretty sure that untreated influenza is more deadly.
Breast Awareness month is titillating. Marketers everywhere get to turn things pink like Football and handguns and KFC.
Show me a good Breast Cancer Awareness campaign. I dare you. I don’t see them happening.
We’ve made great strides in cancer treatment at the same time we’ve added a multitude of carcinogens to our daily lives. We’re fat and sedentary (massive cancer risks), we’re having kids late in life and we’re using hormones in unprecedented numbers.
These stupid Facebook Memes have turned otherwise thinking women into the worst kind of sheeple.
This year’s meme supports breast cancer. It’s so poorly done that it doesn’t even support awareness. Can we please stop with the pinkification of a very serious disease?
Also stop trying to save everyone’s breasts. Try saving people. They might be more appreciative.
I saw Kelsie today. It’s the first time I’ve seen her in months, maybe four. It was only an hour of my day but it was the best hour.
She looks like she feels like shit* (for her) but she’s still prettier than just about anyone I know. She’s thin, really thin, and has only the tiniest bit of fuzz on her head, still no eyelashes and still no eyebrows. Unlike every other 40-something woman in Los Angeles she has no fuzz on her top lip. Lucky Kelsie.
I’ve tried visiting her for months. For some time she didn’t feel up to it which I can understand but only in words. I’m pretty sure I’ll never know how she felt… or at least I hope that’s the case. Once she felt up to it I got a cold and because of my own personal BS I have a limited immune system and that took 10 days to clear up. Of course a few days after I was better Jane got it and shortly thereafter Alexander got hit hard, it was a month of everyone being sick and every day of it was driving me crazy because Kelsie is my touchstone. When I’m not sure if the world is crazy or I am Kelsie has the unique ability to unravel everything and in moments find the essence of the issue. She’s never been afraid to tell me when I’m wrong. When Kelsie tells me that I’m in the right it’s like having all the world leaders standing behind you nodding solemnly. It’s a strength that few will ever be lucky enough to feel.
So today was a good day. Sitting on a sofa with dogs snorting and farting and catching up a little and talking about cancer and husbands and kids and really nothing at all.
We talked about how she found her lump and then I’m sort of not really paying attention to the fact that I’m in someone else’s living room and I’m giving myself a breast exam sort of absentmindedly because it’s normal to pull your tits out in your friend’s living room. Right?
I know, that’s what Kelsie said too. I asked her if everyone sort of started feeling for lumps when she talks about finding hers and she looked at me with yellow-green eyes and said, “No.”
And the awesome thing is that there’s none of that bullshit babble that we all use to make someone feel comfortable when they’re being totally inappropriate. She didn’t try to make me feel like it was okay or say, “No, but I understand that you’re uncomfortable/comfortable/tacky-as-hell…”. Just no. That was the answer.
So I took my hands out of my bra and concentrated on my friend.
* Looks like shit is a relative term. It’s a horrible term. She looks sick… but still probably better than the rest of us. Argghhh… foot in mouth.
Flying from Jacksonville to Los Angeles meant leaving Florida at 7am to have a 25 minute layover/plane change in Memphis and then a straight shot home. Of course there was about a 5 minute delay getting off the first flight which would not have been a big deal if the other flight wasn’t about a half mile away. I swear I started at Gate A4 and had to run to B43 with an oversized purse, camera bag and computer bag. Yes, I routinely take an extra item on board, the computer bag is flat… I’m not taking up extra space it’s just an extra number.
In any event after running through the airport with a few other folks I got to my Memphis to LA flight just as they were closing the doors and promptly collapsed into my seat. I passed out cold for about two hours and awoke to the following over the PA system:
Delta airlines is raising money in October for breast cancer awareness and research. If you would all take out a bill; it can be $1, $5 or $20 and write your seat number on it we’ll be around to collect it and have a 50/50 raffle. We’ll put the money in bags and a winning bill will be drawn. We’ll then count the money and half of it will go to breast cancer charity and the other half will go to the winning seat. The only requirement is that the winner give some amount to charity.
I took notice that no particular charity was named. I was incredibly cranky about being woken up and unsure if I was irritated that flight attendants were asking people to blindly give cash to a charity that they didn’t know the name of or if I was irritated that an airplane full of people would just flip open their wallets without knowing where their money was going.
I was just irritated so I pulled out my iPhone and took a little video for proof because it was so bizarre that I didn’t think anyone would believe me otherwise.
After the ladies in pink collected $258 they announced that the charity is actually the Breast Cancer Research Foundation which is a top rated charity and should not be besmirched by gambling flight attendants who apparently do this on every flight in October.
It’s October. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. It’s a good thing to remind women to get their mammograms, to do self examinations and giving money to worthy causes is always good. We need to collectively and individually decide what a cause is and where our dollars are best spent.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month I’ve been invited to luncheons, parties, gallery openings, book signings and salons. I was invited to a salon where I could get a mani-pedi or a wash and blow dry to raise awareness for Breast Cancer Research. I immediately forwarded the invite to Kelsie because sometimes I think y’all have lost your minds and your humanity.
No, I do not wish to have my hair washed and blown dry when women are bald from breast cancer treatments. No, I don’t want to use October to make boobie jokes. Have you seen breast cancer? Women (and men) have their breasts amputated. Some women have them reconstructed. It is all painful and it’s all an attempt to not die. After amputations they are given poison to kill the cancer. It causes other problems (like heart attacks) but it kills the cancer sometimes.
I hate pink. Pink the color you buy when a baby is on the way. Pink is the color of nurseries and of little girls. Pinks is a color that infantilizes women. Pink is not the color of an adult who is trying to avoid a life sentence. There are moments where pink ribbons (in spite of their pinkness) can be meaningful and poignant. Pink ribbons are not meaningful and poignant when they’re wrapped around a can of soda or a bag of chips.
I don’t know of a solid breast cancer related charity. I haven’t done my homework on that one but I will. Soon.
I know everyone loves cause marketing. I know that brands think cause marketing makes them look better. I understand that folks want to believe their shopping is making a difference (it isn’t). I know for a fact folks use cause marketing because it sells stuff.
I’m not sure how a pink-tini will cure cancer. I just know it bothers me.