Spare Me Your Awareness Campaign

by admin on December 3, 2010

**Warning: Rant post!**

Like many people across America, today I logged into my Facebook account to get my morning gossip fix. I was greeted by a message that 30-something of my friends had changed their profile photos–all to cartoon characters.

A few updates later, I saw why. People were encouraging each other to change their profile photo to their favorite childhood character. So you might wonder why this could possibly piss me off. It’s because of the reason they gave: to help fight the battle against child abuse. What. The. HELL.

I am seeing this kind of crap more and more and I could just about punch someone in the face every time I do. Really? Just how in the hell is this going to help fight child abuse? Please, by all means, do it for fun, but once you stick a cause on it, I’m going to get upset.

All these awareness campaigns are just completely pissing me off–especially the ones for cancer. You know what? I, and I’m pretty sure everyone else, is pretty damn “aware” of cancer. With the current rate of 1 out of every 2 people getting cancer in their lifetime, it’s a little difficult to NOT be aware of it. What I’m NOT aware of, oh pink-ribbon product, is how your campaign is actually helping anything.

What you say? One penny of my purchase goes to breast cancer research? You mean, the research being done by drug companies hoping to make billions of dollars off a drug that cures cancer? Greeeeat. Where do I sign up?

How about education. How about making people “aware” that it’s the crap we are all eating, drinking, and breathing (put in the environment by humans) that is giving us the cancer? How about alerting people to the corporate influences on the cancer industry? How about, rather than making people “aware” and asking them to give money to cure it, we simply teach people how not to get it in the first place???

From an article by Mary Ann Swissler about the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure:
Now held year-round in 110 U.S. cities and abroad, the festivities offend Brady and the group Toxic Links Coalition. The races, they say, merely focus women on finding a medical cure for breast cancer, and away from environmental conditions causing it, the problems of the uninsured, and political influence of corporations over the average patient.

To drive this point home, Brady and the coalition have, since 1994, helped organize a vocal and visible presence most years at Komen’s San Francisco race.Sometimes leafleting, and sometimes holding up hand-painted signs and banners, they always face stiff competition from the typically uplifting and euphoric Race atmosphere. Up to 1 million participants in 2000 alone were greeted as they crossed the finish line with live music, inspirational speakers and acres of colorfully adorned corporate booths. Pink, the chosen color of the international breast cancer movement, is everywhere, on hats, T-shirts and ribbons. A sense of community and camaraderie pervades the celebration by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of breast cancer survivors and friends of survivors.

“What’s missing is the truth,” wrote Brady in a Spring 2001 newsletter article for the Women’s Cancer Resource Center, a support services center located in Berkeley, Calif. “There’s no talk about prevention, except, in terms of lifestyle, your diet for instance. No talk about ways to grow food more safely. No talk about how to curb industrial carcinogens. No talk about contaminated water or global warming.”

“I really don’t think environmental causes of cancer are acknowledged enough,” said Dr. C.W. Jameson of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. “It warrants attention so people can make better, more informed choices, as to where they live or what professions they work in,” said Jameson, the director of a biennial report on cancer-causing agents published by the Institute of Environmental Sciences.

(Read the entire article here.)

I realize this post is badly written. Truth is, it’s a vent post. I really should write more rationally, with more research and less hate in order to influence anyone who may be reading it, but my emotions are too high. So I’ll stop now and possible revisit later. But please, please, people, Think Before You Pink.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Cynthia December 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm

YES!!!! Oh my, thank you SO MUCH for saying this. My poor husband has to hear me rant about this ALL THE TIME. Seriously, HOW does telling me what colour your bra strap is promote awareness of breast cancer?? IT DOESN’T, that’s how. And who, seriously WHO, isn’t already aware that breast cancer exists anyway??

Sometimes, when I’m feeling snarky, I muse that those pink product companies actually ARE in support of breast cancer – as in, please don’t make it go away, because it brings in so much extra revenue for us!

I’ve been planning to blog-rant about this for a while; I think I’ll just share your rant with my readers instead. Saves me having to get all worked up about it again. 😉


admin December 7, 2010 at 10:00 am

HAHA, I feel snarky and have those exact thoughts all the time! Thanks for sharing my link on your blog!!


April L. December 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

I agree with you, I agree with you. Oh, how I agree with you. Here’s my question (for anyone who may have an answer): how can/should we respond? When October rolled around and everyone started “pink-ing” their profiles, I posted links to a couple of Breast Cancer Action articles. It was a little more passive than saying what I personally thought, and my hope was that it helped people to see the futility of pink, without me calling them stupid. But I don’t know how to respond to this without coming off like a big jerk. My dad even changed his pic, but I don’t feel like I can say anything, because he actually was an abused child. *Sigh* Do we just ignore it and know that it will go away in a few days?


admin December 7, 2010 at 10:04 am

I ask myself those questions and have those worries almost every day! I haven’t found the answer yet either.


Alexia December 5, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Hear, hear! I agree – the truth would be so much more effective!


Sheila December 15, 2010 at 10:43 am

WOW. I came across this article today which proved me completely wrong. Well, at least about the Facebook thing doing nothing!


Tracee December 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

I often feel this way about alot of health issues. So I thought it was a great post.


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